Excepts from Mad Max’s Notes:
Celtics at Clippers
This is a dreaded third Western Conference road game for the Celtics. They wrap up on Friday against the Nuggets so at least it’s not an LA back to back. Kawhi Leonard will be the big question mark heading into this game. He’s a game time decision which makes betting this game pretty much a risk. If Leonard doesn’t play, it means we need to keep waiting to see the PG13 and Kawhi show in LA. The Celtics could be without Marcus Smart in this game as he hurt his ankle in Monday’s win over Phoenix.
Knicks at Sixers
These teams have something in common. They are both coming off beatdown wins over the Cavs. The Sixers return home after a 3 game road trip while the Knicks wrap up a successful 3 game home stand by winning 2 of the 3. Philadelphia has been on the road most of the season but now enjoys 13 of 18 at home. The Sixers are 4-0 at home. The Knicks are 1-6 on the road. Man, this is chalky. I want to bet Philly here since I think the Knicks regress a bit here and succumb to their road woes
Spurs at Wizards
The 4-1 start for the Spurs seems like a year ago. Sitting at 5-9, San Antonio looks like a mess out there. They need a win to break their losing streak and hope to find one in Washington. The Bullets are the third highest scoring team in the league and Bradley Beal is third in the league in scoring average. The problem is that Washington gives up a league worst 120 points per game. This game is trappy.
Warriors at Mavs
I bet against the Warriors yesterday and questioned where they would get offense from. They answered my question: everyone. It was a team effort yesterday and now they need to try to replicate that against the Mavs tonight. Draymond Green had a bear triple double last night but that pails in comparison to Mr. Triple Double Luka Doncic. The Mavs have won two in a row and that’s in part to Luka’s MVP like play and Porzingis starting to come into his own after a season plus of ACL injury recovery. I think Dallas will be too much but I’m not sure they cover this one as Dallas has not done great against the spread so far this season.
Bucks at Hawks
Two streaking teams here. The Hawks return home after losing three in a row and 4 of their 5 road games. The Bucks are riding a 4-game winning streak. For Atlanta, they’ve lost their last 3 games by an average of 28 points per game. Meth Curry has done his part. Young is averaging 27 points and is third in the league is assists per game. Another double digit spread.
Cavs at Heat
The Cavs were 4-5 but have dropped four in a row and look like they’ve already regressed or maybe starting playing to expectations. They face a Miami team that has started to click and have won 3 in a row while increasing their point differential to 7. Jimmy James Butler isn’t going crazy with scoring but is filling in several stat lines including leading the league is steals. The Cavs should have Kevin Love back tonight after sitting Monday’s game our against the Knicks.
Hornets at Nets
The Nets made two big free agents splashed and for the third straight game, they will play without either of them. Durant, of course, will miss the year but it’s Kyrie’s health in question now. He’s going to miss his third straight game. Head-case issues aside, I was always critical of Kyrie’s old man knees and his overall injury proneness. It’s his shoulder now and that’s not what this 5-win Nets team needs right now. The Hornets have more wins than the Nets but have had to do so by clawing back from double digit deficits in each game.
Magic at Raptors
Orlando has seemed to right the ship a bit as they’ve won three in a row including a solid win over the Sixers. The Raptors returned from a so-so road trip with a big home win against the Hornets on Monday. But Orlando’s recent magic might run out. The Raptors are 5-0 at home this season. Orlando is 0-4 on the road. Don’t like how this one smells.
Jazz at Timberwolves
You’d have to look all the way back to Monday night to remember the last time these teams played. The Timberwolves got the better of Utah in that one and hope for a miniseries sweep tonight in Minnesota. Karl. Anthony Towns had 29 points and 21 of those were from three pointers. KAT did a great job of luring defensive stalwart Rudy Gobert away from the net. Utah had a poor shooting night and you’d expect them to bounce back from that tonight.
Pistons at Bulls
The Bulls are not a good team. Yet only a game in the loss column separates them from Detroit. Derek Rose gets to head back to Chicago where he starred for a few years and won an MVP. That seems like ages ago and now Rose finds himself reborn a couple times over and trying to add scoring to a Pistons team that sorely needs it. The Bulls have lost 3 in a row and while Zach Levine has held up his end of the bargain, his counterpart Lauri Markkanen has not.
Rockets at Nuggets
These two teams find themselves 1-2 games respectively behind the Lakers in the West. So to say this is the matchup of the night would be an accurate one. They’ve won games differently of course. The Rockets continue to be powered by Jimmy James Harden while the Nuggets have succeeded by being an all-around good team. Houston puts its 8-game winning streak on the line tonight in Denver and it’ll be the toughest challenge they’ve faced in a while. This is too close for me.
Senators at Canadians
Montreal is coming off consecutive losses including last night’s blowout to Columbus. The Senators have won 3 of 4 ever since that beatdown from Carolina a week and half ago. The Senators have pretty much split goaltending between Craig Anderson and Anders Nillson with Nillson having better numbers despite an under .500 record. Nillson got the start last night so you imagine Anderson will get the nod tonight – which could be an advantage for Montreal. Price has been solid behind the net for Montreal but faltered last night. His backup Kincaid has not been good in his spot starts so if he goes tonight you can expect a high scoring game for both teams.
Capitals at Rangers
New York continues to try to find consistency while Washington has pretty much been unbeatable this season. For the Rangers, 3 is the key number. If they give up less than 3 goals, they are golden. More than that, they are doomed. The Capitals had been on a bit of a scoring drought lately but had a big offensive explosion against the Ducks the other night.