Tuesday night was a crazy night for basketball, as the Mavs and Bulls went into two extra periods, the Lakers won yet again and Kevin Durant’s return didn’t go as planned. Through it all, we still held a solid 7-3 mark on the night. That lifts our 2014-15 NBA picks up to a nice 127-61 record on the year, and we carry that into a another 10-game night on Wednesday. Let’s get to it:
Bulls @ Hornets
Chicago narrowly missed out on a sweet overtime win on Tuesday night, but Derrick Rose is expected to be available for this back to back, so the Bulls are the likely favorites. It’s in Charlotte and the Hornets are hungry for a win, but the Bulls are a tough team to snap a nine-game skid against.
Pick: Bulls 102, Hornets 88
Mavericks @ Bucks
Dallas is going to be tired after a huge 2OT win at Chicago, so even though the Bucks are a beatable opponent, this feels like a trap game. The Bucks play hard every night and are a lot better than anyone probably thought they’d be. I’ll give the Bucks a real shot at home tonight.
Pick: Bucks 104, Mavs 102
Raptors @ Jazz
Toronto ran all over the Kings last night and should do the same in Utah, where the Jazz aren’t much better than they are on the road. Utah’s lack of defense begs for a high scoring game, while the possibility of Derrick Favors missing a second straight game could push this one to blowout central.
Pick: Raptors 107, Jazz 93
Magic @ Clippers
Orlando had to play without star center Nikola Vucevic last night and may be without him again tonight (back spasms). If he’s in they have a chance as he ate up DeAndre Jordan last time, but even with him the Magic got blown out. A similar result could be in order in L.A. tonight.
Pick: Clips 109, Magic 94
Lakers @ Wizards
Los Angeles has been pretty gritty lately and Kobe Bryant turning into an assist machine has been the biggest reason why. I’ll give them a chance in most games right now, but on the road against a strong Wizards team, it might be asking a lot for them to get the win.
Pick: Wiz 112, Lakers 104
Pistons @ Celtics
Detroit just lost to the Lakers and are probably as low as they can go. Boston isn’t exactly a whole lot better, but they’re at home and seem to spread their offense around a little better. A serious lack of defense on both sides should have this one in the 100’s.
Pick: Celtics 105, Pistons 103
Hawks @ Heat
Atlanta is quietly a pretty good team and stands in the East at the fourth seed. That just might stick, especially if they can go into Miami and show they’re better than the Heat. It will be interesting to see if Dwyane Wade suits up again in this one, and if he does the Heat should be able to win a close one at home.
Pick: Heat 102, Hawks 101
Spurs @ Nets
Brooklyn can be good in spurts, but they mostly beat teams worse than they are. San Antonio is on the road but they’re the better team and their big name stars got to rest in their last game, so they’ll be fresh and looking to get the win.
Pick: Spurs 106, Nets 99
Grizzlies @ Rockets
Memphis rocked the Rockets in the first meeting between two very sound defenses and they might do so again if Dwight Howard (knee) can’t go. The Grizzlies are simple the more disciplined team, anyways, so even if Howard returns the Grizz might still be the safer pick.
Pick: Grizzlies 89, Rockets 87
76ers @ Timberwolves
I’m doing it. I don’t really want to, but even the Sixers have to win sometime and the odds beg for you to place a bet on them finally getting their first win just about every night. Minnesota does have Thaddeus Young going up against his former team, but they’re down three of their best players. It’s only fitting for Philly to get their first win away from their loyal home crowd, too.
Pick: 76ers 104, Timberwolves 103