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NBA Tips – Saturday, February 1, 2020
PISTONS VS RAPTORS
Venue: Little Caesars Arena | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Detroit Pistons try to snap a four-game losing streak when they face the hot Toronto Raptors on Friday night at home. Toronto has won nine consecutive games, including Thursday night’s 115-109 escape at Cleveland, boosted by Serge Ibaka’s 26 points. Norman Powell had eight of his 16 points in the final minute for the Raptors, who had a 13-point edge shrink to one in the fourth quarter. Toronto won 112-99 on a mid-December visit to Detroit and also defeated the Pistons in late October at home. Detroit has lost each of the four games in the skid by double-digit margins, though last Friday’s home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies came in overtime. Reggie Jackson has led the Pistons in scoring the past two games, albeit with 16- and 23-point outings. Those are the only times he has been the team’s leading scorer this season in the six games in which he has played. Pistons guard Derrick Rose has missed some time with a sore knee, but he has produced 20 or more points in 13 consecutive games in which he has played. Detroit center Andre Drummond continues to be one of the league’s most consistent rebounders with 15.6 per game. The Pistons are 1-6 in January home games.
Win: Toronto Raptors
Line: Toronto Raptors -4.5
Total Points: Under 220.5
NETS VS BULLS
Venue: Barclays Center | Start: 11:30am AEDT
It has been a rough month for the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets, two teams who wrap up January with Friday night’s game at Brooklyn. The Bulls began the month with five straight losses and managed back-to-back victories only once. Brooklyn, which started the month with four consecutive defeats, has lost six of its last eight games. Neither the Bulls nor Nets have been overly successful, though their records are similar; Brooklyn has a 20-26 record and Chicago at 19-31. The Nets are led by guard Kyrie Irving’s 26.8 points per game and he’ll be in just his second game since last weekend’s death of former NBA start Kobe Bryant. Irving sat out the night of Bryant’s death because he felt he was too emotionally distraught to play. Irving was back in action for Wednesday night’s home victory against the Detroit Pistons, scoring 20 points. Spencer Dinwiddie had 28 points for Brooklyn in his first game since changing his jersey number from the No. 8 (a number once worn by Bryant) to No. 26. Zach LaVine paces Chicago’s scoring with 25.1 points per game. The Bulls received a career-high 21 points from Chandler Hutchison in Wednesday night’s 115-106 overtime loss at Indiana. The Nets won 117-111 against Chicago on Nov. 16, with Dinwiddie posting 24 points in that meeting.
Win: Brooklyn Nets
Line: Chicago Bulls +5.5
Total Points: Under 220.5
ROCKETS VS MAVERICKS
Venue: Toyota Center | Start: 11:30am AEDT
The second installment of Luka Doncic vs. James Harden this season is going to have wait until March. The Mavs will be without their superstar Friday night when they travel to Houston to play James Harden and the Rockets. Doncic injured his right ankle during practice Thursday and will not make the trip to Houston. He’s reportedly unlikely to play Saturday night against the Atlanta Hawks, too. Doncic will have an MRI on the ankle Friday morning; it’s the same ankle Doncic injured in December that forced him to miss four games. Doncic reportedly stepped on a teammate’s foot during practice. Too bad, too – Doncic went for a game-high 41 points in a 137-123 win over the Rockets in their first meeting Nov. 24. Harden led the Rockets with 32. Both teams are coming off losses, the Mavs on Tuesday night and the Rockets on Wednesday. The Mavs were never in their home game against the Phoenix Suns, losing 133-104. Devin Booker dropped 32 points and the Suns never trailed. The Rockets lost at Portland, 125-112, to finish 2-2 on their road trip. Damian Lillard notched his first career triple-double to spoil Harden’s return from a two-game absence with a thigh contusion.
Win: Houston Rockets
Line: Houston Rockets -8.5
Total Points: Under 236.5
PELICANS VS GRIZZLIES
Venue: Smoothie King Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans were hot when they played 11 days ago and both remain hot when they tangle Friday night in New Orleans. The Pelicans knocked off the Grizzlies on Jan. 20, 126-116. The win was their sixth in January against four losses. They did it without Zion Williamson, who hadn’t made his season debut yet. The Pelicans enter Friday night on a two-game winning streak with wins over the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Grizzlies have won four of five since that loss to the Pelicans. Memphis evened its record to .500 for the first time this season after Wednesday’s win over the New York Knicks. That’s no small feat after starting the season 2-7 and 6-16. Dillon Brooks scored a game-high 27 points and Ja Morant went for 18 points and 10 assists against the Knicks. But all the attention in the league has centered on Zion Williamson, who is coming off a 14-point game vs. the Cavs in his NBA road debut. Williamson is averaging 18.0 points per game in his first four games of the season. The rookie is shooting 63.3 percent from the floor while averaging 24.0 minutes per game since his Jan. 22 debut.
Win: New Orleans Pelicans
Line: New Orleans Pelicans -7.5
Total Points: Under 242.5
SUNS VS THUNDER
Venue: Talking Stick Resort Arena | Start: 1:00pm AEDT
The Oklahoma City Thunder continue their magical run when they visit the Phoenix Suns on Friday night. The Thunder have won six of seven and are coming off a 20-point win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night. Dennis Schroder continues to be a beast for the Thunder; his 24 points against the Kings led the team for the third game in a row. Schroder shot 8-for-13 from the floor, and is averaging 24.6 points per game over his last five. Schroder is averaging 19.0 for the season. The Thunder were a middling 14-14 team when they defeated the Suns in their first meeting Dec. 20, 126-108. OKC is 15-6 since that win. The Suns can end January with a winning record if they can topple the Thunder. Phoenix is 7-7 in the new year and is coming off a dismantling of the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night. The Suns went into Dallas and won by 29 points, never trailing in the game. Devin Booker scored 20 points in the third quarter en route to a 32-point night. Booker shot 12-for-20 from the floor and got help from Deandre Ayton, who added a season-high 31 points.
Win: Phoenix Suns
Line: Phoenix Suns -1.5
Total Points: Over 223.5
BUCKS VS NUGGETS
Venue: Fiserv Forum | Start: 1:00pm AEDT
The Milwaukee Bucks are coming off a notable offensive performance even by their standards when they play Friday night at home against the Denver Nuggets. It’s the middle game of a three-game homestretch, but just the second game in a week’s time for the Bucks, who posted a 151-131 victory Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards in their first game since returning from last week’s triumph against Charlotte in Paris. Khris Middleton poured in a career-high 51 points in the game. Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 30 points per game for the Bucks, but he didn’t play in the game earlier this week because of a shoulder injury. Milwaukee, coming off its season-high point total, is averaging 121.8 points per game in home outings, so the Washington game was an outlier among those. The Bucks posted a franchise-record 88 points in the first half of that game. Milwaukee, which holds a nine-game winning streak, has been resting while Denver had a game Thursday night, defeating the Utah Jazz 106-100. Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets had 28 points and 10 assists. That game served as a showdown between Western Conference teams, so the Nuggets will have to refocus quickly on their next task.
Win: Milwaukee Bucks
Line: Denver Nuggets +12.5
Total Points: Under 226.5
LAKERS VS TRAIL BLAZERS
Venue: Staples Center | Start: 2:30pm AEDT
The Los Angeles Lakers play their first game since the death of Kobe Bryant on Friday night when they host the Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers last played Saturday in Philadelphia when they dropped a 108-91 decision to the 76ers to end a five-game road trip. But they returned home to the tragic news of Bryant’s death, and their next game Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers was postponed. The Blazers come in on a two-game winning streak after ripping up the Houston Rockets at home Wednesday night. Damian Lillard was scintillating in putting together his first career triple-double. Lillard went for 36 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds and shot 11-for-21 from the floor. Lillard, who averages 29.0 points per game on the season, is averaging 36.3 points per game over his past 10 contests. It’s the third and final game between the teams this season with the Lakers going for the season sweep. The Lakers won both games in Portland, 136-113 on Dec. 6 and then 128-120 on Dec. 28. Lillard went for 29 and 31 in the two losses. The Blazers have won three of their past four as they continue their quest to creep into playoff contention.
Win: LA Lakers
Line: LA Lakers -13.5
Total Points: Under 230.5