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Sunday, November 17, 2019
PACERS VS BUCKS
Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Indiana Pacers hope a live preparation session pays dividends Saturday night when they host the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks have averaged a hard-to-fathom 41.2 3-pointers per game, and what better way to prep for such a long-range barrage than to tackle the challenge of the Houston Rockets the night before? The Pacers won the battle but lost the war at Houston, harassing the Rockets into a 14-for-46 night from beyond the arc in a 111-102 defeat. Familiarity with 3-point shooting might help the Pacers, but playing the second night of a back-to-back surely won’t. The Bucks beat the hosts into town, having had Friday off after a 124-115 win over Chicago on Thursday. The game can be billed as the Revenge of Malcolm Brogdon I, the former Buck, if he can shake a sore back that limited him to nine minutes Friday, facing his old mates for the first time since using his restricted free agent status to force a sign-and-trade to Indiana in July. There’s no indication the 2017 Rookie of the Year is angry with the Bucks, but it’s quite possible the reverse isn’t true. Surely, the title-contending Bucks weren’t expecting to lose a guy they developed from a second-round pick into an $85 million asset. The Bucks have won six of seven, the Pacers seven of nine.
Win: Milwaukee Bucks
Line: Milwaukee Bucks -7.5
Total Points: Under 222.5
KNICKS VS HORNETS
Venue: Madison Square Garden | Start: 11:30am AEDT
The New York Knicks will get a rare chance at back-to-back victories when they play host to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday. The Knicks are coming off a 106-103 victory Thursday at home against the Dallas Mavericks. New York is now 2-3 at Madison Square Garden, although it has not won consecutive games all season. Marcus Morris scored a team-high 20 points for the Knicks in a game that included his tie-breaking 3-pointer with 13 seconds remaining and a deflection of a Mavericks inbounds pass in the final second. The Knicks’ victory at home came after they were crushed by the Cleveland Cavaliers in their own building last weekend and the front office held a press conference to admonish the level of play. The Hornets are visiting the big city but won’t get much time for sightseeing after arriving in Manhattan late Friday following their 109-106 buzzer-beating victory at home against the Detroit Pistons on Friday. Terry Rozier and Malik Monk each scored 19 points in the victory, with Monk hitting a 26-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer for the victory. Devonte’ Graham scored 18 points with 10 rebounds. The Hornets entered Friday on a four-game losing streak that followed a three-game winning streak.
Win: New York Knicks
Line: New York Knicks -4.5
Total Points: Under 212.5
TIMBERWOLVES VS ROCKETS
Venue: Target Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves are both playing the second game of a back-to-back Saturday night in the Twin Cities, but only one is coming off a victory — the Rockets. James Harden scored 44 points to power Houston’s win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, the team’s season-best sixth consecutive victory. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves gave up 44 to Bradley Beal en route to their loss to the Washington Wizards. The Wolves’ two-game winning streak was snapped. Harden shot 50 percent from the floor and 12 of 14 from the free throw line, helping the Rockets fend off the pesky Pacers in Houston. The Rockets (9-3) used a 14-0 run in the fourth quarter to seal it. The Rockets are 3-0 on the road during their winning streak. The Timberwolves (7-5) played without leading scorer Andrew Wiggins in their loss Friday night, and coach Ryan Saunders said he didn’t know if Wiggins would play against the Rockets. Jeff Teague stepped into the starting lineup and delivered 13 points and 11 assists. Karl-Anthony Towns scored a team-high 36 points on his 24th birthday, but the Wolves turned the ball over 20 times, leading to 27 points for the Wizards. The Rockets will be without Clint Capela (concussion).
Win: Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Minnesota Timberwolves -2.5
Total Points: Under 231.5
HEAT VS PELICANS
Venue: American Airlines Arena | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The New Orleans Pelicans are coming off an improbable victory, given the amount of points they had on their bench with injuries. But the Pels had better get some of those points back on the floor if they have any hope of defeating the red-hot Miami Heat on Saturday night in South Florida. The Pelicans (3-8) used their 8th different starting lineup to defeat the visiting Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, as leading scorer Brandon Ingram joined Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Jahlil Okafor on the bench with injuries. All are day-to-day, save for Ball. The Heat, meanwhile, continue their fairytale start to the season. Miami (8-3) has won consecutive games and three of its past four. The Heat, who have played four of their past five on the road, are happy to be back home where they are unbeaten (4-0). They’re coming off a 108-97 victory at Cleveland. The trio of Jimmy Butler, Kendrick Nunn and Goran Dragic provide the scoring (51-plus points per game), Bam Adebayo (team-high 10.5 rpg) has been a beast on the boards, and the Heat play stingy team defense, allowing just 104.9 points per game, 6th best in the NBA. Nunn went for 23 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals against the Cavs.
Win: Miami Heat
Line: Miami Heat -7.5
Total Points: Under 228.5
SPURS VS TRAIL BLAZERS
Venue: AT&T Center | Start: 12:30pm AEDT
The Portland Trail Blazers will open a six-game road trip when they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night. The swing also includes stops in Houston, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Chicago for the Trail Blazers, who are hopeful that some time on the road can break the team out of its early-season malaise. Portland has lost two in a row and six of its last seven. The game also marks an odd one-game homestand for San Antonio in between six games on the road. The Spurs will play on short rest after losing 111-109 to the Orlando Magic on Friday night. San Antonio squandered a nine-point halftime lead to lose its fourth game in a row. This is the second meeting of the season between the teams, who also met in San Antonio on Oct. 28. The Spurs won that game 113-110, thanks largely to a dominant third quarter in which they outscored the Trail Blazers 37-20. DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with 27 points in that matchup, and Damian Lillard led Portland with 28.
Win: San Antonio Spurs
Line: San Antonio Spurs -1.5
Total Points: Under 225.5
MAVERICKS VS RAPTORS
Venue: American Airlines Center | Start: 12:30pm AEDT
The Toronto Raptors have won four of five and seven of nine as they prepare to visit the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night. Dallas is sliding in the opposite direction with back-to-back losses for the first time this season, and now it will try to avoid a season-worst three-game skid. The Raptors are hot despite several key injuries to players such as Kyle Lowry (left thumb) and Serge Ibaka (right ankle). However, Pascal Siakam has emerged as a bona-fide star for the Raptors and has helped lead the team through its early-season adversity. Siakam is averaging 27.2 points and 9.2 rebounds in his first 11 starts. He is shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from long range. Dallas is coming off an embarrassing 106-103 loss on the road to the reeling New York Knicks. The Mavericks will return to begin a four-game homestand, which they are focused on starting on the right note. Just as Siakam is the Raptors’ star, Luka Doncic has emerged as a must-watch player for Dallas. He is averaging 28.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 9.3 assists on the season. Dallas is 2-3 at home. Toronto is 4-3 on the road.
Win: Dallas Mavericks
Line: Toronto Raptors +4.5
Total Points: Under 217.5
CLIPPERS VS HAWKS
Venue: Staples Center | Start: 2:30pm AEDT
Kawhi Leonard made his Los Angeles Clippers debut on Oct. 22, and Paul George made his Thursday. Now the long-awaited debut of the two superstars playing together is scheduled for Saturday at home against the Atlanta Hawks. George scored 33 points in his first game, but the Clippers fell 132-127 to the New Orleans Pelicans. Leonard did not play as part of his load-management program. Now comes the tricky part: finding enough scoring opportunities for both George and Leonard (26.8 points per game). The Clippers have lost consecutive games but return home where they are 6-1. The Hawks will close out a five-game road trip with back-to-back games in Los Angeles, starting with the Clippers and getting the Lakers on Sunday. Atlanta is 1-2 on the trip so far and will enter off a 128-112 defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday. The Hawks were without guards Kevin Huerter (shoulder), Evan Turner (Achilles), Vince Carter (personal reasons), and forward John Collins (suspension). Jabari Parker led the Hawks with 24 points and Trae Young scored 21 points with 13 assists one game after he scored 42 points with 11 assists in a victory at Denver. The Hawks have lost four of their last five games and seven of nine.
Win: Los Angeles Clippers
Line: Los Angeles Clippers -9.5
Total Points: Under 220.5