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Saturday, November 23, 2019
PISTONS VS HAWKS
Venue: Little Caesars Arena | Start: 11:00am AEDT
Trae Young vs. Derrick Rose was worth the price of admission when the Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons tipped off Day 2 of the NBA season last month. They meet in an encore performance Friday night in Detroit, with their continued high scoring unable to overshadow losing seasons that are getting worse by the day. Young had 38 points when the Hawks prevailed 117-100 in their opener at Detroit, and he continues to rank among the league leaders in scoring at 26.8 per game even as Atlanta has since lost 10 of 13. Rose, meanwhile, has settled into an 18.3 per-night scoring clip after going for 27 in the opening loss. But Detroit has lost each of the three games in which he’s scored 20 or more. The Hawks have lost four in a row and the Pistons five straight entering the rematch that will have a different look in the frontcourt, with Hawks forward John Collins (18 points, 10 rebounds on Opening Night) currently serving a suspension, while Pistons forward Blake Griffin (injured on Opening Night) has returned with three straight double-digit scoring efforts. The Hawks are 2-7 since losing Collins, the Pistons 0-3 since getting back Griffin.
Win: Detroit Pistons
Line: Atlanta Hawks +6.5
Total Points: Under 225.5
WIZARDS VS HORNETS
Venue: Capital One Arena | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Washington Wizards rarely have trouble scoring, so the Charlotte Hornets are going to have to keep up when the teams clash for the first time this season Friday night in Washington. The Wizards are coming off Wednesday night’s 138-132 victory against San Antonio, marking the second time in three games they’ve tallied more than 135 points. Along with Bradley Beal reaching the 30-point mark for the seventh time this season (33 points), the Wizards received 21 points apiece from reserves Ish Smith and Davis Bertans. Charlotte looks to get its offense back on track after a 101-91 loss Wednesday night at Brooklyn, where it was held to its second-lowest point total of the season. Part of it was attributed to season-low 37.5-percent shooting from the field. Hornets guard Terry Rozier, who began the season with some struggles offensively, has led the team in scoring in three of the last five games. Rozier has moved into more of a scoring role, which is something that was expected of him. That has left backcourt mate Devonte Graham the primary facilitator, regularly leading the team in assists and eclipsing the 100-assist mark through 15 games. Rozier has topped Charlotte in assists just once this month. This wraps up a four-game road trip for the Hornets, who try to improve to 2-2 in these games.
Win: Washington Wizards
Line: Charlotte Hornets +5.5
Total Points: Under 233.5
NETS VS KINGS
Venue: Barclays Center | Start: 11:30am AEDT
Suddenly the Sacramento Kings appear to have things figured out after a rough start, winning six of their last eight, including consecutive victories over the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns. But those two victories were at home, and Friday’s game at Brooklyn marks the start of a four-game East Coast trip that also heads to Brooklyn, Washington and Boston for a rematch with the Celtics. Bogdan Bogdanovic is coming off a career-best 31-point game, with his seven 3-pointers also his best ever. Bogdanovic not only went 11-for-14 from the field, he was 7 of 9 from long distance. The career-bests were not limited to Bogdanovic as Cory Joseph added 14 assists. Sacramento’s Trevor Ariza has missed two of the last three games with right groin soreness. The Nets will enter off a 101-91 victory against the Charlotte Hornets, with center Jarrett Allen leading the team in both points (22) and rebounds (17) for the first time. He is probable for Friday’s game, though with a right ankle sprain. Nets guard Kyrie Irving has missed the past three games with a shoulder injury and is not expected to play Friday either. With Irving out, Spencer Dinwiddie has started the last three games for Brooklyn, averaging 24.0 points in those contests, well above his season average of 18.6.
Win: Brooklyn Nets
Line: Sacramento Kings +3.5
Total Points: Over 215.5
76ERS VS SPURS
Venue: Wells Fargo Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The Philadelphia 76ers will roll into a home matchup against the struggling San Antonio Spurs on Friday with a new weapon at their disposal: Ben Simmons, 3-point shooter. It is merely in jest, but Simmons did hit the first 3-pointer of his career in a victory Wednesday over the New York Knicks after 18 attempts in 172 games. The shot brought a light-hearted moment to the Sixers’ second-consecutive victory when Joel Embiid scored 23 points with 12 rebounds and got into yet another altercation, this one with New York’s Marcus Morris. The ruckus resulted in double technical fouls and a flagrant foul on Morris. The Spurs enter on a seven-game losing streak and defeats in nine of their last 10 games. It is the longest losing streak in head coach Gregg Popovich’s 24-year tenure in San Antonio. Spurs guard Derrick White missed the team’s most recent defeat Wednesday with a sore left foot. That game was a 138-132 defeat to the Washington Wizards, the second time San Antonio has given up at least 135 points during the losing streak. DeMar DeRozan leads the Spurs with 21.7 points per game and while San Antonio has scored 113.5 per contest, it is giving up 116.2 per game.
Win: Philadelphia 76ers
Line: Philadelphia 76ers -7.5
Total Points: Under 224.5
BULLS VS HEAT
Venue: United Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
Jimmy Butler will return to his first NBA team when the Miami Heat visit the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. Butler emerged as an unlikely star in Chicago, which selected him No. 30 overall out of Marquette in 2011. He then bounced from Minnesota to Philadelphia before signing with Miami, where he is averaging 18.7 points per game to lead the Heat. Butler has plenty of support on a Miami team that has seven — yes, seven — players averaging in double-digit scoring. The Heat have the best shooting percentage (48.2) in the league and are riding a four-game winning streak. Chicago is coming off a 20-point win over the Detroit Pistons and is hoping to improve upon its 3-5 record at home. Unlike the Heat, the Bulls have struggled on offense for much of the season, but a 24-point performance by Lauri Markkanen on Wednesday against Detroit offers a glimmer of hope that he could be breaking out of a long slump. Otto Porter Jr. (left foot sprain) remains out for Chicago. This is the first meeting between the teams since Jan. 30, when the Bulls pulled away for a 105-89 victory.
Win: Miami Heat
Line: Miami Heat -4.5
Total Points: Under 233.5
THUNDER VS LAKERS
Venue: Chesapeake Energy Arena | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
In a rematch of an unexpected thriller in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the Lakers and Thunder will do it all over again Friday at Oklahoma City. The Lakers put on a show in the first meeting, with Anthony Davis scoring 34 points and LeBron James recording a triple-double, but the Thunder cut the deficit to two points in the final two minutes only to fall short. The Lakers enter on a five-game winning streak. They have won 12 of 13 and are an NBA-best 12-2. It will be first game of a back-to-back for Los Angeles, which comes back to play at Memphis on Saturday. James is on a run of six consecutive games with double digits in assists. Dennis Schroder scored a season-high 31 against the Lakers on Tuesday and Danilo Gallinari added 25, but the Thunder still ended up losing consecutive games at Los Angeles after falling to the Clippers on Monday. Oklahoma City has also lost four of its last five games. Friday’s home game will be nice, but the Thunder return to California on Monday for a game against the Golden State Warriors. The Thunder are a solid 5-3 at home but haven’t won on the road in six tries.
Win: Los Angeles Clippers
Line: Houston Rockets +4.5
Total Points: Under 206.5
MAVERICKS VS CAVALIERS
Venue: American Airlines Center | Start: 12:30pm AEDT
Luka Doncic’s next chance to impress will come Friday when the Dallas Mavericks take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at home. Dallas’ second-year combo forward/guard is coming off a 35-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist performance against the Golden State Warriors in just 20 minutes of action. He had 33 points by halftime. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 20 points, while the Doncic-Hardaway duo combined for 10 of the Mavericks’ team-record tying 22 3-pointers. Dallas is looking to win its fourth-consecutive home game after losing consecutive games on the road. Friday’s game is a rematch of the Mavericks’ 131-111 victory at Cleveland on Nov. 3 when Doncic had yet another triple-double, one of seven he has on the season. The Cavaliers are in the midst of a five-game losing streak, losing twice to the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat in that stretch. Cleveland’s Kevin Love is coming off a 25-point, 13-rebound performance, his eighth double-double of the season. Love has scored a team-best 18.7 points with 12.2 rebounds per game this season, with Collin Sexton scoring 18.0 and Tristan Thompson grabbing 10.1 rebounds. Perimeter defense was an issue for the Cavs on Wednesday at Miami as the Heat’s Duncan Robinson hit seven 3-pointers in the second quarter alone. Miami made 19 3s in the game.
Win: Dallas Mavericks
Line: Cleveland Cavaliers +10.5
Total Points: Over 220.5
NUGGETS VS CELTICS
Venue: Pepsi Center | Start: 1:00pm AEDT
The Denver Nuggets are riding high after a defining 10-point victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, and they hope to win their ninth game in 10 games when they host the Boston Celtics on Friday night. Defense has become the staple for the Nuggets (10-3), who are now 7-0 when holding their opponent under 100 points. Denver is allowing 102.3 points per game, third-best in the NBA. Nikola Jokic went for 27 points and 12 rebounds against the Rockets. Denver’s only loss in November came against the Atlanta Hawks in Denver on Nov. 12. The Celtics took the Los Angeles Clippers to the brink Wednesday night, dropping a hard-fought 107-104 contest in overtime. The Celtics drew the first game that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George played in together this season. Jayson Tatum went for 30 points in the loss. The Celtics (11-3) are 2-2 on their West Coast road trip, with their stop in Denver their last. They’re 6-3 on the road overall. Kemba Walker leads the Celts in scoring at 22.6 points per game, though he shot just 4-for-17 against the Clippers. Jamal Murray leads the Nuggets with 18.5 points per game. Both teams are first in their respective divisions.
Win: Denver Nuggets
Line: Boston Celtics +4.5
Total Points: Under 206.5
JAZZ VS WARRIORS
Venue: Vivint Smart Home Arena | Start: 1:00pm AEDT
The Golden State Warriors expect Draymond Green back in action after a one-game rest when they visit the Utah Jazz on Friday night. The NBA’s losingest club also projects injured Kevon Looney and Alen Smailagic could join the team when they see their next home-court action following Friday’s completion of a four-game trip. Alas, the abundance of bad news has trumped any snippets of good news for the five-time Western Conference champs this season, and there was plenty of the former in one of the worst defeats in franchise history, a 142-94 embarrassment at Dallas on Wednesday. The reward: A fourth game in six days for a team, even with Green, currently suiting up just nine players, and now up against a Utah club that handled the Warriors rather easily in a 122-108 win in San Francisco last week. Rudy Gobert (25 points, 14 rebounds), Donovan Mitchell (23 points) and Mike Conley (22 points) all had their way against the Warriors that night. Oh, two more bits of bad news for the Warriors: The Jazz improved by 18 points from a 112-102 loss to a 103-95 win in a home-and-home sequence with Minnesota earlier this week, and they won’t have to deal with injured D’Angelo Russell (33 points in the earlier meeting) in the rematch with Golden State.
Win: Utah Jazz
Line: Golden State Warriors +15.5
Total Points: Over 219.5
CLIPPERS VS ROCKETS
Venue: Staples Center | Start: 2:30pm AEDT
Friday night’s game between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers might be the biggest star-studded, marquee matchup of this young NBA season: James Harden-Russell Westbrook vs. Kawhi Leonard-Paul George. It’s a clash of the titans in L.A. between two teams that figure to be duking it out to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. The Clippers (10-5) are coming off a hard-fought three-point victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday in Leonard’s and George’s long-awaited first game together. The pair shot poorly, making a combined 15 of 38 from the floor in combining for 42 points. Lou Williams (27 points) and Patrick Beverley (14 points, 16 boards, 7 assists) figured prominently in the win. The Clips are 9-1 at home. The Rockets (11-4) had their eight-game winning streak snapped Wednesday night in a 105-95 loss at Denver. Harden did his part, scoring 27 on 8 of 16 shooting, including 4 of 8 from the 3-point line. He turned the ball over eight times, however. Clint Capela scored 12 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in the loss. The game features George vs. Westbrook for the first time after a two-year stint as teammates in Oklahoma City. The Rockets defeated the Clips, 102-93, on Nov. 13 in Houston.
Win: Los Angeles Lakers
Line: Oklahoma City Thunder +4.5
Total Points: Under 211.5