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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

CAVALIERS VS PISTONS

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

The Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers will meet for the second time this season when the teams tip off in Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Pistons cruised to a 127-94 win in the first matchup Dec. 3, which also took place in Cleveland. Blake Griffin scored a team-high 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting that night, while Andre Drummond contributed his typical double-double performance with 17 points and 14 rebounds in 30-plus minutes. The past month has put both players in the news, with Griffin back on the shelf because of a left knee issue and Drummond’s future the subject of speculation ahead of next month’s trade deadline. Drummond has not appeared to let the outside noise bother him as he has posted six straight double-doubles, including a 12-point, 18-rebound effort in his most recent outing Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pistons lost that game 106-99, which marked their fourth loss in the past five games and their ninth loss in the past 11. The Cavaliers also come into Tuesday cold, with losses in four straight. Cleveland is coming off a 118-103 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in which Dante Exum scored a team-high 28 points on 11-for-13 shooting for the Cavaliers.

Win: Detroit Pistons
Line: Detroit Pistons -3.5
Total Points: Under 215.5

RAPTORS VS TRAIL BLAZERS

Venue: Scotiabank Arena | Start: 11:00am AEDT

Two teams in the heart of a hectic travel schedule meet in Toronto on Tuesday night when the Raptors host the Portland Trail Blazers. The Raptors are coming off a road split at Miami (loss) and Brooklyn (win), a trip that began, incredibly, a sequence in which Toronto will travel to 16 straight games, including five one-game “homestands.” Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers will be playing their league-leading 21st road game as they continue a five-game trip that has begun with losses at New York and Miami sandwiching a win at Washington. Portland hopes to get back CJ McCollum after he sat out Sunday’s 122-111 loss to the Heat with an illness. He shot 3-for-7 on 3-pointers and sidekick Damian Lillard went 2-for-7 when the Trail Blazers lost a long-distance shootout to the Raptors in a November meeting in Portland. Pascal Siakam (4-for-7) and Fred VanVleet (4-for-6) combined for eight threes and a total of 66 points as the Raptors shot 44 percent on 32 3-point attempts in the 114-106 road win, while the Trail Blazers connected on just 35 percent of their 48 tries. Siakam won’t face Portland in the rematch because of a strained groin.

Win: Toronto Raptors
Line: Portland Trail Blazers +1.5
Total Points: Under 220.5

NETS VS THUNDER

Venue: Barclays Center | Start: 11:30am AEDT

The Brooklyn Nets will be desperate for a win when they welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. Brooklyn has lost six games in a row, including three in a row by double digits, as it returns to start a four-game homestand. The Nets are coming off a 101-89 loss against the Orlando Magic that dropped the team’s record to 16-19 amid Kyrie Irving’s continued absence because of a shoulder injury. Irving hopes to avoid surgery but has no specific timeline for his return. In his absence, the Nets have looked to Spencer Dinwiddie to lead the way on offense. Dinwiddie is averaging 22.7 points to go along with 6.2 assists per game, and an All-Star selection is not out of the question for the player who once bounced around the league in search of a job. Oklahoma City comes into the game on a much more positive note. The Thunder won five games in a row before dropping their most recent contest 120-113 to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night. This marks the finale of a four-game road trip for Oklahoma City, which kicked things off with wins over the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers before falling short in the City of Brotherly Love.

Win: Oklahoma City Thunder
Line: Brooklyn Nets +2.5
Total Points: Under 217.5

GRIZZLIES VS TIMBERWOLVES

Venue: FedExForum | Start: 12:00pm AEDT

Somebody will have a three-game winning streak after the Minnesota Timberwolves visit the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night. Both teams have won back-to-back games and are looking to continue their success heading into the new calendar year. Minnesota is coming off a 118-103 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, which followed a 99-84 win over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday. Meanwhile, Memphis is coming off a 121-114 win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, which followed a dominant 140-114 win over the Los Angeles Clippers one day earlier. Although the Timberwolves have been without injured big man Karl-Anthony Towns, they have received improved performances from their depth players. Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Napier each made 8 of 10 shots from the field in the team’s latest win over Cleveland. Dieng finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Napier contributed 21 points and a team-high seven assists out of the backcourt. Memphis is led by the one-two punch of Jaren Jackson and Ja Morant, who average 17.7 and 17.6 points per contest, respectively. Morant has scored in double figures in seven of his past eight games, including 20-plus in two of his last three contests.

Win: Memphis Grizzlies
Line: Minnesota Timberwolves +3.5
Total Points: Under 228.5

SUNS VS KINGS

Venue: Talking Stick Resort Arena | Start: 1:00pm AEDT

Recent history says it’s going to take 50-percent shooting to win when the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns meet for the fourth time this season on Tuesday night. The winning team in each of the first three head-to-heads has connected on better than half its shots, with the Suns shooting at 50.0- and 52.3-percent accuracy in their two wins, while the Kings connected at a 53.2-percent clip in their lone victory. The offensive-minded nature of the three games — the average final score has been 117-108 — has suited Suns guard Devin Booker just fine. He’s gone for 22, 30 and 32 points, the latter coming as part of an ongoing franchise-record, six-game run of 30-point outings. Booker has gotten plenty of help in the season series from Kelly Oubre Jr., who has averaged a double-double with 20.3 points and 10.7 rebounds. While the Suns had a day off following a 121-114 home loss to Memphis in a game in which Booker went for 40 points, the Kings were coasting to a 111-98 home win over Golden State on Monday night behind former Sun Trevor Ariza’s season-high 18 points. Tuesday’s road outing will be just the second in the last nine games for the Kings, who fly back to Sacramento after the contest to play three more at home.

Win: Phoenix Suns
Line: Sacramento Kings +6.5
Total Points: Under 226.5

LAKERS VS KNICKS

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

The Los Angeles Lakers will go for six wins in a row, including a perfect 5-0 homestand, when they host the New York Knicks on Tuesday night. Los Angeles has enjoyed home-court wins over the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Pelicans and Detroit Pistons heading into Tuesday’s contest, after which it will hit the road for games against Dallas and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Lakers big man Anthony Davis has battled a nagging shoulder injury as of late, but he is averaging a team-high 27.7 points to go along with 9.5 rebounds on the season. LeBron James ranks second on the Lakers’ scoring list with 24.9 points per game to go along with 7.9 rebounds and 11.0 assists. James is coming off a triple-double performance with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists against the Pistons. It was his ninth triple-double in 35 starts this season. The Knicks have lost two in a row after winning the previous three. The team is 6-8 under interim coach Mike Miller after going 4-18 under David Fizdale. This is the first of two meetings between the teams this season. They will meet in New York on Jan. 22.

Win: LA Lakers
Line: New York Knicks +13.5
Total Points: Under 220.5