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Thursday, December 12, 2019
Los Angeles Lakers vs Orlando Magic
Venue: Amway Center | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Los Angeles Lakers will try to build upon their Western Conference-leading 21-3 record when they visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. The Lakers have won four straight games and 14 of their past 15 contests. They’re on an 11-game road winning streak, with their only loss as visitors coming in the season opener Oct. 22 against the Los Angeles Clippers — in the building both teams share. Lakers center Anthony Davis has been terrific throughout the season, but he is coming off his best performance yet with 50 points on 20-for-29 shooting against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He leads Los Angeles with 27.7 points per game, which is just ahead of LeBron James, who is averaging 25.9 points per game heading into Wednesday. James has excelled against the Magic (along with many other teams) throughout his career, averaging 25.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.2 assists in 55 career matchups versus Orlando. The Magic have a dynamic wing player in Evan Fournier (team-leading 20.0 points per game), but it will be a difficult challenge to figure out how to slow down Davis and James. This is the first meeting of the regular season between the teams.
Win: LA Lakers
Line: LA Lakers -6.5
Total Points: Under 213.5
Los Angeles Clippers vs Toronto Raptors
Venue: Scotiabank Arena | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Los Angeles Clippers will go for a two-game, regular-season sweep over the Toronto Raptors when the teams meet north of the border Wednesday night. The Clippers won the first meeting, 98-88, on Nov. 11 in Los Angeles. Veteran guard Lou Williams led the Clippers with 21 points off the bench, Montrezl Harrell added 14 off the bench, and Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Patterson added 12 points apiece. Now Leonard heads back to Toronto, with whom he won an NBA championship last season. The 28-year-old is slated to receive his championship ring during a pregame ceremony, and reports out of Toronto indicate that the majority of fans are expected to embrace his return. Leonard has adapted quickly with the Clippers, whom he leads with 25.1 points per game to go along with 7.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists. Los Angeles has won two in a row, four of five and 11 of 13. The Raptors are coming off a 93-92 road win over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry lead Toronto with averages of 24.5 points and 20.2 points per game, respectively, and both players figure to want to have a big night against their friend and former teammate.
Win: Toronto Raptors
Line: Los Angeles Clippers -1.5
Total Points: Over 215.5
Houston Rockets vs Cleveland Cavaliers
Venue: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Houston Rockets begin a quick two-game road trip when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Houston has won four of its past six games but is coming off a 119-118 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. As is often the case, the Rockets’ top two scorers were Russell Westbrook (34 points) and James Harden (27). Cleveland has its hands full in trying to stop either player, let alone both. Harden is averaging a whopping 38.0 points per game this season, while Westbrook is averaging 22.4 points. The Cavaliers have lost seven games in a row and 13 of their past 14, and they have gone into full rebuilding mode as rumors have swirled about the possible availability of All-Star forward Kevin Love on the trade market. Love is averaging a double-double with 15.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Teammate Tristan Thompson also is part of the double-double club with averages of 13.8 points and 10.1 rebounds. This is the first of two games between the teams this season. Houston is 6-5 on the road, and Cleveland is 3-9 at home.
Win: Houston Rockets
Line: Houston Rockets -11.5
Total Points: Under 228.5
Boston Celtics vs Indiana Pacers
Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Boston Celtics bring a four-game winning streak into Indiana when they tangle with the Pacers on Wednesday night. It’s the first of three meetings between the clubs this season. The Celtics (17-5) capped a three-game homestand with a 110-88 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night. Gordon Hayward’s return from a broken hand and Kemba Walker’s game-high 22 points sparked the win and improved Boston’s record at home to 10-0. The Pacers returned to Indy from a five-game road trip only to have the Los Angeles Clippers and their former star, Paul George, waiting for them. George dropped 36 on his former team and the Clips downed the Pacers by 11. The Pacers have now lost two of three but are 7-3 over their last 10. Walker leads the Celtics in scoring at 21.8 points per game, his lowest output since 2015-16. No matter. With Jayson Tatum (21.1) and Jaylen Brown (20.0) also averaging more than 20 per game, the Celts are enjoying a balanced scoring effort that’s bolstered even more with Hayward’s return. Malcolm Brogdon leads Indiana with 19.1 points per game, and Domantas Sabonis is averaging 18.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per game.
Win: Indiana Pacers
Line: Boston Celtics +1.5
Total Points: Under 210.5
Charlotte Hornets vs Brooklyn Nets
Venue: Barclays Center | Start: 11:30am AEDT
Devonte’ Graham had another monster game Tuesday night and will be a force to be reckoned with when he and the Charlotte Hornets invade Brooklyn to take on the Nets on Wednesday night. Graham scored 22 points in the second half to help the Hornets fend off the Washington Wizards, 114-107, in Charlotte. Graham scored 29 overall but it’s his second-half exploits that are getting attention. Graham has scored double-digits in the second half four times in the past five games. Though the Hornets are just 2-3 in those games. Graham leads the Hornets (10-16) on the season at 18.8 per game. The Nets (13-10) come in riding a three-game winning streak and have won four of five. They last played Sunday, a 105-102 win over the visiting Denver Nuggets. Spencer Dinwiddie scored a team-high 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting. Kyrie Irving missed his 12th straight game with a shoulder impingement and he will miss his 13th against the Hornets. The Nets defeated the Nuggets despite shooting just 25 percent from the 3-point line (7-for-28). The Nets just defeated the Hornets in Charlotte, 111-104, on Dec. 6. Graham went for 29 in that one in the loss. Joe Harris led Brooklyn with 22.
Win: Brooklyn Nets
Line: Charlotte Hornets -11.5
Total Points: Under 217.5
Atlanta Hawks vs Chicago Bulls
Venue: United Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls are both coming off excruciating losses to two of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. Now they get to take it out on each other Wednesday night in Chicago. The Hawks, who will be playing the second of a back-to-back, had a six-point lead over the Heat with less than a minute left in regulation but couldn’t seal the deal. The game went into overtime and the Heat went on a 16-0 run en route to a 135-121 victory. On Monday night, the Bulls had the ball in the hands of Zach Lavine in the closing seconds at home against the Toronto Raptors, but he missed a runner that gave the Raptors a 93-92 victory, sending Chicago to its third straight loss. The game is the second between the clubs. The Bulls raced out to a big lead early on to defeat the Hawks in Atlanta, 113-93, on Nov. 3. Tomas Satoransky poured in a career-high 27 for the Bulls to earn the win. It’s the only game this year that Satoransky has led the team in scoring. The Bulls announced Tuesday that Otto Porter will miss at least another month after it was confirmed the swingman has a small fracture in his foot.
Win: Chicago Bulls
Line: Atlanta Falcons +5.5
Total Points: Under 221.5
Utah Jazz vs Minnesota Timberwolves
Venue: Target Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The one saving grace for the struggling Utah Jazz might be that their next opponent, the Minnesota Timberwolves, are having an even rougher go of it. The Jazz visit the Twin Cities to play the Timberwolves on Wednesday night, the third meeting already between the teams. Turnovers and fast-break points are killing the Jazz, who have lost four of five and six of eight. Utah’s two wins during that stretch have come against the rebuilding Memphis Grizzlies. Utah is yielding 20.1 fast-break points per game over those last eight contests. Things aren’t any better on the other bench. The Timberwolves return home after a four-game road trip, owners of a five-game losing streak. They’re coming off a 125-109 loss at Phoenix on Monday night. The main culprit is the same as it has been all season – defense. The Timberwolves gave up 131.8 points per game on the road trip. The teams have split their first two games thus far with each winning on the other’s home court during a home-and-home series on Nov. 18 and Nov. 20. The Wolves won at Utah, 112-102, but then the Jazz returned the favor, winning by eight in Minnesota.
Win: Utah Jazz
Line: Minnesota Timberwolves +1.5
Total Points: Under 224.5
Memphis Grizzlies vs Phoenix Suns
Venue: Talking Stick Resort Arena | Start: 1:00pm AEDT
Two teams in search of an elusive winning streak duel in the desert when the Phoenix Suns host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. The Suns are coming off a 125-109 win Monday over Minnesota in which Kelly Oubre Jr. celebrated his 24th birthday with, fittingly, 24 points. The celebration hasn’t lasted long after Phoenix’s previous 10 wins; they followed up eight of them with a loss. The Suns have just one winning streak all season — a three-gamer bridging October and November that included a 114-105 win at Memphis. The Grizzlies likewise have just one winning streak — a three-gamer in November — and will be playing 48 hours after a 110-102 triumph at Golden State in which Ja Morant returned from back spasms to lead the way with 26 points. Memphis has responded to its last two wins with six- and three-game losing skids. Morant was the top scorer (24 points) in the earlier home loss to Phoenix, which won the game from behind the 3-point line, going 14-for-34 while the Grizzlies were just 9-for-28. Aron Baynes, who returned from a calf injury to chip in with 12 points in 15 minutes against the Timberwolves, shot 4-for-7 on 3-pointers in a 20-point effort in the win at Memphis.
Win: Phoenix Suns
Line: Memphis Grizzlies +7.5
Total Points: Under 223.5
New Orleans Pelicans vs Milwaukee Bucks
Venue: Fiserv Forum | Start: 1:30pm AEDT
It’s the proverbial David vs. Goliath story on Wednesday night when the New Orleans Pelicans visit the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks own a 15-game winning streak and a share of the best record in the NBA at 21-3. They are 11-1 at home. The Pelicans have lost nine games in a row, including a 46-point defeat at Dallas last Saturday. They have won two games on the road the entire season. The Pelicans are 11-for-70 from the 3-point line their past two games. The Bucks are coming off a win that was tighter than the four that preceded it. The Bucks defeated the visiting Orlando Magic on Monday night, 110-101. The Bucks had outscored their previous four opponents by an average of 34.3 points. The Pelicans had a golden opportunity for a win Monday night but fell to the Detroit Pistons at home, 105-103. Derrick Rose crushed the Pels’ hopes with a jumper in the lane with 0.3 seconds left, the last of his 17 fourth-quarter points. Brandon Ingram logged 31 for the Pelicans. Giannis Antetokounmpo comes in averaging 30.9 points and 13.2 rebounds per game for Milwaukee. He’s shooting at a 56.4 percent clip from the field.
Win: Milwaukee Bucks
Line: New Orleans Pelicans +13.5
Total Points: Under 234.5
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Sacramento Kings
Venue: Golden 1 Center | Start: 2:00pm AEDT
Each coming off an improbable back-to-back road sweep on Sunday and Monday, the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder and Sacramento Kings get an opportunity to show what they can do after getting a day off when then go head-to-head Wednesday night. The Thunder used a pair of impressive defensive efforts to win 108-96 at Portland and 104-90 at Utah, surprisingly dominating both off the bench despite missing regular starters Terrance Ferguson (both games) and Danilo Gallinari (Monday at Utah). Dennis Schroder did much of the heavy lifting for the Oklahoma City bench crew with 21 and 27 points, but two-way player Luguentz Dort played a key role as well, especially against the Jazz, recording a season-best nine points. The Kings also tapped into an unlikely source in their shocking 119-118 win at Houston on Monday, getting a 33-foot, buzzer-beating, catch-and-shoot from Nemanja Bjelica to erase a last-second, two-point deficit. The win came 24 hours after the Kings, after opening a four-game trip with losses at Portland and San Antonio, had surprised Dallas, 110-106. With a third straight win, the Kings (10-13) would catch the Thunder (11-12) in the Western standings. With a fourth straight win, the Thunder would reach .500 for the first time this season.
Win: Sacramento Kings
Line: Oklahoma City Thunder +2.5
Total Points: OVer 210.5
New York Knicks vs Golden State Warriors
Venue: Chase Center | Start: 2:30pm AEDT
The last time New York beat Golden State, the Warriors were coached by an ex-Knicks player. And the last time Golden State beat New York, the Knicks were coached by an ex-Warriors assistant. Neither will be the case Wednesday night when the losingest team in the Eastern Conference and the worst team in the Western Conference meet in San Francisco. The Knicks matched the Warriors in the loss column with their 20th Tuesday night in Portland, a 115-87 shellacking that was their second straight since Mike Miller replaced David Fizdale as coach. The loss was their 10th straight overall, which coincidentally matches the length of their slump against Golden State ever since beating the Mark Jackson-led version in March of 2014. The Warriors have never lost to the Knicks in the Steve Kerr era, going 10-0 with a 20.2-point average margin of victory. But the Warriors have never been 5-20 under Kerr, either. Golden State is coming off a 110-102 home loss to Memphis, which wasn’t all that surprising in that the Warriors, who were coming off a win at Chicago, had lost at least three in a row after each of their previous four victories. They’ve won just twice in 10 home games so far this season.
Win: Golden State Warriors
Line: Golden State Warriors -5.5
Total Points: Over 210.5