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NBA Tips – Wednesday, February 26, 2020
PACERS VS HORNETS
Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Charlotte Hornets haven’t had many notable streaks of success this season, but they’re in position to pick up their fourth consecutive road victory if they can win Tuesday night’s game at Indiana. The Hornets are coming off Saturday night’s 115-86 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets. That was the seventh time this season that the Hornets failed to reach the 90-point mark in a game. Part of the latest struggle is related to low numbers by guard Devonte’ Graham, who had six points in the Brooklyn game after going scoreless in a victory at Chicago in the previous game. Reserve guard Malik Monk has helped pick up some of the offense. Forward P.J. Washington led the Hornets in scoring with 16 points vs. the Nets, marking the first time he posted a team-high total since New Year’s Eve. The Pacers received a blow when they lost guard Jeremy Lamb for the rest of the season based on torn knee ligaments suffered in Sunday’s loss at Toronto. Lamb started in 42 games and averaged 12.2 points per outing this season. Indiana had a season-low point total in the 127-81 loss at Toronto. Indiana, which is 2-7 this month, has won the past two meetings with the Hornets since Charlotte pulled off an overtime victory early in the season at home.
Win: Indiana Pacers
Line: Charlotte Hornets +10.5
Total Points: Over 209.5
RAPTORS VS BUCKS
Venue: Scotiabank Arena | Start: 11:30am AEDT
The Toronto Raptors are coming off perhaps the most impressive performance in franchise history and they take on one of the top teams in the NBA next when the Milwaukee Bucks visit for Tuesday night’s game. The Raptors pounded the Indiana Pacers by 127-81 on Sunday, marking the biggest margin of victory in franchise history. The Raptors have won 17 of their last 18 games. Kyle Lowry of the Raptors is coming off his 13th double-double of the season. Toronto has been without forward Patrick McCaw for the past two games because of illness. The Bucks are on a good roll as well with wins in eight of their last nine games. The Bucks became the first team to clinch a playoff berth during the weekend, then won 137-134 in overtime Monday night at Washington. So the grueling first segment of road games on back-to-back nights provides an additional challenge for the Bucks, who squandered a 13-point lead entering the fourth quarter at Washington. Khris Middleton racked up 40 points (including his team’s final nine) for Milwaukee in that game. Perhaps Bucks start Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t worn out by the extended game because he fouled out in regulation. This is the first of three regular-season meetings between the teams. For Toronto, this is the third game of a four-game homestand. The Raptors have won their past nine home games.
Win: Milwaukee Bucks
Line: Milwaukee Bucks -1.5
Total Points: Under 231.5
BULLS VS THUNDER
Venue: United Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
The Oklahoma City Thunder own an eight-game winning streak in road games going into Tuesday night’s matchup at Chicago. The Bulls haven’t had much success the past few weeks, though they’re coming off a victory. Oklahoma City’s road success is largely a recent thing because before this streak the Thunder were 8-10 away from home this season. The Thunder were at home in blowing out San Antonio on Sunday, with an Oklahoma City-record eight players scoring in double figures. In the previous game against Denver, seven players had double-digit point totals for the Thunder. The Thunder won a previous meeting with the Bulls, 109-106, on Dec. 16. That game resulted in some history for the Thunder, which came back from a 26-point deficit to win — it marked the largest comeback in team history. Guard Chris Paul spearheaded the rally with 19 points in the fourth quarter. Chicago’s 126-117 victory Sunday at Washington snapped an eight-game losing streak and marked a special accomplishment for rookie guard Coby White. White’s 33 points made him the only Chicago rookie other than Michael Jordan to record consecutive games with 30 or more points. Also in that game, Zach LaVine set the Bulls’ franchise record for 3-point baskets in a season with 177.
Win: Oklahoma City Thunder
Line: Chicago Bulls +7.5
Total Points: Under 219.5
NUGGETS VS PISTONS
Venue: Pepsi Center | Start: 1:00pm AEDT
The Denver Nuggets will be out for revenge, but will have to exact it against a different-looking opponent, when they host the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night. The Pistons shocked the Northwest Division leaders 128-123 earlier this month, but did so with Andre Drummond going for 21 points and 17 rebounds, while Reggie Jackson chipped in with 20 points. Neither is with the team any longer — Drummond having been dealt to Cleveland and Jackson bought out — and the Pistons have yet to win in the six games since their star center was exported. That losing streak reached six on Sunday night in a 107-104 defeat at Portland, a game in which two newcomers — Brandon Knight (season-high 15 points) and John Henson (eight points, seven rebounds) — made significant contributions off the bench. The Nuggets lost at Detroit despite getting a triple-double from Nikola Jokic, who is averaging 27.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists in eight games in February. The Nuggets had lost two in a row before turning things around at the expense of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday in a 128-116 victory. The injury-riddled Nuggets finally had all hands on deck, with Paul Millsap, who missed 16 games recently with a bruised left knee, going for a season-best 25 points.
Win: Denver Nuggets
Line: Denver Nuggets -13.5
Total Points: Under 214.5
TRAIL BLAZERS VS CELTICS
Venue: Moda Center | Start: 2:00pm AEDT
Life goes on for two teams missing their star point guards when the Boston Celtics visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. The Celtics tip off a back-to-back sequence without Kemba Walker, who will miss the team’s entire four-game trip with a sore left knee. Boston has managed a split in the first two games of the trip, winning 127-117 at Minnesota before battling the Los Angeles Lakers to the bitter end of a 114-112 loss on Sunday. Jayson Tatum has taken up the scoring slack in Walker’s absence, averaging 34.5 points in the two games, capped by a 41-point explosion against the Lakers. Sunday’s defeat was just Boston’s second in its last 11 games. The Trail Blazers got a pair of high-output performances in a 107-104 home win over Detroit on Sunday in their second straight game without Damian Lillard, who is battling a strained right groin. CJ McCollum bombed in 41 points and Carmelo went for a season-best 32 in the win, which snapped Portland’s three-game losing streak. The teams will be meeting for the first time this season, with Portland needing win to complete a winning three-game homestand. Boston will host the rematch on March 27.
Win: Boston Celtics
Line: Boston Celtics -7.5
Total Points: Under 233.5
LAKERS VS PELICANS
Venue: Staples Center | Start: 2:00pm AEDT
Zion Williamson will have plenty of guides to show him around Los Angeles before he makes his Southern California NBA debut Tuesday night when the New Orleans Pelicans visit the Lakers. Williamson has played six road games since getting activated following knee surgery on Jan. 22, with the Pelicans winning five of them. That includes the first two stops on a three-game trip, with Williamson having contributed 25 points to a 128-115 win at Portland and 28 points to a 115-101 win at Golden State. New Orleans has dazzled its last two opponents with fancy passing (total of 70 assists) and accurate long-range shooting (total of 35 3-pointers). Five teammates will LA ties will accompany Williamson on the trip finale, with former Lakers Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart joining former Clipper JJ Redick and ex-UCLA standout Jrue Holiday. Without Williamson, that fivesome didn’t have a happy homecoming when the Pelicans fell 123-113 in LA last month. The Lakers have won both previous meetings this season, and will take a five-game winning streak into Tuesday’s head-to-head. LA will be looking to compete a perfect three-game homestand after having dispatched of Memphis 117-105 and then Boston 114-112 on Sunday thanks to some late-game magic by LeBron James.
Win: LA Lakers
Line: LA Lakers -7.5
Total Points: Under 239.5
WARRIORS VS KINGS
Venue: Chase Center | Start: 2:30pm AEDT
The Sacramento Kings will go for their third win in a row when they visit the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. Sacramento has won three straight games only one time this season, from Dec. 8-11, when it knocked off the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. This time, the Kings are looking to build upon back-to-back victories over the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers. Kent Bazemore scored 23 points off the bench for the Kings in their most recent performance, while De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic finished with 20 points apiece. Buddy Hield scored only seven points on 2-for-7 shooting and will look to bounce back against the Warriors. As Sacramento is showing signs of life, Golden State is in a tailspin with six straight losses. The Warriors’ most recent setback was a 115-101 setback against the New Orleans Pelicans. Damion Lee scored a team-high 22 points for the Warriors, who had no answer on defense for Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson. This is the third out of four meetings between the Kings and Warriors this season. Sacramento has won each of the first two contests — a 100-79 blowout win on the road Dec. 15, and a 111-98 win at home Jan. 6.
Win: Sacramento Kings
Line: Sacramento Kings -6.5
Total Points: Under 222.5