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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

KNICKS VS CAVALIERS

Venue: Madison Square Garden | Start: 11:00am AEDT

The Cleveland Cavaliers will start a three-game road trip when they visit the New York Knicks on Monday night. Cleveland will play on short rest after losing 114-95 to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday afternoon. It marked the Cavaliers’ third loss in a row. Meanwhile, New York is looking slightly better over the past week and will look to continue its improvement as it wraps up a three-game homestand. The Knicks lost seven of their first eight games but have victories in two of their past five. Marcus Morris leads New York in scoring with 18.2 points per game. Rookie RJ Barrett also has proved to be a quick learner in the NBA. The 19-year-old is averaging 15.8 points per game, and he is coming off a strong performance against the Charlotte Hornets in which he scored 22 points on 8-for-16 shooting. This will be the second meeting of the season between the teams. Cleveland won the first matchup, 108-87, on Nov. 10. Collin Sexton scored 31 points on 10-for-16 shooting for the Cavaliers in the victory, and Kevin Love and Jordan Clarkson tallied 17 points apiece. Julius Randle registered a double-double for New York with 20 points and 16 rebounds.

Win: New York Knicks
Line: Cleveland Cavaliers -2.5
Total Points: Over 208.5

RAPTORS VS HORNETS

Venue: Scotiabank Arena | Start: 11:30am AEDT

The Charlotte Hornets have established a bit of a trend, winning their past two games with 3-point baskets in the final seconds. Keeping that going might be more difficult in Monday night’s road game against the Toronto Raptors. It was Malik Monk with Friday’s 3 at the buzzer to break a tie with the Detroit Pistons. The next night, it was Devonte Graham’s 3 with 2.8 seconds left to overtake the New York Knicks. Charlotte overcame double-figure, second-half deficits to win both of those games after a four-game losing streak. Graham, a second-year guard, scored 29 points Saturday, leading the Hornets in scoring for a team-high fourth time this season. The visit to Toronto marks the second stop on a four-game road swing. The Raptors are coming off Saturday’s 110-102 loss at Dallas, where Norman Powell led Toronto with 26 points. That marked the first time this season he held the team’s top point total. The Raptors have lost three of the four games in which they’ve failed to score more than 105 points. Toronto is home after going 3-2 on a five-game road stretch. Raptors forward Pascal Siakam is 10th in NBA scoring with 26.2 points per game.

Win: Toronto Raptors
Line: Charlotte Hornets +9.5
Total Points: Over 215.5

NETS VS PACERS

Venue: Barclays Center | Start: 11:30am AEDT

All eyes will be on guard Kyrie Irving when the Brooklyn Nets host the Indiana Pacers on Monday night. Irving is listed as questionable to play because of a right shoulder impingement, which forced him to miss the Nets’ most recent game Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls. The Nets won anyway, 117-111, as Spencer Dinwiddie stepped up to score a team-high 24 points and Joe Harris added 22. No one can deny Irving’s effectiveness on the court, however, and Brooklyn is hoping to have him back as it already deals with the injury absence of Caris LeVert (thumb). Meanwhile, Indiana also faces a question mark as Malcolm Brogdon is listed as questionable against the Nets because of back injury. Fellow Pacers Jeremy Lamb (ankle) and T.J. McConnell (groin) also are listed as questionable. Indiana has lost two games in a row, including a 102-83 setback against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. This will be the second meeting of the season between the Nets and Pacers. The first game, which also took place in Brooklyn, ended with the Pacers winning, 118-108. Domantas Sabonis was the star that night as he scored a team-high 29 points on 11-for-18 shooting. He also grabbed eight rebounds and dished four assists.

Win: Brooklyn Nets
Line: Brooklyn Nets -4.5
Total Points: OVer 215.5

BULLS VS BUCKS

Venue: United Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT

These are trying times for the Chicago Bulls, who have lost nine of 13 games to start the season and show no signs of breaking out of their funk anytime soon. Chicago’s latest loss came at home against the Brooklyn Nets, who did not have two of their top three scorers because of injuries. Now comes a formidable foe in the Milwaukee Bucks, who have won three games in a row and beat the Bulls 124-115 last Thursday in Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 38 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in that meeting, which would be incredible numbers for almost every player but seem normal when it comes to the “Greek Freak.” Antetokounmpo is averaging 30.1 points per game, which is the best mark of his career. The Bucks will be without injured guard Khris Middleton (thigh contusion), and the Bulls will be without forward Otto Porter Jr. (sprained foot). One bright spot for Chicago has been the improved play of second-year center Wendell Carter Jr., who has eight double-doubles in 13 games. He will battle in the paint against Bucks big man Brook Lopez, who is averaging 10.9 points.

Win: Milwaukee Bucks
Line: Milwaukee Bucks -7.5
Total Points: Under 229.5

ROCKETS VS TRAIL BLAZERS

Venue: Toyota Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT

The Houston Rockets are riding high entering their home game Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazers. They are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak, have the second best record in the Western Conference and have yet to lose a game in the conference. The Rockets’ average margin of victory during their streak is more than 10.5 points per game. Houston (10-3) comes off a 20-point victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. James Harden scored 49 points in the win, though he shot just 16-for-41 from the floor. Clint Capela missed the game recovering from a concussion and Russell Westbrook sat (rest). The Trail Blazers, conversely, have yet to get anywhere close to their playoff form from last season. Portland (5-8) snapped a two-game losing skid with a 121-116 win over San Antonio on Saturday night, but wins have been hard to come by. CJ McCollum scored a game-high 32 points and the Blazers rallied from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to secure the win. The win improved Portland’s road record to 4-4. Damian Lillard scored 21, and he leads the team in scoring for the season with 29.8 points per game. Newly signed Carmelo Anthony will not play against the Rockets.

Win: Houston Rockets
Line: Portland Trail Blazers +6.5
Total Points: Over 231.5

MAVERICKS VS SPURS

Venue: American Airlines Center | Start: 12:30pm AEDT

Wins have been hard to come by of late between the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs, who play their first game of the season in Dallas on Monday night. The teams have combined for two victories in their past 10 games, and both belong to the Mavericks (7-5). The Spurs (5-8) are in the midst of a five-game losing skid and the Mavs have lost three of their past five. However, the Mavs are at least coming off a win, an impressive 110-102 victory over Toronto. After giving up 60 first-half points to the Raptors, the Mavs clamped down in the second half and rode their star, Luka Doncic, to the win. Doncic finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds and made all seven free throws in the fourth quarter. He’s averaging 28.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game. The Spurs blew another fourth-quarter lead in their 121-116 home loss to Portland on Saturday night. The loss spoiled the coaching debut of Tim Duncan, who took over the reins in the third quarter after Gregg Popovich was ejected. The Spurs coughed up a 15-point fourth-quarter lead. The Spurs have lost their past two games by a combined seven points. The game is the second of the Mavericks’ four-game homestand.

Win: Dallas Mavericks
Line: Dallas Mavericks -4.5
Total Points: Under 227.5

JAZZ VS TIMBERWOLVES

Venue: Vivint Smart Home Arena | Start: 1:00pm AEDT

It’s safe to predict that the NBA’s early season run of 40-point games will continue over the next three days when the Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz meet in a home-and-home sequence that tips off Monday night in Salt Lake City. As play began Sunday, there had been 19 40-point explosions in the NBA this season, with a remarkable four of them having come against the Timberwolves. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, who had a pair of 46-point outings late last season, gets two cracks in the next 72 hours to add his name to a list that currently features D’Angelo Russell, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Bradley Beal. Increasing the chances that another 40-pointer could be in the offing is that Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins, who joined the club earlier this season against Golden State, is well rested and goes up against a Utah defense that, surprisingly, led the league in 40-point games allowed last season with 10. Derrick Rose, then of the Timberwolves, had one of them with a 50-pointer last October. Jazz fans are advised to have calculators handy this week, as the defensively challenged Timberwolves are followed into Salt Lake City by the two teams that have given up the most points in the NBA this season — Golden State and New Orleans.

Win: Utah Jazz
Line: Utah Jazz -10
Total Points: Over 215.5

SUNS VS CELTICS

Venue: Talking Stick Resort Arena | Start: 1:00pm AEDT

The Boston Celtics’ quest to regain their winning ways takes them down a dark desert highway Monday night when they visit the Phoenix Suns. Boston has split games to open its five-city Western swing, seeing its 10-game winning streak come to an end in a 100-99 loss at Sacramento on Sunday afternoon. If there was a positive to the loss, it was that coach Brad Stevens got 15 or more minutes from four different reserves, allowing his starters to remain fresh for the second night of a back-to-back against a rested Suns club that will be playing its sixth straight at home. The game pits former Celtics backup big men Daniel Theis and Aron Baynes in more prominent roles. Theis, who’d made just five starts in his first two seasons with the Celtics, recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds Sunday in his ninth start in his new role for Boston. His dunk with 52.9 seconds remaining gave the Celtics their last lead of the game. Baynes, meanwhile, has quickly made new fans in Phoenix after having been acquired in an off-season trade. After averaging just 5.6 points in 18 starts for the Celtics last season, the veteran New Zealander has gone for 20 or more four times already as Phoenix’s fulltime starter.

Win: Phoenix Suns
Line: Phoenix Suns -3.5
Total Points: Under 227.5

CLIPPERS VS THUNDER

Venue: Staples Center | Start: 2:30pm AEDT

Win: Los Angeles Clippers
Line: Los Angeles Clippers -8.5
Total Points: Under 229.5