We entered Tuesday’s NBA action with a perfect 3-0 run. We’ve been picking and choosing our spots through the schedule, but hey. After Tuesday (we didn’t include the super late game between Lakers and Jazz, forgive us), we did stumble on our first loss of the month (dang you, Pistons!), but emerged with a 4-1 record and jumped to 7-1 on the year. And Detroit lost by just four points at home. Who would have thunk it?

It’s preseason NBA, so anything can happen. We took another break for Wednesday’s games, but we’re back for Thursday night. Our record has been pretty darn good in the early going and we’re putting it to the test big time with the fattest slate of the preseason yet (7 games). Keep in mind the teams resting key star players, especially the organizations on the seconds of back-to-backs. NBA teams playing two nights in a row are usually on high alert during regular season, but that may even be more the case during preseason play with starters not forcing the issue in meaningless contests.

Well, if you’re betting some cash on them they’re not entirely meaningless, right? Right. Let’s get to it:

Magic @ Pacers

Indiana had a big win over the Pistons on the road the other day, but they’ve had a full day off and should be well rest at home. That means plenty of run for all their key guys, while Orlando could miss some important players or have them limited after playing last night. Add that this one is on the road, and the Magic are a tough pick tonight.

Pick: Pacers 107, Magic 102

Bulls @ Nuggets

Pau Gasol is out and he’ll obviously be joined by Derrick Rose, who hasn’t suited up yet this preseason due to a facial fracture. Even with them both out I still prefer the visiting Bulls, as the Nuggets don’t have much star talent and rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay is still learning on the fly. Jimmy Butler should have a big game and reserves Tony Snell and Doug McDermott should be able to pitch in during the win.

Pick: Bulls 106, Nuggets 102

Cavaliers @ 76ers

Cleveland just lost a close home game to the Hawks last night, while they were already without some big names. Even though they could be even more depleted and will be on the road tonight, I still like them to take down Philly.

Pick: Cavs 104, Sixers 101

Nets @ Pistons

Detroit plays host for the second game in a row and welcomes the Nets into town. Jarrett Jack and co. should be strong to get this one going, as all of the Nets’ main starters should play and could get solid run. Reggie Jackson is banged up but will play, although he could be a little limited. This should be a tight one, but I actually like Detroit due to their depth.

Pick: Pistons 104, Nets 99

Raptors @ Lakers

L.A. hosts a well rested Raptors bunch that has looked pretty good in preseason. All of Toronto’s key starters should be in for solid minutes and if that’s the case, the Lakers probably won’t make it close. D’Angelo Russell could be out with an injury and Kobe Bryant could sit or be limited, as well.

Pick: Raptors 109, Lakers 104

Warriors @ Blazers

Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard are the show-stoppers tonight, but the Warriors remain the much deeper team going into this year. Golden State is on the road, where they tend to be a tad more vulnerable, but the Blazers have little muscle down low and not much that is scary beyond Dame.

Pick: Warriors 111, Blazers 106

Spurs @ Kings

Coach Pop won’t be on the sidelines for San Antonio’s preseason opener, while LaMarcus Aldridge and numerous big names could be out or limited for the Spurs. Sacramento did just play on the road last night, but I oddly like them at home in a back-to-back contest.

Pick: Kings 98, Spurs 96

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