20 teams take the floor tonight for 10 action packed games of NBA action! Andre Drummond is set to make his Lakers debut, the Utah Jazz are searching for their seventh wins in a row, and the Sacramento Kings are looking to keep the pressure on Golden State for the 10th seed in the West!
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Portland Trail Blazers @ Detroit Pistons – 7PM ET
Our first game of Wednesday’s NBA action will feature the Western Conferences fifth seeded Portland Trail Blazers, taking on the Eastern Conferences last placed Pistons in Detroit.
As a result of their most recent 117-112 victory over the Toronto Raptors, Portland will enter Wednesday’s encounter with a three game winning streak behind them. The Blazers are 3.5 games ahead of the seventh placed Mavericks in the West, with a 28-18 record.
Detroit coincidentally also played and defeated Toronto in their last games, registering their 13th victory of the season with a 118-104 victory.
The Blazers have won 10 of their past 14 games and have welcomed back CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic from long term stints on the sidelines due to injury. McCollum and Nurkic have joined Robert Covington, the recently acquired Norman Powell and MVP contender Damian Lillard in Portland’s starting lineup.
CJ McCollum dropped 21 PTS, 80 FG%, 66 3P% in the 1st Quarter. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/7bJ7jXxqhy
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) March 26, 2021
Covington is currently leading the Blazers in steals and blocks per game, with averages 1.6 and 1.7 respectively, while CJ McCollum’s return has taken some of the scoring pressure off long range wizard Damian Lillard.
Detroit however have been largely carried by their rookies and younger talent in recent games. The Pistons are committing to a (another) franchise rebuild and allowing the likes of Sadiq Bey, Sabon Lee and Hamidou Diallo to each have more offensive responsibility and play more minutes. Bey, Lee and Diallo all scored 19 points in the Pistons recent victory over Toronto.
Given that this game is being played in Detroit, this matchup may have been much more competitive if Nurkic and McCollum were still inactive. However, with Portland now boasting a playoff caliber starting lineup, we can’t go past the Blazers to convincingly win this one on the road.
Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers – 7PM ET
Having recently snapped their six game losing streak, the Miami Heat will look to continue their winning ways when they head to Indiana to face the Pacers on Wednesday night.
It was far from beautiful basketball, but the Heat recorded their first win in seven games with a grinding 98-88 victory over the Knicks in New York.
In an almost polar opposite result, Indiana went down in a 132-124 shootout against the Wizards in their most recent game, despite a 35 point, 11 rebound, six assist performance from Domantas Sabonis.
This will be the third recent meeting between the two franchises, as Indiana convincingly defeated the Heat on back to back nights in Miami, to give the Heat their second and third losses during their most recent losing streak.
Although the Heat recently acquired Victor Oladipo at the trade deadline, the two time All-Star will not be available for Wednesday’s matchup due to an illness, which means both lineups will be largely the same as their two recent clashes.
Both sides are currently showing a negative point differential in their last 10 games, with Indiana scoring more points on offense and allowing more points on defense (Miami obviously doing the opposite).
Based on their recent form, we will have to take the home team in this encounter. While the Heat have been struggling to score recently (putting up six scores of 110 or fewer in their past seven games), the Pacers look to have established a more potent offense since integrating Caris LeVert into the starting lineup, which has resulted in Indiana averaging 115.1 points per game in their past 10 encounters.
Houston Rockets @ Brooklyn Nets – 7.30PM ET
In terms of win-loss records, there will be no games on Wednesday’s schedule that have a greater disparity than the Eastern Conferences second seeded Brooklyn Nets, hosting the Western Conferences second last seeded Houston Rockets.
The former Houston Rocket and current ninth leading scorer in the NBA, James Harden, will be the focal point of this matchup, as he and his new team hosts the Rockets in Brooklyn.
Having defeated the Timberwolves on Monday, 112-107, Brooklyn improved their record to 32-15, including 10 wins from their past 12 games.
James Harden further strengthened his MVP case in the victory over Minnesota, putting up 38 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists for the night, while Kyrie Irving scored 27 points in his first game back from a three game stint on the sidelines.
THE FRANCHISE RECORD IS TIED.
James Harden is now tied with Jason Kidd for the most triple-doubles by a Net in a single season (12). pic.twitter.com/xW14wWCfGS
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 30, 2021
Houston however, lost their most recent game going down to the Grizzlies by 10 points, resulting in their 33rd loss for the season, and their eighth loss from their past 10 games.
With Blake Griffin starting to make an impact (17 points in 20 minutes vs Detroit), and two thirds of their ‘Big Three’ back in the starting lineup, it is impossible to go against the Nets in this match, as they are at home and are arguably the best team in basketball.
This pick gets even easier to make when considering that Brooklyn will be coming up against the Rockets, who just last week were in the midst of a 20 game losing streak.
Dallas Mavericks @ Boston Celtics – 7.30PM ET
The seventh seed in the East hosts the seventh seed in the West when the Dallas Mavericks head to Boston to face the Celtics.
Undeniably two of the most disappointing teams so far in the 2021 NBA season, with neither franchise has stepped up their level of play after impressive runs in last year’s playoffs (in fact both have regressed). However, both teams are beginning to turn their seasons around, giving this the potential to be a great matchup.
Dallas welcomed back both Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis to their starting lineup in their most recent game, which resulted in Dallas snapping their two game losing streak (both without Doncic) with a 127-106 victory over the Thunder.
Doncic scored 25 points to go along with seven assists, while Porzingis added 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists in his return, taking him to averages of 26.6 points, 12 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game through his last three starts.
Meanwhile, Boston are coming off a 109-115 loss to the Pelicans on Monday, despite Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum combining for 57 points in Jaylen Brown’s absence. Brown is expected to return against the Mavericks.
Recently acquired Celtic Evan Fournier had a team debut to forget against New Orleans, scoring zero points on 0-10 shooting from the field in 33 minutes. However, head coach Brad Stevens believes Fournier will turn things around in Boston very soon, stating “I have no doubt Evan Fournier is going to score a lot of buckets for the Celtics,” following the loss to New Orleans.
When healthy and playing well, these are arguably two of the best teams in the NBA, littered with youthful, All-Star caliber scoring talent. Only 0.1 points and 0.8 rebounds separate the two teams averages for the season (both in favor of Boston).
Given that the Celtics are at home, with a crowd and welcoming back Jaylen Brown back to the lineup, we like Boston to upset Dallas in this matchup. The acquisition of Fournier (who will undoubtedly improve on Monday’s performance) has given the Celtics more offensive depth than the Mavs, which should see them outscore Dallas in this matchup.
Utah Jazz @ Memphis Grizzlies – 8PM ET
Utah and Memphis will do battle for the third time in four matches, as the ninth seeded Grizzlies host the No. 1 seeded Jazz for the first time this season.
The Jazz will enter Wednesday’s game having won their last six matches, after most recently defeating the Cavaliers in Utah, 114-75. Rudy Gobert has continued to stack up the double-doubles, with an 18 point, 17 rebound and four block performance in the victory over Cleveland.
Although Memphis do not have the six game winning streak behind them, they will also be entering this clash having won their last game. The Grizzlies defeated the Rockets 120-110, thanks to a monster 30 point, 15 rebound performance from Jonas Valanciunas, which has foreshadowed a box-office big man matchup against Rudy Gobert.
Utah’s two recent wins over Memphis were the fourth and fifth victories of their active win streak, winning the first game by three points and the second game by 16. Donovan Mitchell put up 35 points in both encounters.
Donovan Mitchell’s last 6 games:
35 PTS – 2 REB – 7 AST
35 PTS – 5 REB – 6 AST
27 PTS – 6 REB – 7 AST
30 PTS – 6 REB – 6 AST
31 PTS – 5 REB – 6 AST
42 PTS – 4 REB – 6 AST pic.twitter.com/8qPkLKDxLu
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) March 28, 2021
Mitchell is Utah’s best on-ball offensive player, having hit 64.8% of his three point attempts in his last five games. Contrastingly, Memphis’ primary ball handler, Ja Morant has continued to struggle from behind the arc this season hitting just 23.4% of his three point attempts this year.
Although Morant and Valanciunas are more than capable primary and secondary players / scorers, Memphis’ depth simply isn’t up to the same standard as Utah’s, which will result in the Jazz winning this encounter on the road and extending their winning streak to seven consecutive games.
Toronto Raptors @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 8PM ET
Two teams currently outside the playoff picture and looking in will face off on Wednesday, when the Thunder hosts the Toronto Raptors in Oklahoma City.
In their most recent matchup, the Raptors lost their third consecutive game in a 118-104 loss to the Pistons in Detroit. Fred Van Vleet led the team with 22 points, while OG Anunoby (19), Gary Trent Jr (15), Pascal Siakam (14) and Kyle Lowry (10) all contributed double digit points in the loss.
As for the Thunder, they have also lost their past three games, most recently going down to the Mavericks by 21 points in Oklahoma City.
Having recently traded away George Hill, the Thunder will enter Wednesday’s clash as one of the most inexperienced teams in NBA history, as Al Horford (sitting out for the season) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (missing at least the next month with a foot injury) are also unavailable.
Although the Raptors have understandably been struggling since dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak that sidelined several players and limited their staff, Toronto should win this game on the road.
With the skeleton of their 2019 NBA championship team still there and playing at a respectable level, the likes of Fred Van Vleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry should see them win their 19th game of the season against an inexperienced Thunder squad.
New York Knicks @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 8PM ET
The Minnesota Timberwolves will look to improve on their league low 11-36 record when they host the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
Minnesota will enter this match with two losses from their past two games, going down to the Rockets by 22 points and most recently Nets by five points.
The Timberwolves scored 107 points in each of their last two outings thanks to 27 points apiece from Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns against Houston, and a 31 point, 12 rebound performance from KAT against Brooklyn.
“We’re ready to get it done … Gonna do it for his mom tonight.”
Karl Towns Sr., Karl-Anthony Towns’ dad, is attending his first game since his wife, Jackie, died due to complications from the coronavirus last year.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 30, 2021
The 23-22 Knicks also lost their last game, going down to the Heat by 10 in a performance that only saw New York score 88 points as a team.
Offensive woes are starting to become a trend for the Knicks, having scored less than 100 points in three of their past seven games, less than 103 points in five of their past seven and less than 107 points in six of their past seven games.
Both sides currently have a negative point differential through their past 10 games and the Knicks recently lost center Mitchell Robinson to a broken foot injury. Robinson would have been the obvious matchup for Karl Anthony Towns.
Although they are just an 11 win team this season, we like Minnesota to win this one in an upset, as the Knicks offense is looking weaker and weaker every game, and the injury to Robinson will free up the in-form Karl-Anthony Towns on offense for Minnesota.
Sacramento Kings @ San Antonio Spurs – 8.30PM ET
The San Antonio Spurs will host the Kings for the second time in three nights with Sacramento looking to make it two from two at the AT&T Center, which would extend their active winning streak to six consecutive games.
The Kings were victorious by 17 points in Monday’s matchup against the Spurs, thanks to 24 points from De’Aaron Fox, 20 points from Buddy Hield, 23 points and 12 rebounds from Richaun Holmes, as well as 15 points and 10 assists from Tyrese Halliburton.
Although they have played their last five games at home, the Spurs are just 1-5 in those encounters. San Antonio have the opportunity to turn things around before hitting the road again with Wednesday’s clash once again at home, as are the three games that follow.
However with just one win in their last six matches, it is going to be tough for the Spurs to end their cold streak against one of the hottest teams in the NBA.
The Kings are scoring an average of 120.4 points per game throughout their active five game winning streak.
Having recently beaten the Spurs by 17 points in San Antonio, we like the Kings to win this one as underdogs. Sacramento are playing a far superior brand of basketball that has propelled them into the playoff race in the West.
Although the Spurs are not as bad as their recent 1-5 record at home suggests, San Antonio showed nothing in their recent loss to the Kings that would suggest that they are capable of swinging Wednesday’s result in their favor.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Los Angeles Lakers – 10PM ET
In what would have been marked on many basketball fans calendars as one of the games of the season earlier in the year, injuries have compromised Wednesday’s matchup between the Bucks and the Lakers in Los Angeles.
In saying that, the Lakers will be debuting Andre Drummond in the purple and gold at Staple Center, which will undoubtedly provide their recently struggling offense with a necessary spark.
The Lakers lost four games in a row after losing LeBron James to a high ankle injury, before picking up much needed wins against the Cavaliers and Magic at home over the weekend.
Back to work. 💜💛 pic.twitter.com/aFUKp84D2O
— Andre Drummond (@AndreDrummond) March 29, 2021
The Bucks on the other hand will be looking to snap a three game losing streak that was extended after their most recent 24 point loss to the Clipper in Los Angeles.
Admittedly, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Donte DiVincenzo and PJ Tucker did not feature in Milwaukee’s recent loss to the Knicks, however at full strength, the Bucks did still concede 120+ points in their other two losses against Boston and the Clippers.
Although the debut of Andre Drummond will undeniably make Los Angeles better in the long run, it is a tough ask for any player to return to an NBA game and compete with the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo after sitting out for multiple months.
The Lakers will be looking to give Drummond as much exposure and control of the offense as possible while Anthony Davis and LeBron James are out of the lineup, however that might be to their detriment on this occasion.
It also must be considered that Los Angeles’ two recent wins came against the 13th and 14th seeded teams in the Eastern Conference last week. Both wins were important wins for the Lakers, however neither opponent was of the same caliber as the Milwaukee Bucks.
Unfortunately for Dummond, his career at the Lakers will begin with a result that is very familiar to the former Piston/Cavalier… a loss.
Chicago Bulls @ Phoenix Suns – 10PM ET
The Suns will play their second game in Phoenix in as many nights when they host the Chicago Bulls in the final games of Wednesday’s schedule.
Phoenix played Atlanta at home on Tuesday night, and registered their third consecutive win with a 117-110 victory.
Seven Suns players put up double digit points against the Hawks, led by 21 points from Devin Booker, 13 points and 14 rebounds from De’Andre Ayton, 20 points from Dario Saric off the bench and 12 points from the recently acquired Torrey Craig.
With five Suns players averaging 10+ points per game (and a further two averaging 9.8), Phoenix will likely have too many avenues to the basket for Chicago’s 24th ranked defense (allowing 113.9 opposition points per game).
Especially when considering Chicago are still trying to establish their new look lineup that features Nikola Vucevic alongside Zach Lavine.
With a 16-8 record at home we can’t go past the Suns to win this game in Phoenix against the new look Bulls. However, expect more wins from this Chicago squad once their roster gets settled.
*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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