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NBA Tips – Sunday, January 26, 2020
JAZZ VS MAVERICKS
Venue: Vivint Smart Home Arena | Start: 9:00am AEDT
The Utah Jazz have won 18 of their past 20 games – including three in a row – but have to put their recent dominance on the line Saturday at home against the Dallas Mavericks in the first meeting between the teams this season. The Jazz have ascended to No. 2 in the Western Conference standings and are coming off a blowout win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night. In fact, the Jazz have blown out their past three opponents by an average of 28.3 points per game. But the Mavs present a more formidable problem than Utah’s past three foes. The Mavs have won five of their past six, including Thursday night’s 133-125 road win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Luka Doncic went for a team-high 27 points and had nine assists to lead the Mavs. Doncic leads the Mavs in scoring at 29.1 points per game, while Donovan Mitchell leads the Jazz at 24.7. The Mavs reportedly have reached an agreement to acquire Willie Cauley-Stein from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for a draft pick. The move bolsters the Mavs’ frontcourt after center Dwight Powell ruptured his Achilles earlier in the week. Powell had been averaging 9.4 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Win: Utah Jazz
Line: Dallas Mavericks +4.5
Total Points: Under 226.5
PISTONS VS NETS
Venue: Little Caesars Arena | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Brooklyn Nets can only hope a tired and shorthanded Detroit Pistons team will be the key to snapping a five-game losing streak. The Pistons are on the tail end of a back-to-back after losing to the Memphis Grizzlies 125-112 on Friday night at home. The Pistons have lost two of their past three. Derrick Rose scored 22 points to lead the Pistons but they were playing without Andre Drummond, who sat out with a lacerated lip. Detroit was also without Bruce Brown (illness), Luke Kennard (knee) and Tony Snell (illness). The Nets’ latest loss came Thursday night at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers 128-113. The Nets have lost 12 of their past 14. Kyrie Irving scored 20 points to lead the Nets but they allowed the Lakers to make a season-high 19 3-pointers. LeBron James hung a triple-double on Brooklyn, and the Lakers shot 50 percent from the floor and from deep. Drummond and Brown were instrumental in the Pistons’ victory over the Nets in their meeting back on Nov. 2. Brown tallied then-career highs in points (22) and assists (seven) in that contest and Drummond had 25 points and 20 rebounds. Kennard added 24 points.
Win: Brooklyn Nets
Line: Detroit Pistons +1.5
Total Points: Under 225.5
CAVALIERS VS BULLS
Venue: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
It was a double dose of bad news for the Chicago Bulls on Friday, who lost a game and also forward Lauri Markkanen for four-to-six weeks. Markkanen underwent an MRI that revealed an early stress reaction in his right pelvis. The team announced Markkanen’s injury a few hours before losing to the Sacramento Kings at home 98-81. The Bulls have alternated wins and losses over their past nine games. Zach Lavine led the Bulls with 21 points Frfiday, but the team shot 39.2 percent from the floor, including 21.6 percent from the 3-point line. LaVine was just 8-for-21 from the field. Things are worse for the Cavaliers, who are mired in a six-game losing skid. But so were the Kings entering Friday night. The Cavs are coming off a 124-112 loss to the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, despite Collin Sexton’s 29 points. The Bulls and Cavs split their first two games of the season series so far, with the Cavs winning 117-111 on Oct. 30 and the Bulls winning in Chicago on Jan. 18, 118-116. The Cavaliers are 0-2 on their three-game homestand, which concludes with the Bulls. Sexton leads the Cavs in scoring at 19.3 points per game.
Win: Chicago Bulls
Line: Chicago Bulls -1.5
Total Points: Under 217.5
TIMBERWOLVES VS THUNDER
Venue: Target Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
Two guys in need of attention-grabbing performances in hopes of getting an All-Star Game invitation go head-to-head when the Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night. Chris Paul had a relatively quiet game — 18 points and five assists — when the Thunder won their fourth straight game Friday night, 140-111 over the Atlanta Hawks. Paul had 30 points in an earlier win over the Timberwolves in December and could use a similar effort before the Western Conference coaches vote for seven All-Star reserves ahead of next Friday’s reveal. Coming off a 40-point outing on Wednesday against Chicago, the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns put up 30 more to go with 12 rebounds in a 131-124 home loss to Houston on Friday night. He matched Paul’s 30 points in the December duel, before sitting out last week’s rematch as part of a 15-game absence brought on by a knee injury. Paul’s big advantage over Towns: The standings. Oklahoma City, which has won four in a row on the road, currently resides in a playoff spot in the West. Minnesota, meanwhile, has plummeted to near the bottom of the conference, having lost eight in a row, including five straight at home.
Win: Oklahoma City Thunder
Line: Minnesota Timberwolves +1.5
Total Points: Over 210.5
76ERS VS LAKERS
Venue: Wells Fargo Center | Start: 12:30pm AEDT
LeBron James will go to Kobe Bryant’s hometown representing Bryant’s old team as he attempts to knock Bryant down a notch on the NBA’s all-time scoring list while the Los Angeles Lakers visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night. James has amassed 33,626 career points in 1,241 games and needs just 18 more to pass Bryant (33,643 in 1,346 games) and move into third on the NBA list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. James gained ground on Jason Kidd (107) in their tussle for fourth place on the all-time triple-doubles list when he recorded his 91st in Thursday’s 128-113 win at Brooklyn, the Lakers’ third victory in four games on an eight-day trip that ends in Philadelphia. Among the spectators on the potentially historic night figures to be 76ers center Joel Embiid, who has missed eight straight games following surgery to repair ligament damage in a finger on his left hand. He is considered doubtful for the game, in which the 76ers will be attempting to record a seventh consecutive home win. The host team will be without Josh Richardson, who suffered a strained right hamstring in Wednesday’s 107-95 loss at Toronto. The meeting will be the first of the season between the Lakers and 76ers.
Win: LA Lakers
Line: LA Lakers -4.5
Total Points: Under 216.5