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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

PISTONS VS CAVALIERS

Venue: Little Caesars Arena | Start: 11:00am AEDT

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons will meet for the fourth and final time Monday, a series won by the visiting team in each of the first three meetings. Monday night’s game is in Detroit. The teams have combined to lose nine games in a row. The Cavs own seven of those consecutive losses, most recently Saturday night at home to the Chicago Bulls, 118-106. That loss marked the third in a row of losing by double-digits. Saturday’s downfall can be pinpointed to turnovers – again – and a lousy third quarter. The Cavs, who lead the league in points allowed off its turnovers, turned the ball over 21 times which led to 27 points for the Bulls. The Bulls outscored the Cavs 40-19 in the third quarter. The Pistons lost both ends of a back-to-back over the weekend, 125-112 to Memphis on Friday and 121-111 to Brooklyn in overtime Saturday. The Pistons lead the season series, 2-1, though the Cavs won the second of a home-and-home Jan. 9 in Detroit in overtime. The Pistons won the first two in Cleveland before Kevin Love’s 3-pointer with 37.9 seconds left in OT helped Cleveland snap a five-game skid in the last contest.

Win: Detroit Pistons
Line: Detroit Pistons -6.5
Total Points: Over 221.5

HEAT VS MAGIC

Venue: American Airlines Arena | Start: 11:30am AEDT

The Orlando Magic and Miami Heat play the first of two games in six days Monday night in South Florida. While the Magic are mired in a three-game losing skid, they do own a victory over their intrastate rival from earlier this season. The Magic lost to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday in Orlando, 112-97. The Magic were right there at halftime but Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers ran away in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. Leonard scored 15 of his 31 in the third. Michael Carter-Williams led the Magic with 15 points in a game in which the Magic shot just 35.8 percent from the floor, including 21.9 percent from the 3-point line. The Magic have lost five of six but they beat the Heat by 20 points on Jan. 3. The Heat went cold in the fourth quarter as the Magic outscored them 21-6 in the final frame. The Heat went 3-for-19 from the field and missed all 10 of their 3-point attempts while committing six turnovers in that fateful fourth. The Heat, too, are coming off a loss to the Clippers, 122-117, on Friday night in Miami. It was just the Heat’s second loss at home all season.

Win: Miami Heat
Line: Miami Heat -6.5
Total Points: Under 210.5

TIMBERWOLVES VS KINGS

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

Marvin Bagley III is hurt again. Karl-Anthony Towns is banged up. The Minnesota Timberwolves are on a long losing streak … it’s deja vu all over again when the Timberwolves host the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. When the clubs met the day after Christmas in Sacramento, the Timberwolves ended an 11-game losing streak despite going without an injured Towns. They caught a couple of breaks in the game when the Kings lost De’Aaron Fox and Bagley to injuries. In fact, Bagley still hasn’t recovered from his sprained left foot, having sat out 10 of the last 14 games. Minnesota will take a nine-game losing streak into the rematch, but will do so featuring a new weapon, with Shabazz Napier having recorded his first career triple-double — featuring career-highs in both rebounds and assists — in Saturday’s home loss to Oklahoma City. While the Timberwolves were losing again, the Kings were ending a six-game skid of their own, prevailing 98-91 at Chicago thanks in large part to Buddy Hield’s 21 points and eight rebounds in his first game since being demoted to the bench. The Kings will be seeking to complete a five-game trip with a second straight win, while the Timberwolves hope to wrap up a three-game homestand with a first victory.

Win: Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Sacramento Kings +3.5
Total Points: Under 226.5

BULLS VS SPURS

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

The San Antonio Spurs will try to snap a two-game losing skid on short rest when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Monday night. San Antonio is coming off a 110-106 loss on its home court against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday afternoon. It was an unusual performance in which the Spurs fared better from beyond the 3-point line (43.2 percent) than they did overall (41.5 percent). DeMar DeRozan and Derrick White scored 14 points apiece to lead the Spurs. Chicago will go for back-to-back wins after cruising to a 118-106 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night. The Bulls got a monster effort from Zach LaVine, who finished with 44 points on 16-for-30 shooting, including 5 of 12 from beyond the arc. LaVine also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished eight assists to almost tally a triple-double. This is the first of two meetings between the Spurs and Bulls this season. They are scheduled to play again March 20 in San Antonio. The game marks an annual homecoming of sorts for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who was born in East Chicago, Ind., and went to high school in nearby Merrillville, Ind.

Win: San Antonio Spurs
Line: Chicago Bulls +2.5
Total Points: Under 218.5

THUNDER VS MAVERICKS

Venue: Chesapeake Energy Arena | Start: 12:00pm AEDT

The visiting Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder square off Monday night in a battle of the 6th- and 7th-seeded teams in the Western Conference. It’s unclear if newly acquired Willie Cauley-Stein will be active for the Mavs but he was scheduled to join the club Sunday night in Oklahoma City. The Mavs are slated to get back Ryan Broekhoff on Monday night. The shooting guard fractured his left fibula and is listed as probable. He last played Dec. 29. The Thunder enter with a five-game winning streak after a 113-104 road victory Saturday over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Dennis Schroder led the way with 26 points for OKC, which played without Danilo Gallinari (sore thumb), Nerlens Noel (fractured cheek) and Terrance Ferguson (personal). The Mavs dropped a hard-fought game in Utah on Saturday night, 112-107. The Mavs have lost two of three but are 5-2 since Jan. 11, those two losses to the red-hot Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers. Luka Doncic led the Mavs with 25 points but he scored just two points in the deciding fourth quarter when the Jazz rallied to win. The Thunder, too, rallied to defeat the Mavs in the fourth quarter in the first meeting between these clubs on Dec. 31. The Thunder rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final three minutes to defeat the Mavs, 106-101 in OKC.

Win: Dallas Mavericks
Line: Oklahoma City Thunder +2.5
Total Points: Under 226.5

JAZZ VS ROCKETS

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

The Houston Rockets are likely to be without their top two stars when they visit the white-hot Utah Jazz on Monday night. James Harden (thigh) is officially doubtful while Russell Westbrook will not play with the ream resting him, per usual, on the tail end of back-to-back games. The Rockets dropped a seven-point game Sunday afternoon in Denver. Westbrook scored a game-high 32 points in 39 minutes. The Rockets-Nuggets game was the first to tip off after the news that Lakers great Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash earlier that morning. The setback was Houston’s fifth in its past seven games. The Jazz are riding a four-game winning streak after an impressive 112-107 win over the visiting Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night. Rudy Gobert scored 22 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and had five blocks to help rally the Jazz. The Jazz have lost just once in January, a six-point overtime loss in New Orleans on Jan. 16. They have won 14 of their past 15 to ascend to second in the Western Conference. This is the first meeting between the teams, but they’ll play their three-game season set in less than a month.

Win: Utah Jazz
Line: Houston Rockets +11.5
Total Points: Under 222.5