On Friday night, the Boston Celtics head to Hollywood to play Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the LA Clippers. On Saturday, the two top teams in the Eastern Conference not named the Milwaukee Bucks square off when the Philadelphia 76ers host the Brooklyn Nets. Philly missed out on the James Harden sweepstakes, but the Nets haven’t exactly been killing it since Harden arrived.
Before the season began, experts suggested the Dallas Mavericks would be a force in the Western Conference, while the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets would be struggling during rebuilding years. Well, it’s the Mavs struggling in the west cellar, while the Spurs and Rockets are battling for a Southwest Division title and jockeying for playoff position. The two meet this weekend for a high-noon showdown in Texas.
- Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavs
- Boston Celtics at LA Clippers
- Utah Jazz at Charlotte Hornets
- Portland Trail Blazers at New York Knicks
- Denver Nuggets at Sacramento Kings
- Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers
- San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets
- Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Pelicans
- Utah Jazz at Indiana Pacers
- Boston Celtics at Phoenix Suns
- Sacramento Kings at LA Clippers
Of course, we can’t wait to see Carmelo Anthony return to NYC to play in Madison Square Garden against his old squad, the New York Knicks.
As we head into this weekend, NBA players are livid that the league wants to go ahead with an All-Star Game and ASG skills competition instead of focusing on finishing out the season as safely as possible.
Friday: Celtics and Clippers Finals Teaser?
Milwaukee Bucks (13-8) at Cleveland Cavs (10-12)… It’s funny how people are talking about how Greek Freak is having a bad year with only 27 ppg, 11.2 rebounds, six assists per game. Fantasy nerds love his PER, which is ranked #4 in the NBA at 27.28. If the season were to end today, the Cavs would have the #7 playoff seed in the east.
Boston Celtics (11-9) at LA Clippers (17-6)… If you like to predict the 2021 NBA Finals, this is certainly one of the potential, but unlikely, matchups. The well-balanced Clippers finished a six-game East Coast road trip with a 4-2 record, but they didn’t play Boston on that sojourn. The Celtics won’t have Marcus Smart (calf strain). Jaylen Brown is also questionable with a sore knee.
Utah Jazz (17-5) at Charlotte Hornets (10-12)… The Jazz have the best ATS record in the league at 15-7. The Jazz won two in a row after they had an 11-game winning streak snapped off by the Denver Nuggets. Charlotte rookie LaMelo Ball is now in the starting lineup for the Hornets.
Brooklyn and Philly Saturday Night Showdown
Portland Trail Blazers (12-9) at New York Knicks (10-13)… The Knicks, ranked #2 and allowing just 104.1 ppg, are one of the best defensive teams in the league. That makes sense when you see that the under hit in 16 out of 23 Knicks games this season. Melo returns to Gotham for a game at his old stomping ground at MSG. Should be a fun one. Will Melo wind back the clock and unleash 50-plus?
Denver Nuggets (12-9) at Sacramento Kings (10-11)… The over hit in 15 out of 21 games for Denver this season (ranked #5 with 115.5 ppg). Can anyone slow down the Joker? Nikola Jokic tied a career-high with 47 points to help the Nugs end the Jazz’s double-digit winning streak. Jokic is ranked #2 in the NBA with a 30.29 PER rating.
Brooklyn Nets (14-9) at Philadelphia 76ers (16-7)… The over is 17-6 in Brooklyn games this season. You’d expect all three members of Brooklyn’s Big 3 to play in this one. Ben Simmons (calf) is day-to-day for Philly, but if he can’t play, expect Shake Milton to start.
San Antonio Spurs (12-10) at Houston Rockets (11-10)… With the Dallas Mavs slumping, the Rockets and Spurs meet to determine the best NBA team in Texas. The under hit 13 times in 21 games for the revamped Rockets, who now rely on defense to win games. Houston is now 7-1 in their last eight games.
Memphis Grizzlies (9-8) at New Orleans Pelicans (8-12)… We can’t wait for Ja Morant versus Zion Williamson. The Griz lost two straight after their six-game winning streak abruptly ended in Indiana. The over is 13-7 in Pelicans games this season, but the Pels are one of the worst teams in the NBA against the spread with an 8-12 ATS record.
Sunday Jazz in the Park
Utah Jazz (17-5) at Indiana Pacers (12-10)… The Pacers dropped three out of their last four games. They face a tough test on Sunday with the red-hot Jazz. Malcolm Brogdon (22.4 ppg, 6.8 assists) and Domantas Sabonis (21.6 ppg, 12 rebounds) have become a 1-2 offensive punch for the Pacers ever since Victor Oladipo was traded to Houston as part of the Harden four-team deal.
Boston Celtics (11-9) at Phoenix Suns (11-9)… The banged-up Celtics continue their five-game western swing, but they struggle with a 6-6 road record away from Boston this season. After an 8-3 start, the Celtics are 3-6 in their last nine games. Devin Booker returned to the lineup for Phoenix after missing several games with a lingering hamstring problem.
Sacramento Kings (10-11) at LA Clippers (17-6)… The Clippers have the second-best ATS record in the league with a 14-9 clip. The Clips also boast the second-best home record in the west at 8-2. It’s a small sample size (two games), but Paul George averages 31 ppg in February. The very young but scrappy Kings are just one game under .500, and a playoff berth is within their reach. Rookie Tyreese Haliburton averages 11.2 ppg and 5.4 assists off the bench for the Kings.