Stephen Curry ruled the world on Thursday night, as his Golden State Warriors thwarted a hot start by the Los Angeles Clippers to stay perfect at 13-0. It’s easy to say/read that and move along, but the reality is Curry and these Warriors are playing out of this world right now. Chris Paul randomly started and went 8-8 to get going last night, helping give the Clips a 23-point edge at the break – at home.
None of that mattered and even down 10 with about five minutes to go, the Warriors looked calm and poised as they sunk three after three to storm back. One could say it was the Rockets happening all over again to the Rockets, but this isn’t to be confused with Houston’s lucky run. Golden State can get down and make mistakes, but they have an uncanny ability to bounce back after each blow and finish games.
All that being said, the Warriors return home tonight to take on the Bulls on the second game of a back-to-back. If they’re going to get trapped and finally lose, this could be the perfect spot. Jimmy Butler said he wants to cover Curry, too, so it will be very interesting to see how that works out. Even so, it’s still fairly likely the Warriors are 14-0 come tomorrow.
There’s more to the NBA betting world than the Warriors, though, so let’s go over all the games for Friday night and see which way you might want to be leaning:
76ers @ Hornets
Philly is probably getting closer to a win but they’re as bad as you think they are and will be on the road tonight against a surprisingly decent Hornets team. Nicolas Batum is turning in a career year, Kemba Walker is on fire and Al Jefferson is coming around. Charlotte is at home after a day off and it’s pretty unlikely they cave against a team severely lacking in talent or shooting.
Pick: Hornets 106, Sixers 95
Nets @ Celtics
Normally I might give the Nets a chance to get something going against Boston, but the Celtics have morphed into a deadly team on the defensive end and when Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas are both clicking, their offense can be strong, too. Boston is at home tonight and while the Nets could always go nuts via Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, there’s a reason they’re 2-10 (1-7 on the road).
Pick: Celtics 98, Nets 90
Spurs @ Pelicans
Anthony Davis returns tonight and the Pellies are at home, but The Brow has been largely soft and can’t carry a team that has simply been hit way too hard by injuries. New Orleans can give the Spurs a fight early but in the end Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge should prove to be too much.
Pick: Spurs 108, Pellies 104
Pistons @ Timberwolves
Detroit has slipped since a hot start, but they still look like a talented playoff contender that can actually defend. Their offense is oddly what is touch and go this year, but against Minnesota (giving up 103 points per game), something tells me they’ll find their stroke tonight.
Pick: Pistons 109, Timberwolves 103
Knicks @ Thunder
Russell Westbrook continues to mash tonight, as Kevin Durant is out again with his still ailing hamstring. Westbrook has poured in 40+ points in two straight games, but he’s only 1-1 in that span. The Thunder remain an impressive offensive machine even without KD, but they’re giving up a remarkable 105 points per game. Luckily the Knicks are coming to town, who aren’t even putting up 99 points per game and don’t have much to threaten with outside of Melo and Kristaps Porzingis.
Pick: Thunder 111, Knicks 105
Rockets @ Grizzlies
James Harden put the Rockets on his back in an overtime thriller the other night, and he may have to do so again to get a big road win against a hated rival. Memphis hosts the Rockets in a huge divisional clash between two formerly elite teams that have been struggling. Normally I’d give Memphis the edge at home, but their trademark defense has been touch and go and the Rockets seem to be inspired at the moment.
Pick: Rockets 97, Grizz 95
Jazz @ Mavericks
Dallas is surprisingly very solid right now, as they’re not even fully healthy and are still working Chandler Parsons back into the rotation. Still, they’re 8-4 thanks to a sick five-game winning streak and play host to a still fairly average Utah squad. The Jazz have the overall edge defensively and could stay in this, but Dallas has improved on defense this year and could hold down the fort at home.
Pick: Mavs 101, Jazz 97
Suns @ Nuggets
Phoenix has been a fun team to watch this year, as Eric Bledsoe is careering and the Suns are playing at a break-neck pace and putting up 105 points per game. They trounced the Nuggets last time they faced this year and while that may not happen again with this one in Denver, it’s hard to not like the Suns in this matchup.
Pick: Suns 109, Nuggets 106
Clippers @ Blazers
Los Angeles suffered a back-breaker last night by blowing a 23-point lead in a home loss to the Warriors. They could cave and lose to a struggling Portland squad, or they could come out angry. I say they’re too mad to lose two in a row, while the Blazers’ awful losing skid hits eight games.
Pick: Clips 110, Blazers 107
Bulls @ Warriors
Jimmy Butler on Stephen Curry? It probably won’t matter. Butler will be too worried about trying to keep up with Golden State, as Derrick Rose is out tonight. The Bulls come in hot with a nice four-game run, but no one can touch the Warriors right now.
Pick: Warriors 106, Bulls 104
Raptors @ Lakers
Toronto is impossible to gauge, as they started the year off a blistering 5-0, but since then are just 2-6. They’re looking at a fourth straight loss tonight if they can’t beat the Lakers on the road. A loss is unlikely even with The Black Mamba back tonight, as L.A. has won just twice all year and is giving up over 105 points per game.
Pick: Raptors 103, Lakers 95