The Celtics ended Indiana’s seven-game winning streak and ended up being the only true surprise of a calm Saturday night, as we went 5-1 and stroll into the end of the week with a stout 567-293 season mark. Sunday gets going early with a 1:00 pm ET showdown between the Bulls and Thunder. It surely will be interesting to see what Russell Westbrook will do next, while seven more solid NBA games follow that first clash to give us a hefty eight-game Sunday slate.
Let’s get down to it as we try to cap another crazy week of NBA action on a high note:
Bulls @ Thunder
Westbrook has been ablaze and Chicago really hasn’t been themselves due to so many injuries. The Bulls will need mammoth performances out of Aaron Brooks and Pau Gasol this afternoon, and even that might not be enough.
Pick: Thunder 106, Bulls 103
Rockets @ Clippers
L.A. is up 2-1 in the season series and might normally be the favorite here, but with no Blake Griffin it’s all about James Harden versus Chris Paul. Paul is a little banged up and no one in Los Angeles can slow down Harden, so we like the Rockets by a hair.
Pick: Rockets 106, Clippers 105
Nuggets @ Pelicans
Ty Lawson missed his last game due to an illness and could be out again tonight. With or without him, the Nuggets have been playing solid ball but may not be much of a match in New Orleans against The Brow and co.
Pick: Pellies 103, Nuggets 98
Cavaliers @ Magic
Kyrie Irving is fresh off of a 57-point night and he’s just one guy the Magic have to worry about. LeBron James and Kevin Love could also easily go off against an Orlando defense that just isn’t very good. The Magic should be playing from behind for much of the night.
Pick: Cavs 107, Magic 102
Timberwolves @ Spurs
Minnesota has been more competitive but they’re in trouble on the road tonight against a Spurs squad that has woken up and won six of their last seven.
Pick: Spurs 108, T’Wolves 101
Trail Blazers @ Raptors
The Blazers have lost something with the Wes Matthews injury and they’re not quite as strong on the road, but the Raptors have dropped eight of their last 10 games. Portland is the better team and if they bring their best ball they should be able to take down the Raps.
Pick: Blazers 104, Raptors 101
Knicks @ Suns
New York remains as bad as always and Phoenix gets a bit of a break with a home game against one of the worst teams in the league. The Suns are still without Brandon Knight and have been struggling since all of the big trades went down, but this one should be a gift-wrapped win.
Pick: Suns 109, Knicks 97
Hawks @ Lakers
Los Angeles has been strong at home over the last few weeks but overall they’ve fizzled a bit with six losses in their last 10 outings. Atlanta doesn’t normally drop down to the level of bad teams, so look for them to take care of business as long as they don’t randomly rest half of their team.
Pick: Hawks 106, Lakers 102