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Friday, December 6, 2019
Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers
Venue: Capital One Arena | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Philadelphia 76ers get a chance to pad their offensive stats when they visit the defenseless Washington Wizards on Thursday night. The 76ers have won eight of nine, but have done so mostly on the strength of one of the league’s best defenses, allowing 104 or fewer points in eight of those nine games. The Wizards, meanwhile, gave up 97 in the first three quarters alone their last time out, which might not sound so bad until you consider that the opponent — Orlando — had averaged a total of 93 points in its previous two games. Washington’s Bradley Beal and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid got into a scoring duel when the clubs met in D.C. last January, with Embiid winning the battle, 35-34, but the 76ers losing the war, 123-106. Beal has been getting some help from new sidekick Isaiah Thomas in recent games, with the veteran having bombed in five 3-pointers and totaled 36 points in his last two outings. Tobias Harris has caught fire for the 76ers, having averaged 20.6 points on 51.6 percent shooting in his last 10 games. Harris had four 3-pointers and 29 points in his last trip to Washington with the Los Angeles Clippers last November.
Win: Philadelphia 76ers
Line: Philadelphia 76ers -7.5
Total Points: Under 234.5
Toronto Raptors v Houston Rockets
Venue: Scotiabank Arena | Start: 11:30am AEDT
An intriguing matchup and potential NBA Finals preview is coming to Toronto on Thursday night when the Houston Rockets visit the Raptors in the first of two games between the powers. However, both are coming off overtime losses. The host Raptors (15-5) sport a gaudy 9-1 home record, with that lone blemish coming Tuesday night against the visiting Miami Heat, who prevailed 121-110 in extra time despite the return of Toronto guard Kyle Lowry, who struggled mightily, shooting just 2-for-18 from the floor, including 0-for-11 from deep. Lowry finished with 12 points and 11 assists in his return from a fractured thumb. It still took a triple-double from Jimmy Butler (22/10/12) to offset Pascal Siakam’s double-double (15/12). The result also snapped Toronto’s seven-game winning streak. The Rockets (13-7) are still howling over the controversial call that led to them losing in double overtime, 135-133, to the lowly San Antonio Spurs. The Rockets squandered a 22-point lead but it was James Harden’s fourth-quarter dunk that was called no-basket that’ll live in infamy. He threw it down so hard, it bounced back up through the net, confusing the officials, who later said it should have counted. Harden ended up with 50, adding to his 39.5 points per game average.
Win: Toronto Raptors
Line: Houston Rockets +2.5
Total Points: Over 230.5
Denver Nuggets v New York Knicks
Venue: Madison Square Garden | Start: 11:30am AEDT
Nikola Jokic goes to the Mecca of basketball in search of his game when the Denver Nuggets take on the New York Knicks on Thursday night. Jokic came up small in the Nuggets’ biggest game of the season Tuesday, combining for as many turnovers and fouls (nine) as field goals and rebounds in a 105-96 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s struggled with his 3-point shot his last five games (0-for-10), his scoring in his last four games (9.0 average), and his overall shooting in his last two games (7-for-23). The Garden would seem to be a good place to get cured, as the Knicks have allowed 101 or more points in nine straight home games, losing seven of them, including the last four. Both teams get an opportunity to clear their heads after crushing defeats. The Nuggets took a blow to their ego in the downer against the Lakers in a matchup of the top two teams in the West. The Knicks’ blow was more physical. They were bulldozed 132-88 in Milwaukee by the Bucks in a game so uncompetitive, Giannis Antetokounmpo was lifted after having played just 22 minutes. He had 29 points in that short period of time.
Win: Denver Nuggets
Line: New York Knicks +7.5
Total Points: Under 232.5
New Orleans Pelicans v Phoenix Suns
Venue: Smoothie King Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The last time the New Orleans Pelicans tasted victory was Nov. 21 against the Phoenix Suns. Guess who’s coming to town Thursday night? The Pelicans (6-15) hope to end their six-game losing streak against the Suns, who are prime to be beaten, playing the tail end of a back-to-back on the road. The Suns (9-11) are coming off a 128-114 loss Wednesday night in Orlando to the Magic. Aaron Gordon dropped aseason-high 32 on the Suns, shooting 13 of 15 from the floor. The Magic shot 57.6 percent from the floor. Frank Kaminsky was the high man for the Suns for the first time this season, scoring 23 points. He averages just 9.9 per game on the season. The Pels are coming off a 118-97 home loss to the smoking hot Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. Brandon Ingram scored his standard 24 but Luka Doncic scored 33 points – including 15 in the third quarter – to hang another loss on the Pelicans. In their last meeting in Phoenix, the Pelicans got 28 from Ingram to beat the Suns, 124-121. Ingram scored 15 in the fourth quarter in that one, the Pels’ last victory.
Win: New Orleans Pelicans
Line: Phoenix Suns +3.5
Total Points: Under 233.5