Excerpts from Mad Max’s notes:
Celtics at Pacers
The Celtics have won 4 in a row but three of those were at home. Now they hit the road to face a Pacers team that is 9-3 at home straight up but only 5-5-2 ATS. Kemba Walker has been stellar for Boston this season. Ironically, Kemba’s points per game are his lowest since 2015 – a sign that he’s not having to do everything by himself. And now that Gordon Hayward is back, Boston should be firing on all cylinders again. The Pacers are similar in that they have multiple options for offense and they still don’t have their best player on the floor. I can see this being an epic playoff series down the road. But for tonight, I’ll give the edge to Boston
Clippers at Raptors
After leading the Raptors to a championship and then leaving for LA, Kawhi returns to Toronto for the first time tonight. Kawhi sat out on the Clippers last game on Monday so he’ll be good to go tonight as the Raptors will give him a nice ceremony before the game. Toronto broke a 3-game losing streak on Monday and are now 9-2 in Toronto after consecutive home losses. With Fred VanVleet listed as questionable, it’s hard for me to back the Raptors here.
Lakers at Magic
The Lakers have one road loss this season and it happened in their own building. They are 11-1 straight up and 7-4 ATS on the road and face a Magic team that had their winning streak snapped on Monday against the Bucks. Anthony Davis has been playing insanely good lately and the Lakers are cruising to the top seed in the West. The Magic are still without Vucevic – which would make them a bit of a harder matchup for LA.
Rockets at Cavs
The Rockets lost a close one on Monday but what stings is that they coughed up an 11-point lead. The Cavs don’t remember the last time they’ve had a lead in a game and are riding a 7-game losing streak. The biggest positive for Cleveland was that they cut a 29-point lead by the Celtics down to only 12 points on Mondays loss. Cleveland is 8-13-2 ATS this season and has lost by double digits in 3 of their last 4. The Rockets aren’t lighting the world on fire lately…
Hornets at Nets
Kyrie Irving is still out for the Nets and at this point I wonder if they should just shut him down for the season and wait for KD to be back with him. And honestly, the Nets are playing very well without him. They are 8-2 in their last 10 and have won 3 in a row and make it 4. They should win this game but that’s a lot of chalk for the Nets here even against a team like Charlotte.
Hawks at Bulls
The Hawks had the Heat dead to rights yesterday and then they didn’t. And they lost in OT by 14. Now they get to play a back to back against a Bulls team that has lost 3 in a row. Both teams aren’t teams you can confidently bet on but after that deflating loss, last night, I really wonder how the Hawks react.
Jazz at Timberwolves
The Jazz are just 4-6 in their last 10 games but face a T-Wolves team that have lost 5 in row. It’s interesting that the Jazz defense has been one of the critical issues where it used to be a strength for them. They are also dealing with a ton of turnovers which are resulting in a lot of transition points being given up. The T-Wolves are also having defensive woes. They have given up close to 129 points per game over their last five games. I like Utah to break out of their funk more than Minnesota but it’s too damn close.
Knicks at Warriors
Well, I bet on the Knicks yesterday and it bit me in the ass. So much for playing hard for a new coach. That makes 10 straight losses for New York and now they are underdogs to the Warriors – a team that has only 2 more wins than the Knicks in that stretch. I really don’t like much today to bet on today and here’s another one.
Bruins at Capitals
Great matchup here. Both teams coming off losses on Monday. That made it 3 losses in a row for the Bruins. Hard to believe they will lose 4 in a row but it’s going to happen. I like the Caps here to get the win.
Flyers at Avalanche
Both teams playing very well lately. The Avalanche coming off a loss on Monday to Calgary. The Flyers haven’t played since Saturday and should be well rested. Flyers good team on the road and there’s value there.