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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

PISTONS VS MAGIC

Venue: Little Caesars Arena | Start: 11:00am AEDT

The visiting Orlando Magic are expected to be short-handed up front while the Detroit Pistons return to full strength when the clubs meet Monday night. The Magic made a valiant effort at a first road win of the season Saturday in Indiana, but a late rally came up just short in a 111-106 defeat. That made the day a complete downer for the Magic, who learned before the game that Nikola Vucevic would be lost for at least a week with an ankle injury, joining Aaron Gordon (ankle) on the sidelines. The Pistons also lost Saturday, but came away from a 104-90 defeat at Milwaukee feeling good about one thing — Blake Griffin had been given the night off, helping assure he’d be rested and ready to go for Orlando’s visit on Monday. The Magic (0-6) are one of two teams still without a road win, joining Oklahoma City (0-6) in that distinction. They haven’t won at Detroit in either of the last two seasons, including twice last year when they were unable to deal with either Griffin (total of 50 points) or Andre Drummond (total of 32 points and 40 rebounds). Now the Magic will try it without their best big man, Vucevic, although Jonathan Isaac took up the slack admirably at Indiana, going for a season-best 25 points.

Win: Detroit Pistons
Line: Detroit Pistons -4.5
Total Points: Under 207.5

PACERS VS GRIZZLIES

Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse | Start: 11:00am AEDT

Ja Morant makes his first NBA visit to the state of Indiana on Monday night when he and the Memphis Grizzlies seek to snap a three-game losing skid against a Pacers club that’s rolling in the other direction. Morant has saved most of his best play this season for his new fans in Memphis. He’s scored 16 or fewer points in four of the Grizzlies’ five road games, but did have 23 in his most recent, a two-point win at Charlotte that completed a two-game road sweep. Such has been the trend for both teams this season. The Grizzlies have five streaks already this season, including their current three-gamer, which is the fourth time they’ve lost two or more in a row. The Pacers, meanwhile, have won two or more in a row three times, including their current run of two over Brooklyn
and Orlando. While Morant was pouring in 26 points in a near-miss at home against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night, rival point guard Aaron Holiday was saving a narrow home win for the Pacers over the Magic with a late 3-pointer. Like his team, Holiday
is on a nice run, having scored in double figures in six straight.

Win: Indiana Pacers
Line: Memphis Grizzlies +9.5
Total Points: Under 217.5

CAVALIERS VS NETS

Venue: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse | Start: 11:00am AEDT

The Brooklyn Nets are experiencing a turnaround and they’ll look to continue that with Monday night’s game at Cleveland. The Nets have pulled themselves up to .500 at 8-8 by winning four of their last five games. They’ll have to show that they can regenerate they energy after winning an intra-city battle with the New York Knicks by two points Sunday night. That will be a challenge because the Nets go to Cleveland for the middle game of three games across a four-night period. The key for the Nets has been contributions from Spencer Dinwiddie, who has taken advantage of an expanded role with guard Kyrie Irving out with an injury. The Cavaliers snapped a six-game losing streak by winning Saturday night against the Portland Trail Blazers a night after a 42-point loss at Dallas. So the range of results is a sign of the Cavaliers’ inconsistency. The Cavaliers have played a couple of recent games without Kevin Love, who’s dealing with a sore back. Larry Nance’s first double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds was part of the tonic in the Portland game. Brooklyn’s visit is the second game of Cleveland’s six-game homestand, with the final five against Eastern Conference teams.

Win: Cleveland Cavaliers
Line: Cleveland Cavaliers -1.5
Total Points: Under 217.5

HEAT VS HORNETS

Venue: American Airlines Arena | Start: 11:30am AEDT

The Charlotte Hornets will try to snap a four-game slide by visiting the Miami Heat for Monday night’s game. Charlotte’s last two victories came courtesy of final-second 3-point baskets more than a week ago. The Hornets experienced the other side of those dramatics when Chicago’s Zach LaVine bagged a 3-ball to beat them 116-115 on Saturday night. The Hornets have seen a recent up ticket in offensive production from guard Terry Rozier, who has led the team in scoring in four of the last seven games. The Heat are 6-0 at home this season, winning by at least nine points in each of those games. Miami hasn’t trailed in the second half of a home game since the season opener against Memphis. Overall, Miami’s 14.5-point average winning margin is the second-highest mark in the NBA. The Heat had a five-game winning streak end Saturday night with a 113-86 loss at Philadelphia. Miami is relying on balanced scoring, with forward Jimmy Butler’s 18.8 points per game the top mark on the team. Rookie guard Kendrick Nunn hit a rare glitch in the Philadelphia game when he managed only six points. This is the first of four meetings between the Hornets and Heat after they split last season’s four games. Miami has won 16 of its last 19 home meetings with the Hornets.

Win: Miami Heat
Line: Miami Heat -10.5
Total Points: Under 215.5

RAPTORS VS 76ERS

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

Two teams with winning streaks meet Monday night at Toronto for their first clash since last spring’s playoff series. Philadelphia is riding a four-game string after completing a perfect three-game homestand. Josh Richardson’s 32 points were enough to spark a 27-point romp past the Miami Heat on Saturday. It marked just the second time this season that Richardson has been the team’s leading scorer. Since winning their first three road games, the 76ers are 1-5 in road games. In the four-game win streak, the 76ers haven’t allowed more than 104 points. The Raptors hold a three-game winning streak, though they’ve yet to win four in a row in two previous attempts. Opponents haven’t figured out how to slow down Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, who dumped in 34 points against Atlanta on Saturday night. Still, there has been a different leading scorer for the Raptors in each of the past four games. The three-point victory against Atlanta marked the closest result of the season for Toronto, though it didn’t play an overtime game in the season opener. Despite indications that he might be ready to return to action this week, Toronto forward Serge Ibaka (ankle injury) might not be ready for this game.

Win: Philadelphia 76ers
Line: Philadelphia 76ers -1.5
Total Points: Under 214.5

HAWKS VS TIMBERWOLVES

Venue: State Farm Arena | Start: 11:30am AEDT

A pair of teams keen on starting a sustained run of success will meet Monday when the Minnesota Timberwolves hit the road to face the Atlanta Hawks. The Timberwolves have lost four of their past five games, but it’s even worse for the Hawks, who will bring a six-game losing streak into the matchup. The Hawks have not won at home since Nov. 5 against the San Antonio Spurs. Trae Young is doing his part for the Hawks with 25.9 points and 8.7 assists per game, including his second career triple-double with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a 119-116 defeat to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. A promising sight for the Hawks was their 52.2 shooting percentage against Toronto. The Timberwolves had a promising start with a 7-4 record behind the duo of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. But the struggles have mounted of late as they are back to .500. Minnesota did win at Utah last week, but then lost to the Jazz and the Phoenix Suns at home. Towns scored 31 points with 17 rebounds in the defeat to the Suns on Saturday. A trio of key defenders were missing Saturday as Minnesota played without Robert Covington (personal), Josh Okogie (knee) and Treveon Graham (arm). Jake Layman (toe) and Shabazz Napier (hamstring) also were out.

Win: Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Minnesota Timberwolves -3.5
Total Points: Under 235.5

CELTICS VS KINGS

Venue: TD Garden | Start: 11:30am AEDT

The Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics will meet for the second time in eight days when they tip off Monday night in Boston. The first game took place in Sacramento, where the Kings earned a 100-99 win despite entering the fourth quarter with a deficit. Buddy Hield finished with 35 points in the win, and three others scored in double digits including Harrison Barnes (13), Nemanja Bjelica (12) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (12). Boston lost despite having six players score in double digits, led by Jaylen Brown with 18 points on 7-for-16 shooting. Other top scorers included Kemba Walker (15), Jayson Tatum (14) and Daniel Theis (14). Walker is listed as doubtful against the Kings after a scary collision with a teammate forced him to be taken off the court on a stretcher on Friday night. All tests have been encouraging, coach Brad Stevens said, but Walker likely will need time to recover from a sprained neck. Boston has dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season and will look to avoid its first three-game losing streak of the 2019-20 campaign. Sacramento has won two of its past three games but is coming off a 116-97 loss against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.

Win: Boston Celtics
Line: Sacramento Kings +6.5
Total Points: Over 215.5

BULLS VS TRAIL BLAZERS

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

The Portland Trail Blazers will try to end a four-game losing streak when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. It is the conclusion of a six-game road trip for the Trail Blazers, who have been away from home since Nov. 16. Portland already has been without big men Jusuf Nurkic (broken leg) and Zach Collins (dislocated shoulder) because of injuries, and now it could be without Hassan Whiteside, who sat out Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers with a hip injury. But the Trail Blazers are loaded in the backcourt with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, and now veteran scorer Carmelo Anthony has joined the fray. The 35-year-old Anthony will look to make his fourth appearance of the season when he visits Chicago. The Bulls are coming off a dramatic win over the Charlotte Hornets that included a five-point comeback in the final seconds. Zach LaVine capped the rally with a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds remaining. Chicago has yet to win back-to-back games this season but finally could do so as it returns home. Otto Porter Jr. (foot sprain) and Luke Kornet (sinus surgery) are out of the lineup, and Chandler Hutchison is day-to-day because of a shin injury.

Win: Portland Trail Blazers
Line: Chicago Bulls -1.5
Total Points: Under 227.5

BUCKS VS JAZZ

Venue: Fiserv Forum | Start: 12:00pm AEDT

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks will put their seven-game winning streak on the line when they welcome the Utah Jazz to the Midwest on Monday night. Antetokounmpo has delivered a double-double in all 16 games this season, the most recent coming in a 104-90 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday when he had 28 points with 10 rebounds in just 27 minutes of action. The reigning NBA MVP has averaged 29.9 points and 13.9 rebounds this season. Saturday was the Bucks’ second lowest point total in a victory this season and baskets won’t come easy against a Jazz team that was second in the NBA, heading into Sunday’s play, with 102.4 points allowed per game. The Jazz will enter on a three-game winning streak after holding off the New Orleans Pelicans 128-120 at home Saturday. The Jazz have also won seven of their last nine, a stretch that includes a 103-100 victory over the Bucks when Bojan Bogdanovic scored 33 points. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell scored a season-best 37 points against the Pelicans, while center Rudy Gobert watched from the bench with a sore ankle. Gobert is day-to-day. The Jazz will now play their next five games on the road, with the trip ending Dec. 2 at Philadelphia.

Win: Milwaukee Bucks
Line: Utah Jazz +5.5
Total Points: Under 223.5

SPURS VS LAKERS

Venue: AT&T Center | Start: 12:30pm AEDT

The San Antonio Spurs will return home having vanquished an eight-game losing streak, but gaining momentum will be difficult in a matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday. The Spurs picked up their first victory since Nov. 7 when they went on the road to defeat the New York Knicks 111-104 on Saturday. It was the longest losing streak with the Spurs for head coach Gregg Popovich. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points and DeMar DeRozan added 21, but it was a renewed commitment to defense that made a difference after the Spurs entered having given up 116.1 points per game. If San Antonio wants to study a defense, they won’t have to look much further than the Lakers, who are giving up just 103.1 points per game. The Lakers will enter on a seven-game winning streak having just eclipsed the Memphis Grizzlies 109-108 on Saturday. LeBron James scored 30 points but did not take a free-throw attempt after taking 27 shots from the field. James’ career-best streak of double-digit assists ended at seven. Anthony Davis scored 22 points Saturday as the new James-Davis duo has averaged over 50 points and 16 rebounds per game. Los Angeles already has won at San Antonio this season, earning a 103-96 victory on Nov. 3.

Win: LA Lakers
Line: LA Lakers -5.5
Total Points: Under 233.5

WARRIORS VS THUNDER

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

The Oklahoma City Thunder finally get a chance to pick on someone their own size — or smaller — when they visit the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. Two of the league’s losingest teams, the Thunder (5-10) managed a rare win when they outshot the Warriors (3-14) big-time from behind the 3-point arc in a 114-108 home triumph earlier this month. The Thunder have since faced a Who’s Who of this year’s title contenders, with just one win to show for a stretch of Milwaukee, Indiana, Philadelphia and three straight against the Los Angeles Clippers (one) and Lakers (two). Such is the sad state of Golden State basketball that there’s disappointment over second-round pick Alen Smailagic, who has yet to suit up due to a sprained ankle, having his NBA debut pushed back until at least Wednesday. The Warriors are expected to suit up just eight players for a third straight game. One of the eight who won’t be playing will be D’Angelo Russell, who kept the visitors competitive in the narrow loss at Oklahoma City with 30 points. The
Thunder have lost three in a row and all six of their road games so far. The Warriors have dropped nine of their last 10 overall and six of their seven at home.

Win: Oklahoma City Thunder
Line: Golden State Warriors +5.5
Total Points: Under 215.5