Chris Paul put the Clippers on his back as L.A. topped the Spurs on Thursday night, bringing basketball and randomness back to our lives. We had the Spurs taking the Blake Griffin-less Clips down, but it didn’t work out that way and we left the night with a 1-1 mark (bringing our season run to 451-229).

We’re still doing great on the year and have plenty of opportunities tonight to help you win some money via NBA betting, thanks to a plethora of pro basketball contests (a whopping 13, to be exact). Chris Bosh has a blood clot and is probably out for the year (and obviously tonight), and also be sure to keep in mind all the pending trades and injuries that could tilt some of these contests. With that said, let’s jump right into it as the NBA is officially back, baby:

Pelicans @ Magic

Anthony Davis should be able to make his way back from a shoulder injury, but with or without him the rising Pellies need to be favored over the sorry Magic. Orlando is actually 2-2 in their last four games since firing Jacque Vaughn, but on the year they’re a terrible defensive team. Look for Tyreke Evans and hopefully Davis to carve them up in a nice road win.

Pick: Pellies 109, Magic 104

Pacers @ 76ers

The Sixers just traded away their best player and may have only one true active point guard tonight. Indy, meanwhile, plays solid defense and outside of a healthy Paul George, comes in at full strength. We like the Pacers, obviously.

Pick: Pacers 103, Sixers 79

Raptors @ Hawks

The Hawks slide into the All-Star break, while the Raptors ran screaming in with a nice three-game winning streak. Atlanta is dominant at home and will want to get the second half of the year off on the right foot, though, so we like the Hawks in a tight contest.

Pick: Hawks 108, Raptors 107

Bulls @ Pistons

Detroit is hurting at point guard right now after trades (Reggie Jackson won’t be active yet), so they’ll need their bigs to dominate this one. They might do so early at home, but Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol are certainly no slouches. Derrick Rose might just dominate this game.

Pick: Bulls 105, Pistons 102

Heat @ Knicks

Chris Bosh is out and Goran Dragic won’t be active yet, but Dwyane Wade should be back and the Heat are still facing the Knicks. Advantage: South Beach.

Pick: Heat 99, Knicks 96

Suns @ Timberwolves

The Suns and T’Wolves get together in Minnesota tonight, in what could be a high-octane and high-scoring affair. Lots of guys are out of this one due to trades, putting Eric Bledsoe and Ricky Rubio against each other in what should be a wild showdown. Minnesota has more weapons at the moment, so I’ll give them a shot on their home floor.

Pick: Timberwolves 107, Suns 104

Cavaliers @ Wizards

Cleveland gets a stiff test in D.C. tonight, although John Wall hasn’t been quite 100% and the Wiz have dropped six of their last 10. It might be hard to take them seriously over the Cavs, even at home, especially since Cleveland has been so hot (8-2 in last 10).

Pick: Cavaliers 104, Wizards 101

Rockets @ Mavericks

Still no Dwight Howard for the Rockets, but Houston will take on a tired Dallas team (they lost to the Thunder last night). James Harden tends to play well against the Mavs, so he should erupt in a nice road win.

Pick: Rockets 106, Mavs 102

Nuggets @ Bucks

Milwaukee has no point guard tonight, but they’ll look to put the defensive clamps on Ty Lawson and the Nuggets. That could happen with this one in Milwaukee, but Denver’s team is still largely intact and I think Lawson could go nuts.

Pick: Nuggets 101, Bucks 98

Trail Blazers @ Jazz

Rudy Gobert will step up as the full-time starter for the Jazz, which could mean big things for the progression of their defense. It’ll be a nice start at home tonight, but the Blazers are just too good and come in with a two-game winning streaking.

Pick: Blazers 102, Jazz 94

Celtics @ Kings

Boston and Sacramento get together for George Karl’s first game, as he’ll try to get the Kings to play better team defense and kick his tenure off with a 1-0 start. That should be easier with Jared Sullinger out due to injury.

Pick: Kings 105, Celtics 100

Spurs @ Warriors

San Antonio will be dead tired after losing to the Clippers late last night, so heading into Golden State has to be last on their wish list. We could randomly see some of their stars benched here, but either way the Warriors are the strong favorites (they’re 23-2 at home).

Pick: Warriors 107, Spurs 104

Nets @ Lakers

Brooklyn heads to L.A. without Kevin Garnett (traded) and Thaddeus Young won’t be active yet, but that just means Mason Plumlee and Brook Lopez will both start and carve up the Lakers’ weak defense. The Nets should roll.

Pick: Nets 106, Lakers 102

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