Our NBA picks went 4-1 against the spread yesterday and went above 60% for the entire week across all picks. We are looking to carry that momentum across into this week and start off with a bang tonight.
A very exciting clash between the top two favorites for the Eastern Conference Championship and two of the top four offensive ratings and net ratings across the league. Will the new look Brooklyn Nets be able to overcome the regular season specialists or will Giannis be able to stifle Durant in a Bucks win?
Find that out and more in our NBA picks below.
Orlando Magic @ New York Knicks – 12PM ET
The New York Knicks are coming off a massive 30 point upset of the Boston Celtics last night and will look to carry the momentum in at home against a struggling Orlando Magic.
Since losing Markelle Fultz to an ACL injury, the Magic have lost five straight and only managed to score 100 points once. Orlando are also missing starting shooting guard Evan Fournier and backup point guard Michael Carter-Williams with their lack of depth really showing over their losing streak.
Their most recent game was a 115-122 loss to the new look Brooklyn Nets, where they allowed Kevin Durant and James Harden to combine for 74 points, however did manage to force 15 turnovers from the pair and that is how they were able to score so much and stay in the game.
Nikola Vucevic continues to play at an All Star level, leading the team with 34 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five steals. Five other Magic players scored in double figures with Terrance Ross dropping 23 off the bench.
Despite their injury woes, they have a really good chance to snap their streak in New York, with the Knicks playing some average basketball before overcoming the Celtics. New York had their own five game losing streak heading into the game, but got out to a 48-35 lead at halftime and then continued on in the third quarter to put Boston away. Julius Randle was the main scorer with 20 points and 12 rebounds while RJ Barrett had 19 and 11, with the pair combining for five steals.
The Knicks blowout the Celtics by 30 and hold them to a season-low in points 😳 pic.twitter.com/V5B5rMqsWq
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 17, 2021
The Knicks continue to give up big games to opposing centers, highlighted by Andre Drummond’s 33 points and 23 boards on Friday, so Vucevic should be licking his lips while preparing for this matchup. With that being said, Orlando’s lack of depth will continue to be the story and New York should be able to make it two wins in two nights.
NBA Pick – New York Knicks (-105)
NBA Spread – New York Knicks +1.5 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Over 207 (-115)
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Washington Wizards – 2PM ET
*This game was postponed due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, a new date has not been confirmed at this time*
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Atlanta Hawks – 2:30PM ET
The Minnesota Timberwolves came into the season hot, winning their first two games, but have won just one of nine since and are seriously struggling. Speaking of struggling, the Atlanta Hawks have won just one of their last seven with their only win over the shorthanded Sixers due to COVID-19.
Atlanta had two monster double doubles on Saturday, but still only managed 106 points in their loss to the Blazers. Trae Young had 26 points and 11 assists while Clint Capela had his best game in a Hawks uniform with 25, 15 boards and four blocks. However, the Bench combined for just 19 points and given they were missing both Bogdan Bogdanovic and Cam Reddish, their lack of depth really showed.
The Wolves have had four days off, last playing on Wednesday in an 11 point loss to the Grizzlies, as their last game was postponed due to COVID-19. That will be a big factor in this one, as at this stage Karl-Anthony Towns, Juan Hernangomez and Ricky Rubio are all confirmed outs, with others questionable due to contact tracing. Minnesota actually held a 10 point lead after three quarters of their loss to Memphis, but were outscored 38-17 in the last.
Given the outs that they have, this game could look very similar to the last quarter of that one rather than the first three. Atlanta have the offensive pieces to put up some big points and the Wolves have seriously struggled when Towns hasn’t played. This might be an ugly game given both sides’ form but we are taking the home side here.
NBA Pick – Atlanta Hawks (-331)
NBA Spread – Atlanta Hawks -8 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Under 227.5 (+100)
San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trail Blazers – 3PM ET
Both sides are sitting above .500 and in the top six in the West, so this will be a very intriguing contest. Both sides are coming off wins and it will be interesting to see how the Spurs’ defensive guards, particularly Dejounte Murray, will go in slowing down Damian Lillard.
CJ McCollum went down with a sprained foot after just 18 minutes of their win over Atlanta on Sunday and has already been ruled out of this contest. Lillard had 36, seven and seven while Gary Trent stepped up in McCollum’s absence to finish with 18 points, shooting 4/8 from deep. This will be tough for Portland, losing McCollum just one game after losing Jusuf Nurkic to a broken arm, testing their depth and role players in a big way.
San Antonio managed to defeat a severely shorthanded Houston Rockets’ side that was missing six of their rotation guys. DeMar DeRozan had 24 and seven boards while both Dejounte Murray and Jakob Poeltl, with the latter off the bench, had double doubles in the win.
The Spurs are 5-2 from their last seven and 4-1 in their last five on the road while Portland are 5-1 in their last six and are 4-3 at home. With that being said, given Portland’s injury issues the Spurs have a seriously good chance at winning this one and are slightly favored in what is essentially a pick ‘em.
NBA Pick – San Antonio Spurs (-120)
NBA Spread – San Antonio Spurs -1.5 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Under 225 (-110)
Phoenix Suns @ Memphis Grizzlies – 5PM ET
Ja Morant made a spectacular return from a serious ankle injury on Saturday to help the Grizzlies to a two point victory over the Sixers on Saturday. They now host a Phoenix Suns side that hasn’t played since last Monday and who have had a very disjointed week of limited practices and only one-on-one sessions with players due to COVID-19.
Phoenix has had multiple players enter the health and safety protocols and have had three games be postponed since their 21 point loss to the Wizards last week. Devin Booker had a season high 33 points while Chris Paul had 14 points and 11 assists but Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder combined for just 10 points and they allowed the Wizards to put up a massive 128.
There was speculation that this one may be called off given the amount of players that Phoenix have had enter the protocols, and especially since Jonas Valanciunas, of the Grizzlies, has now also entered them.
Morant led the way in his first game back from injury with 17 points and six assists with six others scoring in double figures. Rookie Xavier Tillman had the best game of his young career with 15 points, four boards and four steals and he will have to continue that sort of play with Valanciunas out.
This is a tough one to judge with the Suns not playing in a week and having multiple players likely out for this one, but Valanciunas is a massive loss to Memphis and Phoenix will be looking to get back on the winner’s list and keep in touch with the elite of the West.
NBA Pick – Phoenix Suns (-162)
NBA Spread – Phoenix Suns -3.5 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Under 223 (-105)
Milwaukee Bucks @ Brooklyn Nets – 7:30PM ET
We have arrived at the game of the night when the Milwaukee Bucks roll into town to take on the new look Brooklyn Nets. Kyrie Irving has missed the last six games due to health and safety protocols but has been upgraded to questionable for this one. If he plays then both sides will play with a fully healthy rotation and we could get a high scoring spectacle here.
James Harden became the first player in NBA history to record a triple double in his first game at a new club, while Kevin Durant had 42 points in a seven point victory over the Magic. The issue for Brooklyn, which didn’t get better with the addition of Harden, is their defense and lack of toughness.
The 115 points that they gave up to Orlando was the most that the Magic had scored over their five game losing streak and that will be a big question mark heading into this matchup the team with the second highest offensive rating and second highest points per game.
James Harden’s debut with the Nets:
A new era in Brooklyn 👏 pic.twitter.com/KB3OVDTpo0
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 17, 2021
Milwaukee has won four straight and seven of their last eight, scoring at least 110 in seven of eight and at least 125 in four of eight. Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging nearly 30 points per game while shooting 58.6% from the field over the last two weeks while Khris Middleton is averaging 22.4 points on 54.1% shooting with 2.9 threes, seven boards and 5.1 assists.
Milwaukee has the right pieces to slow down both Harden and Durant with Giannis, Middleton and Jrue Holiday continually causing disruptions on the perimeter while the reigning two time MVP should be able to impose his physicality inside against a frail Brooklyn defense.
NBA Pick – Milwaukee Bucks (-136)
NBA Spread – Milwaukee Bucks -2 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Over 238 (-110)
Dallas Mavericks @ Toronto Raptors – 7:30PM ET
Two sides on opposing sides of two game streaks, the 4-8 Toronto Raptors have won two straight while the 6-6 Dallas Mavericks have dropped their last two.
Despite their poor record, the Raptors have been playing much better basketball of late. An eight point loss to the inform side of the comp at the time, the Phoenix Suns, followed by a 21 point win and then back to back one point losses before their two game winning streak.
Their most recent win, three points over Charlotte, will bring some confidence to Toronto as their two leading scorers were both off the bench, Normal Powell with 24 and Chris Boucher with 20 points and nine boards.
They will need an across the board contribution in order to slow down Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. Dallas comes in off a disappointing 16 point home loss to Chicago despite a massive game from Doncic where he had 35 points, 16 boards and 15 assists.
Kristaps Porzingis had 20 points and eight boards in his third game of the season, but Tim Hardaway Jr missed with a groin strain and is questionable for this one, along with the five other players missing due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Doncic may be the best player on the court, but Toronto will be the best team. Despite their slow start, the Raptors have the 13th best offensive rating while Dallas is just 16th. Toronto has won eight of the last 10 against Dallas and we are expecting them to take advantage of the long list of outs that the Mavericks have.
NBA Pick – Toronto Raptors (-154)
NBA Spread – Dallas Mavericks +3.5 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Under 219.5 (-110)
Detroit Pistons @ Miami Heat – 8PM ET
Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic returned for the Heat from the COVID-19 injury list for the first of these two matchups on Saturday night, but it didn’t make a difference with Detroit running over the top of them.
In just their third win of the season, Detroit looked great on both ends of the floor as Jerami Grant had 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Derrick Rose returned from injury to have 23 points, four assists and four steals off the bench. Despite being down by four at half time, the Pistons never gave up and ended up winning the third quarter 38-19 and continued on from there.
We aren’t expecting a similar output from the Heat in this one, especially after Adebayo called out the entire roster for the manner in which they played. In his return, the big man had 28 points, seven boards, six assists and three blocks, but it wasn’t enough, especially in the second half. Tyler Herro missed that game and is just questionable to play in this one, while Jimmy Butler is once again out due to health and safety protocols.
They are struggling with missing players due to COVID-19, but the Heat have just one more win than the Pistons and we are seriously questioning how they will be able to create a 20 point turnaround. With that being said, they actually had the lead at half time and after such an embarrassing performance, they should come out with more intensity on both ends in this one.
NBA Pick – Miami Heat (-271)
NBA Spread – Detroit Pistons +6 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Under 219.5 (-105)
— NBA (@NBA) January 17, 2021
Houston Rockets @ Chicago Bulls – 8PM ET
It may not be the full strength side, but this will be our first opportunity to see the new look Houston Rockets side, as Victor Oladipo is set to make his debut for the side tonight. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon are also expected to return for Houston against a Chicago side that played last night and beat the Rockets’ Texas neighbors in the Mavericks.
Lauri Markkanen played just his second game back after missing eight due to COVID-19 and was the main reason why the Bulls were able to pick up the 16 point win over Dallas. The Finnish big man had 29 points and 10 boards while Garrett Temple was the hot hand off the bench with 21 points on 60% shooting. The big positive for Chicago is that Zach LaVine had just 10 points on 1/8 shooting but they still managed to get the win.
Coming back to Chicago with a WIN. pic.twitter.com/ZKxXYDGfdA
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 17, 2021
Houston on the other hand has played two games since dealing James Harden to Brooklyn for one win and one loss. Their most recent was a 12 point loss to San Antonio, but the Rockets were missing six rotation players and Oladipo will be looking to start his Houston career off on the right foot.
Christian Wood continues to make a name for himself with 24 points, 18 boards and three blocks and he should be able to take advantage of a bigger and slower Wendell Carter Jr., while P.J. Tucker will go to work on slowing down Markkanen.
This Chicago side is young and inconsistent, but has been playing good competitive basketball over the last two weeks. However, we expect Oladipo to come out hard and strong in his first game for his new side and will help the Rockets get over the line on the road.
NBA Pick – Houston Rockets (-102)
NBA Spread – Houston Rockets +1 (-110)
Game Totals Pick – Under 229.5 (-110)
Golden State Warriors @ Los Angeles Lakers – 10PM ET
Another big game to wrap up the nine game slate for Martin Luther King Day when Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors travel down to LA to take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Warriors come into this one having played just two games since last Sunday, as one game was postponed due to COVID-19. They lost both of those games, most recently by 10 points to the Nuggets.
This was despite Curry putting up 35 points on 14/23 shooting and 5/11 from deep, along with 11 boards, four assists and two steals. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr. scored in double figures while James Wiseman continues to put together a very nice rookie campaign with 18 points, five boards and two steals, but he will have it a lot tougher against the Lakers contending with Marc Gasol and Anthony Davis.
Los Angeles has won five on the trot, including an impressive 112-95 victory against New Orleans on Friday night. James led six players in double figures with 21 points, eight boards and 11 assists while Davis had 17 points, six boards, five assists, three steals and three blocks in his usual impressive all around game.
While this might not be the usual high octane clash between Curry and James that we are used to, this should still be a very close contest as the Lakers have proven to leak points to opposing guards while Wiggins has been playing extremely good one on one defense and should be able to slow down both James and Davis when he guards them.
In saying that, Los Angeles is the better all around team and we don’t see their five game winning streak ending here.
NBA Pick – Los Angeles Lakers (-451)
NBA Spread – Los Angeles Lakers -9 (-105)
Game Totals Pick – Under 225 (-105)
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