Every now and again NBA fans are blessed with an explosive night of basketball, one that may even yield historic results. Friday night was such a night, as Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson had the best individual performance in one quarter in NBA history. More specifically, he connected on 13 of 13 shots for an NBA record 37 points. That insane performance took a 58-58 tie and blew the game wide open, giving the Warriors a blowout win at home over the Sacramento Kings. Thompson ended with an NBA season-high 52 points, and all we could do is sit back and take it in.
That’s history, and it was double the fun as it helped the Warriors win you money if you picked them over the Kings. It certainly would have if you followed our Friday night NBA picks column, although we could only muster a mediocre 6-5 record on the jam-packed 11 game night. Of course, that’s also partially to blame for the Knicks somehow winning a third straight game, the Mavericks losing at home and the Suns getting dropped by a last-second shot by James Harden. Had luck gone slightly the other (more logical) way, we would have had a nice 9-2 record on what ended up being a pretty crazy night.
That’s how it goes sometimes, however, and you have to roll with the punches. We still have a solid 361-187 season record to lean on and we’ll put it to work on a five-game Saturday night:
Pistons @ Bucks
Detroit is climbing fast up the ranks in the East, winning seven of their last 10 and now going toe to toe with the rival Bucks for the fourth time this year. Milwaukee took two of the first three battles, but all of those games came back in November, before the Pistons cut Josh Smith loose. Milwaukee has a slight edge at home, but the key difference is Jabari Parker and Larry Sanders are both absent. Look for an improved Pistons squad to even the series as they try to get closer to a playoff spot.
Pick: Pistons 101, Bucks 98
Nets @ Jazz
Brooklyn enters Utah tonight trying to turn around an awful stretch where they’ve won just two times in their last 10 contests. The Jazz play host, but they can’t be too encouraged by their recent history either, while they’re just 7-12 on their home floor. Utah is letting Dante Exum take over at the point and gets Derrick Favors back, so they might be carrying some momentum at home tonight.
Pick: Jazz 104, Nets 102
Knicks @ Hornets
New York has strung together three straight wins now, and we’ve only picked one of them correctly. That makes tonight really tough to call, especially since they get a beatable Hornets team that just got absolutely blasted by the Cavaliers. It’s the second of a back to back, it’s on the road and Carmelo Anthony (knee) could easily be rested. Overall, a fourth win in a row isn’t overly likely for New York.
Pick: Hornets 90, Knicks 87
76ers @ Grizzlies
Memphis enters tonight’s matchup with a clear advantage, and it’s three-pronged. They have more talent, they have the better record and they’re at home. The Sixers actually played them all the way into overtime earlier this year, but duplicating that performance will be almost impossible. Look for Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol have their way down low all night.
Pick: Grizz 111, 76ers 95
Wizards @ Trail Blazers
The odds shall change. LaMarcus Aldridge was supposed to be out 6-8 weeks with a thumb injury, but he’s delayed that and will suit up tonight against the Wiz. Portland gets some scoring and strength back down low, which gives them a real shot at beating a balanced Washington squad at home. The Blazers will still be without Nicolas Batum (wrist) and are hurt at center, but they have enough to win at home, where they usually find a way to take care of business.
Pick: Blazers 109, Wiz 106