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NBA Tips – Wednesday, March 4, 2020
HORNETS VS SPURS
Venue: Spectrum Center | Start: 11:00am AEDT
The Charlotte Hornets had matchups against top teams in the NBA in their past two games and fared relatively well. Keeping the positive vibes going will be one of the keys when they take on the visiting San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night. The Hornets won at Toronto and then two days later stayed with the Milwaukee Bucks until the final few minutes in Sunday’s loss. Those performances should add to growing confidence within the Charlotte team. The Hornets have had some glitches offensively recently, failing to reach the 90-point mark in three of their last five games. San Antonio won a Feb. 1 matchup with the Hornets at home by 114-90, part of a five-game losing streak that Charlotte was going through. The Spurs lost 116-111 on Monday night at home against the Indiana Pacers. San Antonio center LaMarcus Aldridge has missed the past three games with a sore shoulder. The Spurs are also without center Jakob Poeltl, who departed Saturday’s game with a bruised knee and is expected to miss at least two weeks. Neither team is overly productive in the post, so guards are bound to dictate the tone of this matchup. This will be the second game in Charlotte’s four-game homestand. This starts a three-game road swing for the Spurs, who are coming off three home games.
Win: San Antonio Spurs
Line: San Antonio Spurs -2.5
Total Points: Over 216.5
CELTICS VS NETS
Venue: TD Garden | Start: 11:30am AEDT
The Boston Celtics have had a couple of days to regroup in advance of Tuesday night’s game against the visiting Brooklyn Nets. Boston lost Saturday night’s 111-110 overtime game to the visiting Houston Rockets. Yet overall, the Celtics have won four of their last six games. Celtics guard Kemba Walker has bene out for five games in a row with what has been described as a score knee. Jayson Tatum has continued to pick up some of the offensive production, evident by his 32 points and 13 rebounds against Houston. That has pushed Tatum’s scoring average to 23.5 points per game. This starts a stretch of five games in eight nights for the Celtics. Brooklyn is in a challenging part of the schedule with a bevy of games against teams that are potentially playoff-bound. The Nets have a four-game losing streak after Saturday’s 116-113 defeat at Miami. Among the woes for the Nets are losses in their past three road games, though those outcomes included four- and three-point margins. New Jersey’s leading scorer is Caris LeVert at 21.9 points per game. The Nets won 112-107 against Boston on Nov. 29 at home to avenge a 121-110 road loss from two days earlier in Boston.
Win: Boston Celtics
Line: Brooklyn Nets +8.5
Total Points: Under 221.5
THUNDER VS CLIPPERS
Venue: Chesapeake Energy Arena | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
A budding rivalry that could produce a first-round playoff pairing this season adds another chapter Tuesday night when Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers visit Chris Paul and the Oklahoma City Thunder. George, an All-Star in both his seasons with the Thunder before getting traded to the Clippers last summer, will be making his second return to Oklahoma City, where he and his new teammates were beaten 118-112 in December. In and out of the lineup this season as he load-manages shoulder and hamstring issues, George has rounded into top form in recent games, going for 24 points apiece in his last two on 17-for-28 shooting and 10-for-16 on 3-pointers. Paul, one of the greatest Clippers of all time, has enjoyed a much longer run of quality efforts, having scored 17 or more points in eight of his last 11 outings, recording double-doubles three times in that stretch. He had 22 points in his earlier return to LA in November, a game the Thunder lost 90-88. The showdown pits a pair of hot teams, with the Clippers having won four straight and the Thunder five of six. They will meet for a fourth and final time this regular season in LA in April.
Win: LA Clippers
Line: LA Clippers -3.5
Total Points: Under 226.5
PELICANS VS TIMBERWOLVES
Venue: Smoothie King Center | Start: 12:00pm AEDT
This could be a test of the ability of the young New Orleans Pelicans to refocus after a high-profile game. They’ll go into Tuesday night’s home outing with the Minnesota Timberwolves fresh off Sunday night’s 122-114 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in a game that drew considerable buzz. New Orleans held a six-point lead in the fourth quarter before a shift in momentum. The Pelicans received a season-high 35 points from rookie forward Zion Williamson, whose stock seemed to rise even higher with the strong performance. The Pelicans will have to make a push toward playoff position without veteran guard J.J. Redick, who suffered a hamstring strain late last week and is expected to miss a couple of weeks. The Pelicans try to avoid consecutive losses, something that hasn’t happened since their first two games of February. The Timberwolves have lost seven of their last eight games, including Sunday’s 111-91 setback at home to the Dallas Mavericks. Guard D’Angelo Russell has led Minnesota in scoring in the past four games, though that included just 16 points in the Dallas game. New Orleans owns a 107-99 victory against Minnesota from December, when Brandon Ingram popped in 34 points for the Pelicans.
Win: New Orleans Pelicans
Line: New Orleans Pelicans -11.5
Total Points: Under 247.5
SUNS VS RAPTORS
Venue: Talking Stick Resort Arena | Start: 1:00pm AEDT
Two teams that reached low points of the season over the weekend hope to turn things around at the other’s expense when the Toronto Raptors visit the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night. The Raptors didn’t just lose a third straight for a second time this season Sunday in Denver, but did so by allowing a season-worst 133 points in a 15-point blowout loss. Injuries are adding up for the Raptors, who were without Fred VanVleet (shoulder), Serge Ibaka (knee) and Marc Gasol (hamstring) in the opener of a five-game trip. It’s possible all three could miss Phoenix as well, a team the Raptors handled easily, 118-101, at home last month. Pascal Siakam was Toronto’s big gun in that one with 37 points, but equally important was the Raptors’ 42-18 advantage in scoring from outside the 3-point line. The Suns likewise have lost three straight, including on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday against Detroit and Golden State, the latter having been able to suit up just eight players for the road contest. Things don’t get any easier for Phoenix, which still has Toronto and Milwaukee among the final three opponents on a six-game homestand. Missing Kelly Oubre Jr.’s firepower, the Suns have imported Jordan McRae off waivers in hopes of providing a spark.
Win: Toronto Raptors
Line: Toronto Raptors -3.5
Total Points: Under 224.5
NUGGETS VS WARRIORS
Venue: Pepsi Center | Start: 1:00pm AEDT
Two overlooked prospects on draft day take center stage when Michael Porter Jr. leads the Denver Nuggets up against fellow rookie Eric Paschall and the visiting Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. Porter missed all of last season after having had back surgery, perhaps justifying the 13 teams that passed on him in the 2018 draft. Still a load-management-type prospect this season, Porter has scored in double figures in 14 of his last 30 games, recording double-doubles five times, including in the Nuggets’ 134-131 overtime win at Golden State in January. His 18 points that night were two more than Paschall, who the Warriors stole with the 41st overall pick this past June. The former college champ at Villanova has ranked among the top rookies all season, having accumulated the third-most points (764) and rebounds (261). The game pits a Nuggets team that has won three in a row at home against a Golden State club that’s done its best work of late on the road, having won three of its last five away from home. Both teams had impressive wins over the weekend, with the Nuggets having thumped Toronto 133-118 on Sunday, one day after the Warriors, who suited up only eight players, snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 115-99 triumph at Phoenix.
Win: Denver Nuggets
Line: Golden State Warriors +15.5
Total Points: Under 216.5
KINGS VS WIZARDS
Venue: Golden 1 Center | Start: 2:00pm AEDT
The Sacramento Kings will go for their third win in a row when they host the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night. Sacramento is coming off back-to-back wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and Detroit Pistons, and it is 3 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings. The Kings have won five of their past six games and 11 of their past 16 to revive postseason hopes, which once seemed far out of reach. Washington is coming off a 124-110 win over the Golden State Warriors, which marked its second victory in the past three games. Bradley Beal led the way with 34 points and eight assists in the win, while Davis Bertans finished with 29 points on 9-for-14 shooting. This is the second and final matchup of the season between the teams. In the first meeting Nov. 24 in Washington D.C., the Kings held on for a 113-106 win behind a game-high 26 points from Harrison Barnes. Bogdan Bogdanovic added 21 points off the bench, and Buddy Hield finished with 18. Sacramento is 13-15 at home this season. Washington is 8-22 on the road.
Win: Sacramento Kings
Line: Washington Wizards +5.5
Total Points: Under 233.5
LAKERS VS 76ERS
Venue: Staples Center | Start: 2:00pm AEDT
The Philadelphia 76ers will play their second game at Staples Center in three days when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. On Sunday afternoon, the 76ers fell short on the road 136-130 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Philadelphia will remain short-handed without top players Joel Embiid (shoulder) and Ben Simmons (back) when it goes up against the Lakers. Both players account for a combined 40 points, 19.6 assists and 11.3 assists per game. Minus Embiid and Simmons, the 76ers turned to little-known guard Shake Milton in their last game, and he responded with a career-high 39 points on 14-for-20 shooting. The mood is much different in Los Angeles, where the Lakers have won eight of nine games and possess the best record in the Western Conference. The team is coming off a 122-114 win on the road over the New Orleans Pelicans, during which LeBron James recorded a triple-double with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists. The effort increased James’ season averages to 25.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 10.6 assists per contest. Los Angeles is 21-7 at home, while Philadelphia has stumbled to a 9-22 record on the road. The teams also played Jan. 25, with the 76ers earning a 108-91 win on their home court.
Win: LA Lakers
Line: Philadelphia 76ers +12.5
Total Points: Under 220.5