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Monday, January 27, 2020

NUGGETS VS ROCKETS

Venue: Pepsi Center | Start: 7:30am AEDT

The Denver Nuggets will try to avenge a road loss to the Houston Rockets when the teams meet in a rematch Sunday in Denver. Jokic has led Denver in scoring in three of the last four games, but that total was only 19 points in Wednesday’s setback at Houston. In the past two Denver games, Jokic also has led the team in rebounding and assists. This will be the fourth meeting of the season between the teams, with the Rockets winning two of the first three. The home team has won each time. Guard Russell Westbrook has topped the scoring list for the Rockets for the past five games, but his 45-point outburst Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves reflected a season-high total. Houston has won two games in a row following a four-game losing streak. In the 131-124 victory against Minnesota, the Rockets racked up their second-most points across the past month. Houston’s James Harden has shot a combined 3-for-29 from 3-point range the past three games, with his 2-for-6 mark against Denver the best in that stretch. Denver is back home after Friday night’s 113-106 victory at New Orleans, where Nuggets coach Michael Malone was ejected for the first time this season.

Win: Denver Nuggets
Line: Houston Rockets +3.5
Total Points: Under 225.5

SPURS VS RAPTORS

Venue: AT&T Center | Start: 8:00am AEDT

The Toronto Raptors carry a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. The Raptors had a seven-game winning streak in the fall and will try to match that. The latest winning streak began after a 105-104 home loss to San Antonio on Jan. 12. Three of Toronto’s past four losses have come by one or two points. The Raptors will attempt to win their seventh consecutive road game. Toronto has had a different leading scorer in each of the past three games. Toronto has scored 104 points or fewer in each of its last five losses. San Antonio is coming off a 103-99 defeat to Phoenix when DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs in points, rebounds and assists. His 30 points raised his scoring average to 22.6 points per game, while he’s providing 5.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists in each game. DeRozan joins Bryn Forbes, Trey Lyles, Patty Mills and Jakob Poeltl as the only San Antonio players to appear in all 44 games this season. It’s unclear if Toronto forward Patrick McCaw will be available for this game after suffering a broken nose Wednesday night against Philadelphia and missing Friday’s road game against the New York Knicks.

Win: Toronto Raptors
Line: Toronto Raptors -3.5
Total Points: Under 221.5

HAWKS VS WIZARDS

Venue: State Farm Arena | Start: 10:00am AEDT

The Washington Wizards will go for back-to-back wins on the road when they visit the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday evening. Washington is coming off a 124-112 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night that marked the team’s second win in the past three games. It represented another positive step for Washington, which remains on the outside looking in when it comes to the Eastern Conference playoff race, but has climbed within four games of eighth-place Brooklyn heading into Sunday’s contests. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 36 points on 15-for-22 shooting in their most recent victory. Davis Bertans and Ish Smith each added 17 points off the bench. Despite their improved play, the Wizards are slight underdogs against the home-team Hawks. After a woeful start, Atlanta also has played better with wins in three of its last six games, but it is coming off a 140-111 loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night. John Collins (28 points) and Trae Young (26) led the Hawks in scoring against the Thunder. This is the second meeting of the season between the Wizards and Hawks. In the first matchup in Washington D.C., the Wizards pulled away for a 111-101 victory.

Win: Atlanta Hawks
Line: Atlanta Hawks -1.5
Total Points: Under 241.5

MAGIC VS CLIPPERS

Venue: Amway Center | Start: 10:00am AEDT

Kawhi Leonard will look for an encore following his first career triple-double when the Los Angeles Clippers continue their road trip with a game at Orlando on Sunday. Leonard scored 33 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists in Friday’s 122-117 victory over the Miami Heat. The Clippers are 3-1 so far on their season-long six-game trip that will conclude Tuesday with a game in their own building but as the visitor against the Los Angeles Lakers. Paul George (hamstring) is not expected to play, while Patrick Beverley (groin) could return after missing the last two games. The only defeat on the trip was to the lowly Atlanta Hawks while playing without George, Beverley and Leonard (rest). The Magic enter having lost four of their last five games, the most recent 109-98 at home to the Boston Celtics on Friday. Orlando blew a 16-point first-half lead in that defeat with Evan Fournier scoring 30 points and Nikola Vucevic adding 12 rebounds. Jonathan Isaac, D.J. Augustin and Al-Farouq Aminu all have knee injuries and will not pay. The Clippers earned a 122-95 victory over the Magic at Los Angeles on Jan. 16. Vucevic had 22 points with nine rebounds for Orlando in that one. Leonard had 32 points for the Clippers.

Win: LA Clippers
Line: Orlando Magic +3.5
Total Points: Under 217.5

GRIZZLIES VS SUNS

Venue: FedExForum | Start: 10:00am AEDT

The Phoenix Suns will try to keep a flawless road trip alive when they visit the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday evening. It is the second installment of a three-game road trip for Phoenix, which opened its travel with a 103-99 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. Devin Booker scored a team-high 35 points and dished out 10 assists to lead the Suns. It was his sixth double-double in 42 starts, and it boosted his season averages to 26.7 points and 6.4 assists per game. Deandre Ayton also posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. The No. 1 overall draft pick has 10 double-doubles in only 15 games this season and will look to build upon that success against the Grizzlies. Like Phoenix, Memphis has talent both in the backcourt and frontcourt. Rookie guard Ja Morant has dazzled fans this season and could be in for a fun matchup against Booker. Meanwhile, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jonas Valanciunas have provided consistent scoring and rebounding in the post for the Grizzlies, and they will go up against Ayton in the paint. Memphis is 2-1 in the regular-season series against Phoenix heading into their fourth and final matchup this year.

Win: Memphis Grizzlies
Line: Phoenix Suns +2.5
Total Points: Under 230.5

PELICANS VS CELTICS

Venue: Smoothie King Center | Start: 10:00am AEDT

The Boston Celtics are seemingly getting better by the injury. The New Orleans Pelicans are struggling since getting healthy. The Celtics go for a fourth consecutive victory Sunday when they visit the Pelicans, who are 0-2 since rookie Zion Williamson joined the lineup. Jayson Tatum (groin), Jaylen Brown (ankle) and Enes Kanter (hip) all sat out as Boston began a three-game road trip with a 109-98 victory at Orlando on Friday. Lantern is out and the other two are questionable for the game against the Pelicans. Boston keeps rolling. All-Star Kemba Walker scored 37 points and Gordon Hayward had 22 points and 14 rebounds. The Celtics had 27 assists on 40 field goals. The Celtics trailed by as many as 16 points in the second quarter, but Walker kept them in the game by making four 3-pointers as he went 10 of 16 from the floor in the first half. Williamson was sensational in his first two NBA games though his minutes have been limited in the wake of a 44-game absence due to arthroscopic knee surgery. He has averaged 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in just under 20 minutes per game. He has made 15 of 20 field goals and 4 of 5 3-pointers.

Win: Boston Celtics
Line: Boston Celtics -1.5
Total Points: Under 229.5

KNICKS VS NETS

Venue: Madison Square Garden | Start: 10:00am AEDT

The fourth and final installment of the Battle of New York will take place Sunday when the Brooklyn Nets take the short trip across the bridge to face the New York Knicks. The Nets have a 2-1 lead in the season series so far, but the Knicks won the most previous meeting, earning a 94-82 victory on Dec. 26 by holding Brooklyn to an unsightly 29.6 percent shooting from the field. The Knicks will enter having lost two consecutive games, five of their last six and 10 of their last 12. They are 8-16 under interim head coach Mike Miller, who took over when David Fizdale was fired. The Knicks’ most recent defeat came Friday when they fell 118-112 against the Toronto Raptors. Marcus Morris and Damyean Dotson scored 21 points each for New York, while Julius Randle scored 20 points with 11 rebounds. Knicks rookie RJ Barrett has missed four consecutive games with a sprained right ankle. The Nets will enter off a 121-111 road victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday that ended a five-game losing streak. Kyrie Irving scored 45 points, his most since scoring 50 in his Nets debut in October. It was Irving’s second game since missing a matchup with Philadelphia 76ers on Monday because of a tight hamstring.

Win: New York Knicks
Line: New York Knicks -2.5
Total Points: Under 223.5

TRAIL BLAZERS VS PACERS

Venue: Moda Center | Start: 1:00pm AEDT

With the completion of an impressive road trip within their grasp, the Indiana Pacers will finish off the five-game swing Sunday with a visit to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Pacers have gone 3-1 on the trip so far, losing only at Utah on the second night of a back-to-back. The latest victory came Friday in a 129-118 triumph at Golden State when T.J. Warren scored 33 points, 21 of which came in the first half. Doug McDermott matched season high with 24 points, the second time he has reached that total in his past four games. The Pacers have won seven of their last eight games overall and return home Wednesday to face the Chicago Bulls. The Trail Blazers will enter after a 133-125 home defeat to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. Damian Lillard scored 47 points and has 108 over his last two games after scoring a franchise-record 61 in a victory over the Warriors on Monday. Portland has struggled to get its season kick started, losing three of its last four games and 11 of its last 16 going back to Dec. 23. Portland is 19-27 with the All-Star break approaching in less than three weeks.

Win: Portland Trail Blazers
Line: Indiana Pacers +3.5
Total Points: Under 221.5