A fully loaded NBA slate did not want for entertainment on Friday night, as the Warriors needed double overtime to stay undefeated and we got another fun overtime thriller between the Nuggets and Timberwolves. It was a jam-packed night of pro basketball and while Saturday cools off some, we still have a whopping nine games on the docket. Let’s pour through the matchups and see which way you may want to be leaning with your NBA bets tonight:
Clippers @ Nets
The Clippers haven’t looked like themselves for much of the year, but they’re at least trending in the right direction with 7 wins in their last 10 games. Chris Paul and J.J. Redick are both close to 100% and have been back for the past two games, so some continuity should do the Clips some good. So should taking on a bad Nets team. Brooklyn has six of their seven wins at home this year so they can play well in front of their home crowd, but this just isn’t a favorable matchup for them.
Pick: Clippers 107, Nets 102
Celtics @ Hornets
Charlotte is a very strong home team and the Celtics have to be letdown and dead tired after losing to Golden State in 2OT last night. The Hornets should come out with a little more energy and play well in front of their home crowd.
Pick: Hornets 104, Celtics 98
Pacers @ Pistons
Paul George has been an unstoppable force this year and has been especially hot over the last couple of weeks. He’ll look to continue that trend in Detroit, where the 13-11 Pistons await. Detroit has been solid in their last 10 games (6-4), both both teams can defend and Indiana has the much more explosive offense. I like the Pacers by a hair.
Pick: Pacers 104, Pistons 102
Spurs @ Hawks
San Antonio was able to rest some of their guys last night and play others light minutes, so they should all be ready to rock against the Hawks in Atlanta tonight. The Hawks are still a very solid team, but it’s been clear the loss of DeMarre Carroll has sapped them on both ends of the court. They can contend with the Spurs, but I expect San Antonio to get back on track after losing two games ago.
Pick: Spurs 109, Hawks 106
Pelicans @ Bulls
New Orleans is getting healthy at just the right time and could end up making a playoff push if everything breaks right, but there isn’t enough there to start backing them yet. The Bulls, meanwhile, are playing some of their best defense in years and are still trying to figure out their rotations. Chicago is also a blistering 8-3 at the United Center this year, so I don’t see them losing tonight.
Pick: Bulls 101, Pelicans 97
Lakers @ Rockets
Los Angeles is absolutely dreadful and as long as Kobe Bryant remains a focal point of their offense, they may only win about once every two weeks. It’s astonishing how they’ve been run. Houston isn’t very good but they have turned things around with a 6-4 record in their last 10 games. They’re also at home and infinitely better than the Lakers.
Pick: Rockets 108, Lakers 101
Wizards @ Mavericks
John Wall is playing at an insanely high level right now, yet the Wizards still aren’t winning consistently because of two huge reasons: no depth and no defense. Brad Beal is banged up, too, so now they’re going to be even more under-manned if he can’t go tonight. On the road against a solid Mavs team that beat them in D.C. just six days ago, I don’t love the Wiz’s chances.
Pick: Mavs 109, Wiz 105
Warriors @ Bucks
To beat the Warriors you probably need one (or all) of three things to happen: play great defense, score a ton of points and have them not be hitting shots. It’s possible the latter could happen with both Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson potentially out and the Warriors fresh off a 2OT win last night. But they’re still the Warriors and they’ll probably come out, guns blazing. Also, the Bucks don’t have a great offense and the top shelf defense we saw last year hasn’t been there consistently this season. Milwaukee’s main advantage is they’re at home, but I don’t think that will be enough to hand the Warriors their first loss of the year.
Pick: Warriors 107, Bucks 101
Knicks @ Blazers
New York and Portland cap an entertaining night as the Knicks try to snap a four-game losing streak. This game is all about tempo and who can enforce their will. I think being at home with superior guard play, that should be the Blazers.
Pick: Blazers 105, Knicks 101