Pro basketball hits Wednesday night hard, as 20 teams come out to play. The 10 games surprisingly lack the front-loaded star power that Tuesday night, but there are still plenty of star players and a litany of solid matchups worth tuning in to watch. As always, there’s games worth betting on, too.
Let’s break down all 10 games and see which way you may want to lean in our Wednesday night NBA picks:
Bulls @ Celtics
Chicago takes it to the road for an early game against the Celtics, who will be without defensive ace, Marcus Smart. Smart’s absence hurts Boston’s chances of shutting down the Bulls, so their best bet may be running per usual and seeing if they can’t out-score Chicago. That’s certainly possible given Chicago’s mediocre 4-4 record on the road, but they have the talent edge in this one. I expect Pau Gasol to wreck, while Derrick Rose over powers the smaller Isaiah Thomas.
Pick: Bulls 102, Celtics 100
Rockets @ Wizards
James Harden and Dwight Howard were both weak last night in a loss to the lowly Nets, so they’ll both have to be at their best tonight when the Rockets try to win in D.C. The Wiz should be at near full strength with Marcin Gortat back, while John Wall is playing some fantastic ball in December. Neither team plays defense and both like to run, so we’ll give the Wiz the mild edge on their home floor.
Pick: Wiz 106, Rockets 104
Heat @ Hornets
The Hornets keep on winning even without Al Jefferson in the lineup and they’ll host the Heat tonight in a battle of paces. Miami likes to slow things down and defend, while the Hornets are putting up over 102 points per game after being mostly a defensive-minded team in year’s past. In a game basically for the Southeast division lead, though, we think the more talented Heat will be on top of their game.
Pick: Heat 97, Hornets 94
Grizzlies @ Pistons
Memphis looked awful in a loss last night and also comes in nicked up with Marc Gasol and others battling injuries. They could come in severely depleted (not to mention tired) so the home team Pistons look like the call.
Pick: Pistons 99, Grizz 97
Spurs @ Raptors
The Spurs have a stiff test tonight in Toronto, but it’s going to be awfully difficult to pick against them thanks to an 18-4 start. Toronto is also without DeMarre Carroll and won’t have the same defensive bite they normally would. The Spurs are usually good for vulnerability on the road, but they’ve won four straight and are the much better team on paper.
Pick: Spurs 102, Raptors 96
Clippers @ Bucks
Milwaukee has turned things around with solid defense lately, as they’ve won two in a row. They’re still at the bottom of their division, however, and may need a big home win against the Clips tonight to prove they can be a more consistent bunch. The matchup just doesn’t work in their favor, unfortunately, as Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan should feast down low.
Pick: Clippers 104, Bucks 97
Lakers @ Timberwolves
The Lakers shoot for their fourth on the year during the Kobe Tour, but that won’t come easy on the road against a surprisingly sold Minnesota team. The Lakers continue to put Kobe Bryant’s vanity above winning, so improving on their atrocious 2-12 road mark isn’t likely. A healthy Ricky Rubio aids Minnesota’s cause, too.
Pick: Wolves 107, Lakers 103
Magic @ Suns
Probably shooting for the highest Total of the night, the Magic and Suns square off in what should be a very entertaining game. The Magic have come on strong in December and are winners of 7 of their last 10. They’re just 5-6 on the road, however, as Phoenix plays host. That being said, both teams can fill it up offensively, but of the two only Orlando actually defends.
Pick: Magic 106, Suns 101
Knicks @ Jazz
Both the Knicks and Jazz are banged up, as Rudy Gobert continues to miss time and Carmelo Anthony still may not be himself. That makes picking this game fairly difficult, as Utah can be a stud defensive squad but at the moment may be tough to trust. Still, they’re a defensive-minded team at home against a Knicks offense that simply struggles to put the ball in the basket consistently.
Pick: Jazz 97, Knicks 92
Hawks @ Mavericks
This might be the best game of the night and perhaps the NBA knew that, as they save it for last. The Mavs are getting very close to full health and should have J.J. Barea back tonight, while the Hawks should have all of their players, as well. Fans could be in for a bit of a shootout, as both of these teams put up over 101 points per game. Atlanta is probably the better team on the surface, but winning in Dallas won’t be easy.
Pick: Mavs 105, Hawks 102