LeBron James can’t love what he’s been seeing out of his Cleveland Cavaliers. Just a week ago the Cavs were without a doubt the best team in the Eastern Conference with a chance to show up the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs in the same week. They fell just short in San Antonio and then with Stephen Curry and co. entering Quicken Loans Arena with smack talk in hand, they got housed by 34 points.

Then again, as ugly as that 0-2 stand appears to be, perhaps James can’t be that mad. After all, those are the only two losses on Cleveland’s resume through their past 10 games (8-2), while they still have a six game lead over the Chicago Bulls in the Central Division (as well as the league). With a win over the visiting Los Angeles Clippers tonight, Cleveland would be the first Eastern Conference team to 30 wins on the year. That’d be a step in the right direction and perhaps the Cavs can figure out their Warriors or Spurs woes later this summer.

To see if Cleveland can handle L.A., read on for tonight’s NBA picks:

Los Angeles Clippers @ Cleveland Cavaliers

The Clippers enter Cleveland rather hot, as they’ve won nine of their last 10 and have quietly turned into one of the better Western Conference teams. The whole while big man Blake Griffin has sat out with a quad injury and he’s expected to sit out yet again tonight. Taking down the East’s best team on the road may be too tall of an order, however. Cleveland tends to play their best ball on their home floor (15-2 at home this season), so picking the Clippers is tough tonight.

Pick: Cavs 106, Clippers 102

Detroit Pistons @ New Orleans Pelicans

Andre Drummond was a bit of an embarrassment last night, as he attempted a Pistons franchise record 36 free throws, only to miss an NBA record 23. Yuck, indeed. Detroit was forced to give their star center just 23 minutes because of his woeful shooting from the charity stripe, but even through all of that, they still beat the Rockets. Drummond’s work from the line is an eyebrow-raiser, but this is clearly still a very solid Detroit team – specifically because of their willingness to defend (allowing just 99 points per game). It’s tough to side with them on the road (9-12 away from home this year), but they’re facing the Pellies, who will be without Eric Gordon and have been an extremely weak defensive team all year. Look for Drummond to bounce back with a big game as the Pistons start building a winning streak.

Pick: Pistons 96, Pelicans 90

Memphis Grizzlies @ Denver Nuggets

Memphis is starting to look a little more like themselves, bit by bit, as they’ve kept their opponents right around 98 points per game and have begun a small climb up the Western Conference standings with a nice three-game run (7-3 in last 10). That’s largely due to Mike Conley returning to full strength and center Marc Gasol emerging from a rough shooting slump. It’s doubtful a bad Nuggets team will have much to say about any of that tonight – even at home. Denver’s home/road splits mean nothing this year and they simply don’t (or can’t) defend. Even a struggling Memphis offense (just 96 points per game) could go nuts in this matchup.

Pick: Grizzlies 104, Nuggets 96

Atlanta Hawks @ Sacramento Kings

Only two games on tonight’s slate have a clear competitive feel to them, with this one joining the Clippers/Cavs game. Atlanta has done a good job taking back the Southeast Division with a three-game winning streak, as their balanced play and depth across the bench have worked well together. Trusting the Hawks on the road is the issue, as they’re a very pedestrian 11-10 away from home this year, while they’ll be taking on an improving Kings squad that has won three straight and has been on a solid run (6-4 over last 10 games). DeMarcus Cousins is a huge reason why, as he simply can’t be contained lately and will probably do as he pleases against Al Horford down low. I like this to be a tight, high-scoring game, and the Kings have won me over lately.

Pick: Kings 102, Hawks 101

San Antonio Spurs @ Phoenix Suns

If you’re looking for the bet to book tonight, this is it. The Suns are falling apart at the seams and even if they weren’t, they are severely ravaged by injuries. They’ll have to dig deep tonight to even field a quality rotation, while competing with an elite Spurs squad just feels like a pipe dream. The Spurs are a little more vulnerable on the road (all six of their losses have come away from home), but they give up just 89 points per game and have won 11 straight games. San Antonio figures to rest some guys tonight, but it shouldn’t matter in a game I expect the Spurs to win quite easily.

Pick: Spurs 108, Suns 87

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