Los Angeles Lakers @ Atlanta Hawks – 7:30PM ET
After dropping two consecutive games, the Los Angeles Lakers bounced back on Saturday in Boston and will be looking to round out their seven game road trip on a high note. The Atlanta Hawks will be having other ideas as they aim for their second straight and sixth from their last eight.
The Hawks are coming off a 16 point win over the Wizards on Friday where Trae Young dropped 41 points on 10/18 shooting while Clint Capela continued his good form with another double double with three blocks. This was an important win for the Hawks who had lost to the Nets in overtime by four points just two nights earlier.
Through 19 games, the single *best* two-man lineup for the Hawks is…. John Collins and Clint Capela.
+15.8 net rating in 293 minutes
95.1 (!!!!) defensive rating
— Brad Rowland (@BTRowland) February 1, 2021
Atlanta’s last seven games has seen five wins and two losses, with the two losses being to Brooklyn and in Milwaukee, and the Lakers are just as good, if not better, than those two teams.
Everyone thought that the sky was falling when LA lost to Detroit by 15 points last Thursday but Anthony Davis and LeBron James helped right the ship against the Celtics. Davis had 27 points, 14 boards and two steals while James had 21, seven and seven in the one point win.
As far as numbers go, this contest is a lot closer than it may seem. The Lakers still hold the top spot for defensive rating whilst also being seventh offensively, but the Hawks are holding their own, ranking ninth and eighth respectively. With that being said, the Lakers are the better side and should be able to get the job done here.
NBA Pick – Los Angeles Lakers (-235)
NBA Spread – Atlanta Hawks +6 (-110)
Total Points Pick – Over 218.5 (-110)
Charlotte Hornets @ Miami Heat – 7:30PM ET
Jimmy Butler finally returned for the Miami Heat and boy did they need him back. In the midst of a five game losing streak, the Heat were lost but Butler returned to guide them past the Kings on Saturday, setting up a big divisional rivalry matchup with the Charlotte Hornets.
After closing as nearly ten point underdogs, the Hornets managed to cause one of the upsets of the year by beating the Bucks by 12 points. It was Charlotte’s third win from their last five games, all against playoff teams from last season. Rookie phenom LaMelo Ball had one of the best games of his career with 27 points on 80% shooting, along with five boards, nine assists and four steals while Gordon Hayward also had 27.
Charlotte would love to add another victory of an Eastern Conference playoff team to its resume, but it will be tough against a full strength Heat team, in Miami. Butler had 30 points, seven boards and eight assists in the one point win that saw the Heat down by as many as 11 in the second quarter. Bam Adebayo enjoyed having less responsibility offensively and was able to play his own game again, putting up 18 points and 13 boards.
Miami had been slipping in the standings but they had some legitimate excuses due to COVID-19. Now they are back to full health and get to stay at home for this one, we like them to get the win.
NBA Pick – Miami Heat (-192)
NBA Spread – Charlotte Hornets +5 (-110)
Total Points Pick – Over 218 (-110)
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Cleveland Cavaliers – 8PM ET
These two sides played just last night in Minnesota with the Timberwolves coming out on top by five points in just their fifth win of the season. This came as a big surprise as Minnesota had been playing some awful basketball without Karl-Anthony Towns, but this was the Cleveland Cavaliers’ fourth loss in their last five games and they can’t seem to figure out how to play with cohesion and responsibility.
Andre Drummond was able to take advantage of there being no Towns in the middle, as he had a massive game with 25 points and 22 rebounds but Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, despite having 16 and 17 points respectively, combined for nine turnovers in the road loss.
Let’s do it again tomorrow. #RaisedByWolves
Malik – 23 pts. / 2 ast. / 3 reb.
Ant – 23 pts. / 4 ast. / 5 reb.
DLo – 19 pts. / 5 ast. / 1 reb. pic.twitter.com/qPcaaOIPXj
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) February 1, 2021
Minnesota used their three-pronged approach as Malik Beasley and Anthony Edwards had 23 points each while D’Angelo Russell finished with 19 points and hit two clutch threes with five minutes remaining to extend the lead to double digits, something the Cavs weren’t able to come back from.
Minnesota’s three young stars played exceptionally well but the other two starters combined for 0/8 from the field, showing there is room for improvement. However, we like the Cavs the be able to turn the tables back at home and get back on track with a win.
NBA Pick – Cleveland Cavaliers (-220)
NBA Spread – Cleveland Cavaliers -5 (-110)
Total Points Pick – Under 218 (-110)
New York Knicks @ Chicago Bulls – 8PM ET
Two Eastern Conference sides that are struggling of late sees the New York Knicks travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bulls. Despite beating the Cavs on Friday, that is the Knicks’ only win from their last five games while the Bulls have dropped three straight.
In Saturday’s game against Portland, a pair of Coby White free throws with 11.5 seconds left put Chicago up by five and should have sealed the game but a Damian Lillard three followed by a jump ball that ended up in Lillard’s hands for a buzzer beating three crushed the hearts of Bulls’ players and fans, going down by one point in dramatic fashion. Lauri Markkanen had 31, Zach LaVine had 26 and White had 20, but it was enough to hold off the Blazers, who Chicago allowed to score 123 points.
They now face a much different opponent in the Knicks, who allow the fewest points per game in the league whilst boasting the sixth best defensive rating. New York hasn’t been playing their best of late though, allowing over 100 points in all of their four losses over the last five games, including giving up 129 points to the Clippers yesterday afternoon. Julius Randle had 27 points and 12 boards, RJ Barrett had 23 while Immanuel Quickley had 25 off the bench, but New York just wasn’t able to keep up.
The Knicks have been giving up some big games to bigs, so Markkanen could be on for another high scoring night, but if the Knicks can slow down LaVine, that will go a long way for them. The Bulls are favored at home, but we are taking the Knicks and their defense to come out on top.
NBA Pick – New York Knicks (-175)
NBA Spread – New York Knicks +4 (-110)
Total Points Pick – Under 218.5 (-110)
Portland Trail Blazers @ Milwaukee Bucks – 8PM ET
We just touched on Damian Lillard’s heroics in Chicago, but the Portland Trail Blazers have a much tougher test this time out, going up against the Milwaukee Bucks who will relish getting back on their home floor.
The Bucks haven’t been playing great over their last six games, winning just two of them including going 1-3 on the road during that time. They have now lost back to back games over teams that failed to make the playoffs last season, most recently the Hornets. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 34 points, 18 boards and nine assists but the other four starters combined for just 48 points on 39% shooting from the floor.
🎯 Dame buries the DEEP three
💪 Gary Trent Jr. forces the jump
🙌 Trent Jr. wins the jump
🚨 Dame rises for the #TissotBuzzerBeater
— NBA (@NBA) January 31, 2021
The positive is that they are back in Milwaukee where they are 7-2, facing an undermanned Portland side that is actually 5-3 on the road. Lillard ended up with 44 in the win over Chicago while Enes Kanter had his best game of the season with 22 points and 11 boards.
Robert Covington returned from concussion to have a very nice game for the Blazers and his defense will be needed against Giannis and the Bucks, but it might not be enough. Milwaukee is a completely different team at home and will break their two game skid before things start getting out of control.
NBA Pick – Milwaukee Bucks (-600)
NBA Spread – Portland Trail Blazers +9.5 (-110)
Total Points Pick – Over 233 (-110)
Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – 8PM ET
A pair of Western Conference sides that had been struggling heavily but may have turned things around of late face off when the Sacramento Kings take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight. After winning just two of 11 games, the Kings have won three of their last four while the Pels had lost eight of nine games before winning two of their last three.
These sides met two weeks ago with the Pelicans going on the road and coming out on top by five points behind 31 from Zion Williamson. They will be looking for more of that sort of effort, especially after going down by 14 to the Rockets last time out. Williamson had 26 points but Brandon Ingram was kept to just 15 and New Orleans gave up 126 points.
Sacramento will be hoping for a similar defensive effort from their opponents as they can score a bunch of points, highlighted by their offensive rating, ninth best in the league. Their three game winning streak was snapped by the Heat but the positives are that the Kings won two of four quarters and De’Aaron Fox continued his good form with 30, six and six.
The Kings have been playing much better basketball lately but their wins have been over far inferior opponents in comparison to the Pelicans and given New Orleans took the first meeting, we are backing them to take the second.
NBA Pick – New Orleans Pelicans (-165)
NBA Spread – Sacramento Kings +3.5 (-110)
Total Points Pick – Under 233 (-110)
Houston Rockets @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 8PM ET
The first of a two game set between these sides sees the new look defensive Houston Rockets taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since trading James Harden, the Rockets are 6-3 and have the best defense in the league over that stretch while the Thunder just had their two game winning streak snapped by Harden and the Nets, who were without Kevin Durant.
Friday night’s matchup with Brooklyn saw the Thunder give up 147 points despite Durant, averaging over 30 per game, sitting out. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Theo Maledon both had 24 points as the Thunder put up a very respectable 125 points, but the issue was on the other end. Nine different Nets players scored in double figures and the Thunder gave up at least 32 points in all four quarters.
20 PTS, 7 AST, 6 REB in 25 MINS
Rockets win their 5th in a rowpic.twitter.com/yPUkWxEDPl
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 31, 2021
They go from playing a high scoring, low defense team to the best defensive team in the league over the last two weeks. The Rockets have come together as a cohesive unit, winning five straight and giving up 102 points per game over that stretch. Christian Wood continued his breakout year in their most recent win over New Orleans with 27 points and nine boards while Victor Oladipo continued to thrive in a new environment, adding 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
While the Rockets may be ‘due’ after winning five straight, their defense has taken them to a whole different level and with the Thunder being just 1-6 at home, we don’t see any other option than to take Houston here.
NBA Pick – Houston Rockets (-185)
NBA Spread – Houston Rockets -4.5 (-110)
Total Points Pick – Under 224.5 (-110)
Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks – 8:30PM ET
A rematch of a Saturday night clash where, despite still missing Devin Booker, the Phoenix Suns defeated the Dallas Mavericks by six points. That was the Mavs fifth straight loss, dropping them to 2-8 over their last 10 and tied for the second worst record in the West.
Phoenix meanwhile picked up their second straight win and will be hoping that Booker (questionable – game time decision) can get back out there to give the side a much needed boost in the rematch. Chris Paul was the star of the show again with 29 points, 12 assists and four steals while Deandre Ayton had a big game with 18 points and 17 boards.
The positive for Dallas is that Kristaps Porzingis sat out Saturday’s matchup to rest, so his addition should give Luka Doncic, 29 points, eight boards and seven assists, some much needed help on the frontline. Tim Hardaway Jr had 19 points but Josh Richardson and Dorian Finney-Smith combined for just 18 points on 7-16 shooting, something that can’t keep happening if Dallas is to turn their season around.
Porzingis is confirmed back in whereas Booker is just questionable and if the latter is still out, we like the Mavs to bounce back, snap their losing streak and pick up the win at home.
NBA Pick – Dallas Mavericks (-120)
NBA Spread – Dallas Mavericks -1.5 (-110)
Total Points Pick – Over 220.5 (-110)
Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs – 8:30PM ET
Another rematch of a Saturday night clash sees the Memphis Grizzlies try and extend their league-best six game winning streak in another matchup with the San Antonio Spurs. After not playing in nearly two weeks due to COVID-19, Memphis showed no signs of rust in the 17 point win, snapping the Spurs’ own three game streak.
Derrick White returned for just his second game of the season to lead seven different San Antonio players in double figures with 18, but the collective effort didn’t translate to both sides of the ball. The Spurs allowed the Grizzlies to score 129 points and had no chance of matching that offensive output, especially with DeMar DeRozan putting up just six shots in 25 minutes.
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) January 31, 2021
Ja Morant continued his good form with 19 points and 11 assists while De’Anthony Melton led scoring with 20 points off the bench as Memphis seemed to get whatever shot they wanted, shooting 56% to San Antonio’s 47%.
While this ended up being a little blowout, we expect the Spurs to play a lot better, especially defensively in the second leg here. These sides met on opening night and San Antonio got up by 12 points then despite 44 points from Morant so we know that the Spurs can do it, just a matter of putting it in action.
NBA Pick – San Antonio Spurs (-165)
NBA Spread – Memphis Grizzlies +3.5 (-110)
Total Points Pick – Over 221 (-110)
Detroit Pistons @ Denver Nuggets – 9PM ET
*Update: This game was postponed due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, a new date has not been confirmed at this time*
After getting a massive 15 point victory over the Lakers last week, things regressed back to the norm for the Detroit Pistons with a 27 point loss to the Warriors. They now face a Denver Nuggets side who returned home from a five game road trip, where they went 4-1, and beat the Jazz by 11, ending Utah’s 11 game winning streak.
Nikola Jokic matched a career high with 47 points in yesterday afternoon’s win while also recording his 20th straight double double, the second longest streak since the merger. Denver used 15/17 shooting from deep in the first half, the best percentage from three with a minimum of 15 attempts over the last 20 seasons, to get a lead they never gave up.
The test will be whether they can back it up again tonight against a lesser opponent. Detroit shocked many, including us, with their win over the Lakers but a 17-29 first quarter against the Warriors set the tone on Saturday night. Jerami Grant had 18 points while the other four starters combined for 18 points on 5/23 shooting.
Denver are clear favorites and should be winning this one comfortably to be honest. They have the fourth highest offensive rating while the Pistons rank in the bottom ten for both offensive and defensive ratings. Even though this is the second night of a back to back, we like the Nuggets at home.
NBA Pick – Denver Nuggets (-550)
NBA Spread – Denver Nuggets -9.5 (-110)
Total Points Pick – Over 221.5 (-110)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of Bet365.