The Milwaukee Bucks lost Jabari Parker for the year to a torn ACL, the Oklahoma City Thunder kept winning and the Golden State Warriors finally lost on a Tuesday night that was full of NBA news and action. We fared well enough in the midst of all the chaos, going 4-2 across a six-game night.
We ended up missing on the Warriors, who had their 16-game winning streak snapped in Memphis, while the Heat also won on the road. We’ll take those two minor lumps and waltz into Wednesday night with a still stellar 200-91 season record:
Hawks @ Cavaliers
Atlanta is one of the sneakiest teams in the league at a healthy 17-7, but they’ve lost most of their games (5-5) on the road. Cleveland has been fairly tough to beat on their home floor and are pretty hot with eight wins in their last 10 games. Their defense still isn’t elite, so we could see a shootout, but they have the upper hand tonight.
Pick: Cavs 109, Hawks 107
Suns @ Hornets
Charlotte’s defense could start improving now that they’re at full health, but they’ve dropped their last three and their struggles on offense are really overshadowing anything they do on defense right now. They’re at home, but the Suns could run them dead.
Pick: Suns 104, Hornets 99
Magic @ Celtics
Orlando has Nikola Vucevic back and neither of these teams play much defense, so we should be in for a fun, back and forth clash in Boston. They match up extremely well but Orlando has the advantage down low and has more efficient wing production. Look for them to get a nice road win.
Pick: Magic 104, Celtics 102
Mavericks @ Pistons
Dallas could be up for resting Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons (back), but if they don’t they should run all over the Pistons. Detroit has looked better with Jodie Meeks back and bringing some outside shooting to their lethargic offense, but even at home they probably can’t hang with the Mavs.
Pick: Mavs 110, Pistons 101
Jazz @ Heat
Miami escaped last night with a nice win and is back at home, so you have to like their chances to build some momentum against the lowly Jazz. Utah’s only chance is probably Dwyane Wade sitting out, but with possibly no Derrick Favors (ankle) again, they’re not likely to get the road win.
Pick: Heat 107, Jazz 102
Nets @ Raptors
Brooklyn is simply decent but not great right now, while they’re already under manned with Brook Lopez out. Kevin Garnett could sit on the second of a back to back (rest), too, so the Nets aren’t good bets to top Toronto on the road. The Raps are 12-3 on their home floor, so they’re one of the safest picks of the night.
Pick: Raptors 106, Nets 96
Grizzlies @ Spurs
This is a bit of a trap game for the Grizz, who just won a monster home game against the Warriors last night. It was a dog fight, so they’ll be burned out and now they have to go visit a well rested Spur squad in San Antonio. Everything says a Spurs win here.
Pick: Spurs 101, Grizzlies 98
Bucks @ Blazers
Milwaukee could be in for a letdown with Jabari Parker freshly on the shelf, while winning in Portland was probably asking a lot, either way. The Blazers just don’t lose at home (11-2) and with two straight wins could be headed for another nice, long winning streak.
Pick: Blazers 104, Bucks 97
Rockets @ Nuggets
Dwight Howard returned over the weekend and looked fantastic, and with three days rest he should be completely ready to rock out again. The Nuggets have zero resistance down low or on defense in general, though, so the Rockets have to be heavy favorites with or without their big man.
Pick: Rockets 111, Nuggets 99
Pacers @ Clippers
Indiana has a chance anytime they bring their defense, but their offense continues to lag too often. Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Watson could get going against a sometimes suspect L.A. perimeter defense, but the Clips are visibly a different beast at the Staples Center. It’s not a great idea to bet against the Clippers tonight.
Pick: Clips 107, Pacers 94