Last night was a good one for NBA fans. The Pistons held off the Timberwolves in a thriller, Steph Curry did his thing, the Bulls and Suns played 48 minutes of watchable basketball, and the Nuggets had their coach and best player ejected.
Nuggets HC Michael Malone & Nikola Jokic were ejected from the game – Malone was extremely upset with no foul call. pic.twitter.com/Alt1byhmOK
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) November 20, 2017
With 11 games on the slate, I’ve picked out another three games to see if we can repeat yesterday’s 3-0 day.
Cavaliers (9-7) @ Pistons (11-5)
The Cavaliers have won four in a row, but a more in-depth look at who they have beaten doesn’t return a whole lot of confidence as they prepare to face the Pistons in Detroit.
Wins over the 2-11 Mavericks, the Knicks featuring a struggling Kristaps Porzingis, the Hornets who had lost four in a row, and an overtime victory over the Clippers missing two starters isn’t a reason to celebrate for a team like the Cavaliers.
They are improving, but their recent schedule has made them look better than they really are.
The Pistons, on the other hand, are the real deal, especially at home.
With a 7-1 home record, Detroit is up to second in the East and doesn’t look out of place in the slightest. Offensively, they aren’t blowing teams away, but they have been keeping a lid on some of the highest-scoring teams in the league of late.
Given Cleveland’s terrible defense so far this season, Detroit’s offense should get a boost. Enough of a boost to keep up their dominant record at home.
Pick: Pistons +2.5
Trail Blazers (9-7) @ Grizzlies (7-8)
I’ve harped on about the Grizzlies being a good bet as an underdog, but this is a game I can’t get on board with.
With Mike Conley out and the decidedly average Mario Chalmers taking his place, I don’t have the Grizzlies’ offense functioning well enough to outscore Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Dame dropping treys from all the way in Folsom. pic.twitter.com/I1Sz10VGXk
— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 18, 2017
Lillard is scoring 24.6 points per game, and tonight he faces a team ranked 29th when it comes to defending point guards. Memphis is giving up 24.9 points per game to point guards despite having only played against an elite player at the position in five of their 15 games.
The Grizzlies have been struggling for points without Conley; they only managed 83 points against the Rockets on Saturday. I don’t see them scoring enough to cover what should be a dominant performance from one of the best backcourt duos in the league.
Pick: Trail Blazers -2
Clippers (5-10) @ Knicks (8-7)
If there’s one player that can return from injury to a team on an eight-game losing streak and single-handedly will them to a win, it’s Patrick Beverley.
After missing five consecutive games on Clippers eight-game losing streak, guard Patrick Beverley is planning his return against Knicks on Monday, league sources tell ESPN. He's been out with a sore right knee.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 19, 2017
With reports of his return, the have Clippers already received a boost. He’s not a guy that is going to come in and fill the box score, but he’s the glue guy. He’s the one that picks them up when they are down, and boy are the Clippers down.
LA’s defensive plan will revolve around stopping Kristaps Porzingis, but it shouldn’t need too much tweaking. The Clippers are keeping opposing power forwards to 18.2 points per game – the third-fewest points at that position in the league.
Porzingis’ elbow is always a worry and has been flaring up of late.
Understandably, #Porzingis said the sleeve he wore on his right arm didn't help that much when hitting the ground. Said it would be the same thing whether wearing it or not. It's mainly the compression the sleeve provides to keep the nagging elbow from swelling. #Knicks
— Jonathan Wagner (@JonathanJWagner) November 14, 2017
He’s only been shooting 34 percent in his last three games, and up against a formidable defense at his position, his struggles might extend another night.
Pick: Clippers -1.5
- Jazz (7-10) @ 76ers (8-7)
- Pacers (9-8) @ Magic (8-8)
- Timberwolves (10-6) @ Hornets (6-9)
- Wizards (9-7) @ Bucks (8-7)
- Thunder (7-8) @ Pelicans (8-8)
- Celtcs (15-2) @ Mavericks (3-14)
- Hawks (3-13) @ Spurs (10-6)
- Nuggets (9-7) @ Kings (4-12)