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NBA Tips – Thursday, February 6, 2020
PISTONS VS SUNS
Venue: Little Caesars Arena | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Phoenix Suns carry a three-game losing streak into Wednesday night’s game at Detroit, where there’s a matchup of teams with losing records. Phoenix hasn’t produced much traction this season, winning back-to-back games just twice since the first week in November. Center Deandre Ayton of the Suns is coming off a 25-point, 17-rebound performance Monday at Brooklyn. He also topped the Suns with five assists. Ayton, with 18.3 points per game, is third on the team in scoring this season behind Devin Booker’s 26.8 points per game and Kelly Oubre Jr.’s 18.5 points per game. Booker had led the Suns in scoring in 11 consecutive road games until Monday. Detroit has won only one of its last seven games. The Pistons had their second-lowest point total of the season with Monday’s 96-82 loss at Memphis. On the flip side, the defensive numbers reflected Detroit’s best outing in exactly two months since giving up 94 points to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Pistons guard Derrick Rose has been listed as day-to-day with a hip strain and he missed Monday’s game, which also was played without Detroit’s Markieff Morris who also has a hip ailment. This is the final stop on a three-game road trip for Phoenix. This the first of two meetings between the teams this month.
Win: Phoenix Suns
Line: Phoenix Suns -3.5
Total Points: Under 218.5
NETS VS WARRIORS
Venue: Barclays Center | Start: 11:30am AEDT
The Golden State Warriors are on only their second winning streak of the season, capturing their last two outings going into Wednesday night’s game at Brooklyn. The Warriors have won road games against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards, so that evens their record at 2-2 going into the final game of a five-game road trip. Golden State has won a total of five road games all season. Overall, the Warriors’ last three victories have come against teams in the Eastern Conference. In two February games, the Warriors have shot 50.8 percent on 3-pointers, including 18-for-35 at Cleveland and 15 of 30 at Washington. DeAngelo Russell, the leading scorer for Golden State, didn’t play Monday because of a quad injury after he went 6-for-11 from 3-point range two nights earlier. Russell is a former Nets player, and his name has been much-discussed in trade rumors. Russell was an all-star with Brooklyn last season and this would be his only game on the Nets court this season. The Nets, who are without injured guard Kyrie Irving, have won their past three home games, including Monday night’s 119-97 romp past the Phoenix Suns, with Caris LeVert pouring in 29 points to match his career high. The teams meet again next month on the West Coast.
Win: Brooklyn Nets
Line: Brooklyn Nets -6.5
Total Points: Under 223.5
RAPTORS VS PACERS
Venue: Scotiabank Arena | Start: 11:30am AEDT
The Toronto Raptors will attempt to win their 12th consecutive game Wednesday night whey they host the Indiana Pacers, a feat that would be their first in franchise history. The Raptors have won 11 in a row twice before (2016, 2018). And the outlook looks good for Toronto – it has won 11 straight regular-season home games against the Pacers. Further, the Pacers have struggled to find their rhythm with the return of Victor Oladipo, having lost three of their past four, including a confounding loss against the hapless New York Knicks. But it’s the Raptors who are firing on all cylinders. They haven’t lost since Jan. 12 and are getting scoring from up and down their lineup; Terence Davis scored a team-high 31 points in Sunday’s 27-point rout of the Chicago Bulls. Pascal Siakam leads the team in scoring (23.7 points per game) but he’s been getting plenty of help, even without Norman Powell (broken finger). This is the first of a home-and-home series between the two teams as they play again Friday night in Indiana. The Pacers won the first game of the season series, 120-115, in overtime on Dec. 23. Oladipo will continue to come off the bench until after the All-Star break.
Win: Toronto Raptors
Line: Indiana Pacers +6.5
Total Points: Under 216.5
CELTICS VS MAGIC
Venue: TD Garden | Start: 11:30am AEDT
The Boston Celtics are hitting their stride with five games remaining until the All-Star break. They look for their fifth win in a row when they host the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. Leading scorer Kemba Walker (knee) and Marcus Smart (thigh) are both questionable to play against the Magic, and both sat out the Celtics’ Monday night victory over the Atlanta Hawks. Walker hasn’t played since Jan. 30. Jayson Tatum led the Celts with 28 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor in their 123-115 win over the Hawks in Atlanta. And Grant Williams scored 13 points in 25 minutes off the bench, including a key bucket with 37.6 seconds remaining. The Magic are also coming off a victory Monday against the Charlotte Hornets, snapping a five-game losing streak. The Magic have lost seven of their past nine. In the Hornets, the Magic found a team having a worse season than they are. Nikola Vucevic scored a game-high 22 points for Orlando as the Magic shot 53.8 percent from the field and held the Hornets to 29.0 percent shooting from the 3-point line. The Celtics won the first game of the teams’ four-game series, 109-98, on Jan. 24 in Orlando.
Win: Boston Celtics
Line: Orlando Magic +5.5
Total Points: Under 208.5
THUNDER VS CAVALIERS
Venue: Chesapeake Energy Arena | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The surging Oklahoma City Thunder and the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers are set to meet for the final time this season at Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The Thunder have won seven of their last eight games and will be well rested after not playing since Friday when they defeated the Phoenix Suns, 111-107, on the road. Danilo Gallinari scored 27 points for Oklahoma City, the eighth time in his past 11 games he has topped his season average of 19.2 points. Chris Paul, who was named an All-Star Game reserve, had 20 points and 10 assists against the Suns. After adjusting to major roster changes, the Thunder are now 24-9 since late November. Oklahoma City earned a 121-106 victory at Cleveland on Jan. 4 when Dennis Schroder scored 22 points. The Cavaliers will enter on a four-game losing streak, with losses in 11 of their last 12 games. The most recent defeat came Monday in a 139-134 overtime loss at home to the lowly New York Knicks. Kevin Love had 33 points with 13 rebounds in the victory amid rumors he could be traded before Thursday’s deadline. The Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson was a late scratch Monday because of a sore right quad.
Win: Oklahoma City Thunder
Line: Cleveland Cavaliers +13.5
Total Points: Under 220.5
TIMBERWOLVES VS HAWKS
Venue: Target Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The worst team in the East meets the second-to-worst team in the West when the Atlanta Hawks travel to play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night. The good news? Somebody has to win, something neither team is accustomed to doing. The Hawks have just five wins on the road all season while the T-Wolves have mustered just six wins at home. Minnesota is engulfed in a 12-game losing streak, and the Hawks bring a two-game skid into the game. The Hawks have lost six of their past nine. The Hawks are also hobbled and will play without rookie Cam Reddish (concussion) and Deandre’ Bembry (hand). De’Andre Hunter (ankle) is questionable but leading scorer and rookie All-Star Trae Young (ankle) is probable. Both teams are coming off close losses Monday night. The Wolves dropped a four-point decision at Sacramento and the Hawks hung tough before losing by eight at home to the Boston Celtics. Karl-Anthony Towns moved into second place on the all-time franchise scoring list after his 22-point performance against the Kings. The Timberwolves will try to sweep the season series against the Hawks for the first time since 2016. Minnesota defeated the Hawks, 125-113, on Nov. 25 in Atlanta.
Win: Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Atlanta Hawks +4.5
Total Points: Under 239.5
MAVERICKS VS GRIZZLIES
Venue: American Airlines Center | Start: 12:30pm AEDT
The Dallas Mavericks keep stepping up without All-Star Luka Doncic, but will face a tough test Wednesday when they play host to the Memphis Grizzlies. Doncic has missed the last three games with a sprained ankle, but Dallas has won the last two of those contests. Kristaps Porzingis scored 38 points with 12 rebounds in a 112-103 road victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday. Doncic also missed four games earlier this season with a sprained ankle, with Dallas going 4-3 in the seven games without their superstar in the middle of December. Doncic is expected to miss at least three more games, but could return before the All-Star break later this month. The Grizzlies will enter after a 96-82 victory at home over the Detroit Pistons on Monday. Jonas Valanciunas had 26 points and 17 rebounds. Memphis’ defense held the Pistons to 29 second-half points while blocking a season-best 12 shots in the game. The Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks has scored 16.1 points per game this season and 20.5 points over his past six games. Rookie Ja Morant has 7.1 assists per game, which is up to 8.4 over his last 12 contests. The Mavericks earned a 138-122 road victory over the Grizzlies on Nov. 9.
Win: Dallas Mavericks
Line: Dallas Mavericks -5.5
Total Points: Under 226.5
JAZZ VS NUGGETS
Venue: Vivint Smart Home Arena | Start: 1:00pm AEDT
The Utah Jazz get a shot at redemption as well as an opportunity to end a four-game losing streak when they host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night. The top two teams in the Northwest Division — the Nuggets (35-16) lead the Jazz (32-17) by two games — will be meeting for the second time in a week, with Denver having taken a 106-100 decision at home last Thursday. Star big men Nikola Jokic (28 points, 10 assists) and Rudy Gobert (21 points, 11 rebounds) battled on near-even terms, which was supposed to benefit the Jazz because Jokic’s standout sidekick, Jamal Murray, was out with an ankle injury. But Utah’s Donovan Mitchell failed to take advantage, shooting 1-for-12 overall and 0-for-6 on 3-pointers during a dreadful, four-point effort. The Jazz have since made a lineup change, promoting Mike Conley back into the starting five, while the Nuggets got Murray back in Tuesday’s 127-99 home win over Portland, during which he poured in 20 points in just 20 minutes. After Wednesday’s head-to-head, the clubs won’t see each other again until twice in April, games that could have major division and playoff implications. The Nuggets’ win Tuesday was the third in their last four games.
Win: Utah Jazz
Line: Utah Jazz -9.5
Total Points: Under 215.5
CLIPPERS VS HEAT
Venue: Staples Center | Start: 2:00pm AEDT
The Miami Heat would like to exact some revenge against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night in the City of Angels. The Heat suffered a rare home loss to the Clips just five games ago, and now they have a chance to put a stain on the Clippers’ 21-5 home mark. Both teams enter the game with two-game winning streaks. The Heat are coming off a dismantling of the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night, 137-106. Former Sixer Jimmy Butler racked up a season-high 38 points in three quarters in a game that saw the Heat score 81 points in the second half. The Clippers – down by 15 in the first half – rallied to defeat the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, 108-105. The Clips have won four of their past five and are 8-2 over their past 10. It took Kawhi Leonard’s first career triple-double for the Clips to defeat the Heat, 122-117, on Jan. 24. Leonard scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half to go with his 10 rebounds and 10 assists. It nearly wasn’t enough as the Heat rallied from an 18-point deficit with 8:34 remaining, going on a 24-9 run to get within three with 34 seconds left.
Win: LA Clippers
Line: Miami Heat +6.5
Total Points: Under 224.5