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Sunday, December 8, 2019
MAVERICKS VS PELICANS
Venue: American Airlines Center | Start: 6:00am AEDT
The New Orleans Pelicans have lost seven in a row and are on the road against one of the hottest teams in the NBA, who have already defeated them twice. What’s not to like? The Pelicans (6-16) travel to Dallas on Saturday afternoon to take on the Mavericks (15-6), winners of four in a row. In fact, the Mavs have won nine of their past 10. The Mavs are coming off a 121-114 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, notable in that Luka Doncic was not the high point man for Dallas for the first time in 17 games. Dwight Powell led the charge for the Mavs, making all nine of his shots from the floor and scoring a season-high 24 points. Doncic had a rare off night, shooting just 8-for-22 from the floor, and 1-for-8 from 3-point range, en route to 22 points. But Doncic likes playing the Pelicans, having scored a combined 58 points in two previous meetings, the latter a 118-97 victory in New Orleans on Tuesday. Powell’s status against the Pels is uncertain after leaving the game against the Wolves with a wrist injury. The Pelicans’ latest loss was a 139-132 overtime loss at home to Phoenix, which turned 24 Pelicans turnovers into 29 points.
Win: Dallas Mavericks
Line: New Orleans Pelicans +9.5
Total Points: Under 233.5
KNICKS VS PACERS
Venue: Madison Square Garden | Start: 11:30am AEDT
The New York Knicks will begin a new era at home Friday against the Indiana Pacers after head coach David Fizdale was fired Friday. Fizdale’s dismissal came after a 4-18 start to the season. Assistant coach Mike Miller will take over on an interim basis to guide a team that is on an eight-game losing streak. The final blow for Fizdale came with a 129-92 home loss to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. Mitchell Robinson led the Knicks with 17 points Thursday, the first time he has led the team in scoring this season. No starter had more than 10 points. The Pacers will enter off a 108-101 road defeat Friday to the Detroit Pistons, just their second loss in their last nine games. T.J. Warren had 26 points for the Pacers while Domantas Sabonis had 13 rebounds. The Pacers were crushed in the rebounding battle as Detroit led 51-33 in that department with Andre Drummond pulling down 22 alone to go along with 25 points. The Pacers shot 59 percent in the third period to just 28 percent for the Pistons while outscoring Detroit 31-16 but could not maintain the momentum. The Pacers’ Myles Turner scored just four points after scoring a combined 41 in the first two meetings with the Pistons.
Win: Indiana Pacers
Line: Indiana Pacers -6.5
Total Points: Under 207.5
76ERS VS CAVALIERS
Venue: Wells Fargo Center | Start: 11:30am AEDT
Winners of eight of their last 10 games, the Philadelphia 76ers will still be trying to get back on track Saturday when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers at home. The Sixers will enter off a 119-113 defeat against the Washington Wizards on Thursday that came despite 26 points and 21 rebounds from Joel Embiid and 33 points from Tobias Harris. The biggest issue? Philadelphia committed 21 turnovers, with eight from Embiid alone. At least they are headed back to their own arena, where they are 10-0 this season and one of two Eastern Conference teams with double-digit home victories. Philadelphia guard Josh Richardson missed his fourth consecutive game Tuesday with a tight right hamstring. Philadelphia center Ian Mahinmi made his season debut after recovering from a right Achilles injury. The Cavaliers are struggling to the tune of 11 defeats in their last 12 games, including five consecutive. Their most recent loss came Friday when they were defeated 93-87 at home to the Orlando Magic. Collin Sexton scored 19 points and Larry Nance Jr. had 11 rebounds as the Cavaliers were outscored 20-7 from the free-throw line. Cavaliers first-year head coach John Beilein addressed a report that his players are upset with his coaching style saying players have told him they are on board with his concepts.
Win: Philadelphia 76ers
Line: Cleveland Cavaliers +10.5
Total Points: Under 215.5
ROCKETS VS SUNS
Venue: Toyota Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The Houston Rockets will return home awake and alert when they face the Phoenix Suns on Saturday. A surprising 135-133 double-overtime defeat at San Antonio on Tuesday created an inspired Rockets team that went to Toronto on Thursday that walked away with a 119-109 victory over the Raptors. With the Raptors intent on not letting James Harden beat them, Ben McLemore delivered a season-best 28 points, just the fourth time he has been over 20 points this season. Harden had 23 points on 7 of 11 shooting, while Russell Westbrook delivered a triple-double with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. The Suns will enter off a 139-132 overtime victory at New Orleans on Thursday when Devin Booker scored a season-high 44 points, the second time he has reached 40 points this season. Booker entered just 11 of 42 (26.2 percent) from 3-point range over his previous seven games and went 5 of 11 from distance Thursday. He has scored 25.0 points per game this season. Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 14 points with 15 rebounds against the Pelicans as Phoenix outrebounded New Orleans 51-40. Point guard Ricky Rubio had a season-best 15 assists, his most in a Suns uniform. Phoenix center Aron Baynes sat out Thursday’s game with a left calf strain.
Win: Houston Rockets
Line: Phoenix Suns +10.5
Total Points: Under 241.5
JAZZ VS GRIZZLIES
Venue: Vivint Smart Home Arena | Start: 2:00pm AEDT
Stuck in a three-game losing streak, that includes a rare defeat at home Wednesday against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Utah Jazz will play host to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. The losing streak is not only Utah’s longest of the season, the Jazz have lost five of their last six games after a disappointing 1-4 road trip. Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points against the Lakers, but the Jazz were never in the game despite the Lakers playing one night earlier at Denver. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 23 points, but Utah allowed the Lakers to shoot 51.1 percent from the field and forced just seven turnovers while making 18. The Jazz and Grizzlies have split their two games this season, both at Memphis, with the Grizzlies winning 107-106 on Nov. 15, while the Jazz won 103-94 on Nov. 29. Memphis has struggled of late, losing eight of their last nine games, including two consecutive. The Grizzlies fell 106-99 at Chicago on Wednesday, with Jonas Valanciunas scoring 32 points with 13 rebounds. Rookie Ja Morant missed his third consecutive game with back soreness, but he did practice Friday although he was limited. Morant has not yet been ruled out of Friday’s game. He aggravated back spasms during the Nov. 29 game against the Jazz.
Win: Utah Jazz
Line: Memphis Grizzlies +12.5
Total Points: Under 220.5