Some important games between conference rivals on an eight-game Sunday and our NBA picks have made the tough decisions on who will come out on top.
The Wizards finally won their first game but travel to Brooklyn to face a Nets side looking to bounce back after a home loss while Golden State will be looking to bounce back against Portland after the Blazers embarrassed them on Friday night.
There were some very close games across the schedule, but our NBA picks have all of the winners for you below.
Boston Celtics @ Detroit Pistons – 3PM ET
After predicting Boston would come out and smash the winless Detroit Pistons, we were all shocked and stunned when the home side dominated the game from the jump. Detroit looked incredible and despite Boston making a late comeback, the Pistons held them at bay to get their first win of the year.
This now seems as if Boston are going to come out and prove a point, not wanting to lose both of the two game set in Detroit.
Jerami Grant had another 20 point game to lead the Pistons while rookie Saddiq Bay had his best game with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Detroit managed to keep Boston to just 12 first quarter points and only 93 for the whole game and defense will have to do it for them again if they want to get their second in a row.
Boston won the second half by 12 points and will be looking to take the momentum from that one into tonight’s game. Jayson Tatum had 28 points and Jaylen Brown had 25, but only two other Celtics had over 8 points and they will need more support to get the win.
We are taking Boston to come back and show us how good they really are.
NBA Pick – Boston Celtics (-460)
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) January 2, 2021
Washington Wizards @ Brooklyn Nets – 6PM ET
The Washington Wizards finally won a game, beating the Karl-Anthony Towns less Minnesota Timberwolves, 130 to 109. They now travel to Brooklyn to face a much tougher test in the Nets.
Brooklyn is coming off an 18 point home loss to the Atlanta Hawks where Kevin Durant had 28 points but didn’t get much help with Kyrie Irving having just 18 pints of 28.6% shooting. Joe Harris chipped in 12 points but no other Brooklyn player scored more than eight points.
Washington on the other hand has no issues scoring the ball with 107 being their lowest score from their six games, but defense is an issue. 109 is the lowest total points they have held an opposing team to and Brooklyn will be looking to capatilise on it.
Russell Westbrook missed the last matchup and will be back against his former running mate in Kevin Durant, but we think the latter has the better team and will be able to get the win at home.
NBA Pick – Brooklyn Nets (-320)
Los Angeles Lakers @ Memphis Grizzlies – 6PM ET
The Memphis Grizzlies surprised most with a 15 point victory over the in-form Charlotte Hornets. It was their first win from three tries without Ja Morant and now face the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
LA is coming in off two wins over the Spurs in San Antonio, the most recent by six points on Friday night. Anthony Davis led the scoring with 34 points and 11 rebounds while LeBron James had his first triple double of the season. In their two wins, the Lakers kept the Spurs to an averaging of 105 points and will be looking to restrict Memphis in a similar fashion.
Memphis was once again led by Dillon Brooks with 21 points while Kyle Anderson continued his good form with 18 points and 11 boards.
While Memphis played some inspired basketball against Charlotte, especially defensively, this is a completely different matchup and if both James and Davis are playing the Lakers should run away with this one.
NBA Pick – Los Angeles Lakers (-420)
Denver Nuggets @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 7PM ET
Minnesota has now played three games without Karl-Anthony Towns and has now lost three games by at least 20 points. They now face a Denver team that has started the season poorly with just one win to their name.
The Nuggets lost to the raging hot Phoenix Suns by just three points on Friday night but Phoenix always seemed in control of the game. Nikola Jokic was one rebound shy of another triple-double while Jamal Murray led the team in scoring with 31 points in the loss.
They now face their easiest opponent of the season in the Timberwolves who handed the Wizards their first win of the season two days ago. Malik Beasley led the team in scoring with 21 points but had no assists or defensive stats, while D’Angelo Russell, an All Star two seasons ago managed just 14, 4 and 3 in the loss.
While Denver could not have had a worse start to the season, this looks like a game that can get them back on track with a big win in Minnesota.
NBA Pick – Denver Nuggets (-391)
— NBA (@NBA) January 2, 2021
Utah Jazz @ San Antonio Spurs – 7PM ET
The Utah Jazz managed to overcome the Clippers at home two nights ago to come out on top by six points. They now get on the road to face the San Antonio Spurs who have lost three on the trot.
The Spurs lost their second straight to the Lakers on Friday night despite big games from DeMar DeRozan and rookie Keldon Johnson. DeRozan had 23 points, 9 boards and 7 assists while Johnson had the best game of his young career with an efficient 26 points and 10 boards.
Mike Conley has turned back the clock to the start the season for Utah, leading the team against the Clippers with 33 points and 7 assists. Four other Jazz players scored in double figures in the 106-100 win, with Derrick Favors having a 14 point, 11 rebound double-double off the bench.
Utah poses a tough ask for the Spurs, but we are riding with San Antonio in this one. Dejounte Murray has started the season very nicely and will be able to put the clamps on Conley or Donovan Mitchell while DeRozan, Johnson and Murray have all proven they can lead the team in scoring to help the Spurs turn things around.
NBA Pick – San Antonio Spurs (+155)
Dallas Mavericks @ Chicago Bulls – 8PM ET
If you could find a team to define as inconsistent in the early parts of the season, it is the Dallas Mavericks. Blown out by the Lakers on Christmas Day before a 51-point victory over the Clippers, followed up by being smashed by the Hornets and finally a comfortable win over the Heat.
They now face a Bulls team, in Chicago, that was just demoralised by the Milwaukee Bucks to the tune of 30 points. The Bulls are missing some key players to COVID-19 protocols including Lauri Markkanen and he is a big loss for the side. Zach LaVine led the scorers for Chicago with just 16 points in the game where they were down by 22 points at half time and never looked like winning.
Dallas’ 10-point win over the Heat saw Luka Doncic play himself into some form with 27 points, 15 boards and 7 assists. Tim Hardaway Jr dropped 18 points as the second lead scorer, but Dallas did it on the defensive end keeping Miami to just 83 points.
With the Bulls having players miss due to COVID-19, Dallas should be able to break their inconsistent ways to win their second straight.
NBA Pick – Dallas Mavericks (-240)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Phoenix Suns – 8PM ET
The Phoenix Suns are the hottest team in basketball at the moment. This is the first time in 11 years that Phoenix has had the best record in the Western Conference after at least five games and they have wins against multiple playoff teams from last season, including a back-to-back set over Utah and Denver.
The Phoenix Suns have the best record in the NBA. 🔥☀️ pic.twitter.com/5plQVYexA2
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 2, 2021
Friday’s win saw Deandre Ayton have a monster game with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Devin Booker and Chris Paul had 22 and 21 points respectively. The Suns have the perfect mix of hard-nosed defense and incredible ball movement on offense that has gotten them to their 5-1 record.
They now face a tough test in the Los Angeles Clippers who are coming off a loss to the Jazz, one night after the Suns beat them. Paul George had 25 points and 6 steals while Kawhi Leonard had 20 points, 16 boards and 9 assists but scoring just 100 points is not enough to win games.
While Phoenix is playing the best across the league, the Clippers won’t want to drop a second straight and will be looking to bounce back in this one.
NBA Pick – Los Angeles Clippers (-165)
Portland Trail Blazers @ Golden State Warriors – 8:30PM ET
The second matchup between these sides as Portland ran away with a 25 point victory on Friday night. The Warriors entered on a two game winning streak but this always seemed like the Blazers would win and they did so in convincing fashion.
Portland won the first quarter by 15 points and were always in control with Damian Lillard bouncing back from a poor game to lead the team with 34 points and 8 assists. CJ McCollum continued his nice form to start the year with 28 points and 3 steals in the win.
Steph Curry was the only player to score over 15 points, leading the team in points, rebounds and assists with 26, 8 and 5 respectively, but was a -27 in his 34 minutes. Draymond Green returned to the lineup but played just 18 minutes for no points, and even with him getting a game under his belt, his addition isn’t enough to help the Warriors overcome a much better opponent in the second leg.
Take the Blazers to win again, but it should be a bit closer this time.
NBA Pick – Portland Trail Blazers (-180)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of PointsBet.