IT’S a super Sunday of NBA basketball on the way and when there’s a ball game, there’s always a little punting action to be had.
The resurgent Brooklyn Nets kick off the day with a visit from Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clipppers, before the Boston Celtics head to Charlotte to take on the Hornets. The Paul George show rolls into Detroit as the Pistons welcome the Indiana Pacers to the Palace, and the dominant San Antonio Spurs head to Atlanta for a clash with the Hawks.
The Chicago Bulls have a home date with the New Orleans Pelicans and two teams that have been seriously struggling in the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets will battle it out in Texas, where the Washington Wizards will hope John Wall can fire in their visit to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.
The league’s best team, the Golden State Warriors, head to Milwaukee to take on Greg Monroe and the Bucks, and Kristaps Porzingas and his New York Knicks close out the day in the Rose Garden, taking on Damien Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers.
As always, we’ve had a look at the daily plays and sifted through them to try and find a multi or two that has a chance of getting home.
Brooklyn Nets line +5.5 ($1.91 @ Sportsbet.com.au)
Boston Celtics win ($1.94)
Indiana Pacers win ($1.94)
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets total game score over 209.5 ($1.91)
Combined multi total: $13.70 @ Sportsbet.com.au
Los Angeles Clippers at Brooklyn Nets
Our pick: Brooklyn Nets line +5.5 ($1.91)
The Nets kicked off the season with seven straight losses and things looked dire. But four wins from their last six outings, including pushing the undefeated Golden State Warriors for three quarters, has them restoring a little bit of respectability to their season ledger. They are still only 7-15, but their big man Brook Lopez has been on a tear, putting up nearly 20 points, eight boards, and over two blocks per game. Lopez and his foil Thaddeus Young will be the key men in keeping this game close. They need to keep a leash on Clippers monster Blake Griffin and try and get past defensive dynamo DeAndre Jordan. Even if that does go well for the Nets, the Clipps have so many weapons and their ace in the hole is gun point guard Chris Paul. He orchestrates every thing and, with the Nets’ rolling out a point guard combination of Jarrett Jack and Shane Larkin, Paul should have his way. That will be enough to get them over the line, but the Nets are coming off back to back wins and they should be able to keep it close enough to cover the line.
Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets
Our pick: Boston Celtics win ($1.94)
How much fun are the Celtics? With no stars to speak of, Boston has put together a tight little unit, led by fire cracker point guard Isaiah Thomas, who has been unconscious with over 20 points and six dimes a game this season. With defensive dynamos Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley in the wings and reliable journeyman Amir Johnson in the front court, they have been tough to deal with for just about every one they have come up against. The Celts, expected to be a lottery team at the start of the season, are in the seventh spot in the east, but are only 1.5 games back from the Cavs atop the conference. They will be coming off a probably hammering at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, but it is not as if that should rattle their confidence – the Warriors whack every one. Teams just cop their pasting and move on to the next one. Don’t look now, but the team they come up against are the Charlotte Hornets, who are second in the east. It’s remarkable what they have done, without their figure head Al Jefferson and lottery pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for much of the season. The key men for them have been point guard Kemba Walker and off season acquisition Nicolas Batum, who has been a nightly triple double threat. They’ve won three in a row and will be tough to beat, but we’re backing the Celtics to pull off an upset on the road.
Indiana Pacers at Detroit Pistons
Our pick: Indiana Pacers win ($1.94)
Paul George, take a bow. What an unbelievable season the versatile swing man is putting together, just a year removed from a horrific leg break that many thought might end his career. Talent is every thing in the NBA and PG will be the best player on the floor in this one by a long way. The rest of the Pacers’ mediocre roster has been riding their superstar MVP candidates coat tails fourth in the east. When your second scoring option is the immortal CJ Miles you know a player is special if they can carry their team to a 12-8 record. The up and down Pistons are no slouches but, just when things were looking up after a four game winnings streak, they gave up games against the Memphis Grizzlies and Charlotte Hornets to slide back to 12-11. The Pistons have a fantastic starting five, lead by streaky point guard Reggie Jackson and the double double beast up front Andre Drummond, but are let down by their bench. Given that the Pacers are on the road, and could be coming off their fourth straight loss after a tough clash with the Miami Heat, this is a bold pick. But the streak has to end and, regardless of the result against the Heat, they should have the motivation to get the job done against the Pistons.
Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets
Our pick: Total game score over 209.5 ($1.91)
Two teams that have been down right putrid on defence go head to head in Texas. We think this is an easy cover. Los Angeles and Houston are 27th and 28th in points allowed this season. While the Lakers have struggled to put points up – only 23rd in the league – the Rockets, led by James Harden, are among the most potent offences in the game. Harden only plays one side of the court, but he is remarkably good at it, firing in 29 points per game on the back of 87 per cent shooting from the free throw line and nearly three treys per game. Some times Dwight Howard turns up on offence, while big man Terrence Jones and wing attacker Trevor Ariza can also fill it up. The bizarro Lakers have crapped on their rookies, benching both D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. The only reason for this is deliberate losing, and you can see it happening throughout games, with coach Byron Scott removing players from the line up when they start playing well. With the no D Lakers, Houston is set to rack up a very big score. Even if the Lakers can’t crack the ton (opponents have gone into three figures in nine of the last 10 Rockets fixtures) Houston should score enough to get the overs.
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