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NBA Tips – Tuesday, January 21, 2020

WIZARDS VS PISTONS

Venue: Capital One Arena | Start: 6:00am AEDT

The Washington Wizards are coming off their second-worst defensive performance of the season when they play host to the Detroit Pistons, who’ve had big recent offensive games, on Monday. The Wizards were on the wrong end of a 140-111 decision against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. The Wizards already have had a rough defensive game against Detroit, losing 132-102 on the road the day after Christmas. That was just 10 days after Washington won 133-119 at Detroit. The Wizards also won a November meeting, so the Pistons will aim to pull even in the season series. The Wizards have lost their last three games, including the past two on the road. After this home game, Washington heads on the road for its next four games. The Pistons have won their past two games, including Saturday’s 136-103 romp at Atlanta. Detroit is attempting to notch its first three-game winning streak of the season. Guard Derrick Rose has been the top scorer for the Pistons in three of the past four games, including his 27 points against Atlanta. In Detroit’s victory last month against Washington, forward Christian Wood had 22 points for only the third time this season he has topped the Pistons in scoring. This is the third stop on Detroit’s three-game road trip.

Win: Washington Wizards
Line: Detroit Pistons +1.5
Total Points: Under 232.5

HAWKS VS RAPTORS

Venue: State Farm Arena | Start: 6:30am AEDT

The Toronto Raptors had dealt with some shortcomings because of an injury-ravaged roster, but they might be getting back in a groove heading into Monday’s game at Atlanta. The Raptors are riding a three-game winning streak and getting healthier in the process. They welcomed guard Fred VanVleet back to the lineup Saturday night and he produced a team-high 29 points in a 122-112 victory at Minnesota. VanVleet played after a five-game absence with a hamstring injury, hitting 11 of 16 shots from the field. Toronto is 7-4 since a Christmas Day lost at Boston, failing to reach the 100-point mark in three of those losses. Guard Trae Young of the Hawks is averaging 28.8 points per game for the fourth-best mark in the NBA this season, though he’s coming off a 16-point outing. The Hawks lost 136-103 to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday in the first home game since the return of guard Jeff Teague, who was acquired in a trade with Minnesota. Teague had 15 points in that game. Yet the result was a defensive failure for Atlanta as the Pistons notched a season-high point total. The Raptors own a 119-116 decision on Nov. 23 at Atlanta, where Pascal Siakam had 34 points for Toronto. This will be the first of two meetings between the team in a nine-day stretch.

Win: Toronto Raptors
Line: Toronto Raptors -9.5
Total Points: Under 229.5

NETS VS 76ERS

Venue: Barclays Center | Start: 7:00am AEDT

The Philadelphia 76ers will go for their fourth win in a row when they visit the Brooklyn Nets on Monday afternoon. Philadelphia will try for its second win in less than a week against Brooklyn, which lost 117-106 when the teams last met Wednesday night. Tobias Harris scored 34 points for the 76ers on 14-for-20 shooting that night, including 4-for-6 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. Four other 76ers players including Ben Simmons (20 points), Josh Richardson and Furkan Korkmaz (15 points apiece) and Al Horford (14 points) also scored in double figures for Philadelphia. Brooklyn held close against Philadelphia despite 26 points on 8-for-16 shooting by guard Spencer Dinwiddie, a Colorado product who once had to fight for a job in the NBA. Philadelphia is looking for its fourth win in a row, and Brooklyn is looking to snap a three-game winning streak. The 76ers are embarking on the second installment of a three-game road trip after posting a 90-87 win over the New York Knicks on Saturday night. Brooklyn is the reverse as it tries to recover from a 117-97 win against the Bucks to start a three-game homestand.

Win: Philadelphia 76ers
Line: Philadelphia 76ers -2.5
Total Points: Under 218.5

HORNETS VS MAGIC

Venue: Spectrum Center | Start: 9:00am AEDT

The Charlotte Hornets will have had four days without a game when they meet the visiting and perhaps road-weary Orlando Magic on Monday at home. The Hornets went winless on a four-game swing through the Western Conference before of the gap in the schedule, extending their losing streak to six games overall. After this game, they head to Paris for a much-anticipated international game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Before that, the Hornets are trying to straighten out a rash of issues that have prevented them from getting on any sort of roll. Backcourt scoring has been among the highlights for the Hornets, with guard Terry Rozier the team’s leading scorer in six of the past eight games. Charlotte hasn’t won a home game since Dec. 17. The Magic went 2-3 on a West Coast swing, which ended with Saturday night’s loss at Golden State. The visit to Charlotte will mark the end of the Magic’s longest road trip of the season. Orlando failed to score more than 95 points in three of the past five games. Orlando is 3-7 in its last 10 road games. For Magic coach Steve Clifford, it’s back to Charlotte, where he previously was the head coach, for the first matchup of the season between the teams.

Win: Orlando Magic
Line: Charlotte Hornets +4.5
Total Points: Under 206.5

ROCKETS VS THUNDER

Venue: Toyota Center | Start: 9:00am AEDT

Still searching for answers amid their recent struggles, the Houston Rockets will get set for a home game Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Rockets are on a three-game losing streak, their longest since a three-game hiccup just before Thanksgiving. The current slide is more worrisome since it also includes four defeats in the last five games. The latest loss was Saturday when the Los Angeles Lakers came to Houston and earned a 124-115 victory. Russell Westbrook scored 35 points, his fourth consecutive game of at least 30 points, and his 16th consecutive with at least 20. James Harden scored 34 points after being held in the teens in two of his previous four games. The Thunder started the new year on a roll, but results have been spottier of late. But they are hitting the road after a 119-106 home victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. Chris Paul scored 21 of his 30 points in the first half as the Thunder bucked a recent trend of slow starts and led 32-24 after one quarter and 64-57 at halftime. Oklahoma City was playing without Danilo Gallinari, who received a day of rest, while Terrance Ferguson and Justin Patton were out with an illness. Steven Adams returned after missing a game with a knee contusion.

Win: Houston Rockets
Line: Oklahoma City Thunder +7.5
Total Points: Under 230.5

GRIZZLIES VS PELICANS

Venue: FedExForum | Start: 9:00am AEDT

Zion Williamson is almost ready – but not quite yet – to make his debut when the New Orleans Pelicans visit the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday evening. The talented rookie and No. 1 overall pick in last summer’s NBA draft has yet to play his first game as he recovers from a knee injury. The Pelicans have pegged Wednesday’s home game against the San Antonio Spurs for Williamson’s long-awaited debut. That leaves one more game, a road tilt against Memphis, for the Pelicans to try to squeak out a victory without their top young player. New Orleans has won nine of its past 13 games but is coming off a disappointing 133-130 loss against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday afternoon. Lonzo Ball had a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for the Pelicans. Derrick Favors added a double-double with 22 points and 11 boards. Memphis is riding a seven-game winning streak and is coming off a 113-109 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. The Grizzlies are led in scoring by dynamic rookie Ja Morant, the No. 2 pick behind Williamson, who is averaging 17.9 points per game. Big man Jaren Jackson Jr. is right behind Morant with an average of 17.8 points.

Win: Memphis Grizzlies
Line: Memphis Grizzlies -2.5
Total Points: Under 239.5

CAVALIERS VS KNICKS

Venue: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse | Start: 9:00am AEDT

Two struggling teams will tip off when the New York Knicks visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday evening. The clubs occupy the second-to-last and third-to-last spots in the Eastern Conference standings, with only the Atlanta Hawks faring worse at this point in the season. New York has lost three in a row and eight of nine, and it is coming off a 90-87 setback against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night. Marcus Morris led the team with 20 points to go along with six rebounds, while Julius Randle posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards. Randle has 17 double-doubles in 41 starts on the season. New York is playing without rookie point guard RJ Barrett, who is out for at least another week because of a sprained ankle. The Duke product is averaging 14.1 points per game but is shooting only 39.3 percent from the field in his first taste of the pros. Cleveland has lost four games in a row and 9 of 11. Collin Sexton leads the team in scoring with 19.2 points per game, and veteran Kevin Love is averaging a double-double with 17.4 points and 10.2 rebounds.

Win: New York Knicks
Line: Cleveland Cavaliers +1.5
Total Points: Under 222.5

HEAT VS KINGS

Venue: American Airlines Arena | Start: 9:00am AEDT

The Miami Heat will tip off a five-game homestand when they host the Sacramento Kings on Monday evening. Miami has played five of its last six games on the road, going 3-3 overall in that time and cooling off a bit after a strong start to the season. The Heat still come into Monday’s matchup with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the Milwaukee Bucks. Forward Justise Winslow is dealing with a back injury and will miss a couple weeks, but everyone else on the Heat should be available. The depth will be needed because Miami is coming off a 107-102 loss against the San Antonio Spurs only one day earlier, and the team could be fatigued after boarding a flight Sunday night to come back to South Florida. Jimmy Butler leads the Heat with 20.2 points per game, and next on the scoring list is a two-way tie between Kendrick Nunn and Bam Adebayo with 16 points per game apiece. Sacramento has lost four in a row and 13 of 16 to slide far back in the Western Conference standings. Buddy Hield is averaging 20.1 points per game and could look to go toe to toe versus Miami’s Butler.

Win: Miami Heat
Line: Sacramento Kings +6.5
Total Points: Under 220.5

BUCKS VS BULLS

Venue: Fiserv Forum | Start: 9:00am AEDT

The Milwaukee Bucks will look to build upon their best record in the NBA when they host the Chicago Bulls on Monday evening. Milwaukee has won seven in a row and 11 of 12 as the Bulls come to town. The Bucks are 20-2 on their home court and 38-6 overall on the season, establishing a wide lead over the second-place Miami Heat with 38 games to go in the regular season. Giannis Antetokounmpo has led the way throughout the season for Milwaukee, and he is averaging a career-high 30 points per game. It will be difficult for Chicago to slow him down even though the Bulls’ defense has shown flashes of ability. Chicago has won three of its past five games, including a 118-116 comeback victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night. Zach LaVine scored 42 points on 19-for-31 shooting in the win. The Bucks are 3-0 against the Bulls and will try to cap off a regular-season sweep. Milwaukee won 124-115 at home Nov. 14. The Bucks won 115-101 in Chicago on Nov. 18, and they earned another double-digit win with a 123-102 decision over Chicago on Dec. 30.

Win: Milwaukee Bucks
Line: Chicago Bulls +15.5
Total Points: Under 225.5

CELTICS VS LAKERS

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

The Boston Celtics went nearly the first two months of the season before losing their first game at home. Now they’re riding a two-game home losing skid with the league’s best road team in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers, coming in for a primetime showdown Monday night. Overall the Celtics have lost three in a row and six of their past eight, including Saturday night’s defeat to the Phoenix Suns. Missing Kemba Walker (knee) and Jaylen Brown (thumb) to injuries, the Celtics nearly rode Marcus Smart’s franchise-record 11 3-pointers to a win, but Devin Booker and the Suns were too much to overcome. Booker scored 39 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out nine assists. The loss dropped the Celts to 16-5 at home. Now in roll the Lakers, who are 18-3 on the road and are coming off an impressive 124-115 road win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. And they did it without Anthony Davis, still nursing a sore back. LeBron James scored 31 and dished 12 assists in the win, and Kyle Kuzma’s defense on Russell Westbrook in the second half slowed down the Rockets just enough. It’s the first of two meetings of the season between the inter-conference rivals.

Win: LA Lakers
Line: LA Lakers -3.5
Total Points: Under 226.5

TIMBERWOLVES VS NUGGETS

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

The Denver Nuggets will try to bounce back from a disappointing home loss when they go on the road to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night. One night earlier, Denver stumbled to a 115-107 setback against the Indiana Pacers, which snapped the Nuggets’ three-game winning streak. Nikola Jokic had 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead Denver, while Will Barton and Jerami Grant poured in 16 points apiece. The Nuggets have not lost back-to-back games since early December and will try to avoid a mini-slide by posting a win Monday. Minnesota is on a much steeper slide with five losses in a row, but it has had an extra day to rest after falling short 122-112 to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. Jarrett Culver was Minnesota’s top scorer with 26 points on 8-for-16 shooting, including 4 of 10 from beyond the 3-point line. The Timberwolves hope to welcome in Allen Crabbe, who did not play Saturday because of an illness. Crabbe joined the team last Thursday in a trade that sent Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham to the Atlanta Hawks. The 27-year-old out of California averaged 5.1 points per game for the Hawks.

Win: Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Denver Nuggets +3.5
Total Points: Under 221.5

JAZZ VS PACERS

Venue: Vivint Smart Home Arena | Start: 1:00pm AEDT

With a fifth consecutive victory in their back pocket, the Indiana Pacers will travel to Utah to face the Jazz on Monday looking to win on back-to-back days in the mountains. The Pacers earned an impressive 115-107 victory on Sunday at Denver with Doug McDermott scoring a season-high 24 points. The balanced attack had three other players at 22 points: Domantas Sabonis, T.J. Warren and Malcolm Brogdon. Sunday’s game was the start of a five-game western swing for the Pacers that concludes next weekend at Portland. After that is a home game on Jan. 29 against the Chicago Bulls where Victor Oladipo is expected to play for the first time in nearly a year. The Jazz will enter Monday’s game off a 123-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday that came one game after their 10-game winning streak ended with a 138-132 overtime defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Jazz is 16-3 at home and is the only team in the Western Conference with three or fewer defeats in their own building. The Jazz welcomed back Mike Conley on Saturday after he missed 19 of the last 20 games with a hamstring strain. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 30 points against the Kings, while Rudy Gobert had a season-high 28 points with 15 rebounds.

Win: Utah Jazz
Line: Indiana Pacers +7.5
Total Points: Under 215.5

SUNS VS SPURS

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

The Phoenix Suns have found a flow again and will test it further on Monday when they play host to the San Antonio Spurs. With Devon Booker and Deandre Ayton back together for three weeks, the Suns have won four of their last five games. The latest came on the road Saturday when they took advantage of a Boston Celtics team that was without Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown. Booker fell just short of a triple-double with 39 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Ayton had 26 points and 15 rebounds. The Spurs will enter off a 107-102 victory Sunday over the Miami Heat that ended a two-game losing slide. San Antonio also had lost three of its last four games. It was a much-needed victory against a solid Heat team after the Spurs blew a 14-point lead Friday and lost to the Atlanta Hawks. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 21 points Sunday and DeMar DeRozan had 20 for San Antonio. The Spurs were without Rudy Gay for a second consecutive game because of an illness. The Suns and Spurs are meeting for the first time since San Antonio earned a 121-110 overtime victory at home on Dec. 14. They will play each other again at San Antonio on Friday.

Win: Phoenix Suns
Line: Phoenix Suns -4.5
Total Points: Under 229.5

TRAIL BLAZERS VS WARRIORS

Venue: Moda Center | Start: 2:00pm AEDT

Fresh off a much-needed victory, the Golden State Warriors will look to see if they can build some momentum heading into a road matchup Monday against the Portland Trail Blazers and their reshuffled roster. The Warriors defeated the Orlando Magic 109-95 on Saturday to end their losing streak at 10. D’Angelo Russell took over for the Warriors, scoring 26 points in what had been the team’s longest run of defeats in 18 years. Jordan Poole scored 21 points and Eric Paschall added 20. Already without Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, Golden State also was missing Draymond Green on Saturday with a sprained left index finger, but he is expected to play Monday. The Trail Blazers are returning home after consecutive defeats at Dallas and Oklahoma City. They landed Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan and Wenyen Gabriel from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two second-round picks. The availability of their new players for Monday is not known. The Trail Blazers lost 119-106 on Saturday without C.J. McCollum because of a sprained left ankle, while Bazemore and Tolliver also were out. Portland had just eight players available so Damien Lillard played through an upper respiratory illness and scored 34. Gary Trent Jr., just back from an illness, set a career-high with 30 points.

Win: Portland Trail Blazers
Line: Golden State Warriors +6.5
Total Points: Under 221.5