Analyzing and Predicting tonight's match ups in the NBA: Monday, January 14th
Following a day that saw two of the NBA's worst teams picking up an upset win, we're back in action with a relatively light slate of 6 games for Monday night.
Boston Celtics @ Brooklyn Nets - 7:30pm ET
In the first meeting between these two Eastern Conference teams, the Celtics comfortably beat the Nets by over 20 points.
That said, the Celtics have struggled the past few days dropping inexcusable games to the Magic and Heat respectively. Although they still boast one of the best records in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics need stronger play from their key bench players in order to keep them competitive moving forward.
Meanwhile, the Nets are also coming into this affair off of a loss. They've posted an up and down season to date, but still, find themselves within relative striking distance of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
Watching the Nets, it is quite evident they're missing the offensive production of injured Caris LeVert. That said, they are a scrappy bunch and find a way to win a lot of games they shouldn't.
Prediction: Brad Stevens coached basketball teams don't typically drop three games in a row. Despite playing some ugly basketball the past few days and the dysfunction around Kyrie Irving in the clubhouse, look for the Celtics to bounce back with a hard-fought win and to avoid that 3rd consecutive loss.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Houston Rockets - 8pm ET
Houston and Memphis have met twice before on the year with Houston blowing Memphis out in both affairs.
Memphis has struggled mightily as of late, winning just one of their last eight games. Most recently dropping a contest to Miami, the once promising start to the Grizzlies season has come crashing down.
Houston comes into the matchup off of an uncharacteristic loss to the Magic. However, star guard James Harden shot a horrific 1-17 from three and that sort of lackluster production isn't likely to continue when it comes to Harden. If Harden's three ball is going, the Rockets are one of the most deadly and effective offenses in the league.
Prediction: Houston will be a bit tired coming off a game last night, but thankfully get the matchup at home. Don't expect a repeat of Harden's 1-17 performance from deep and instead look for Houston to continue the league-wide trend of beating up on the Grizzlies.
Charlotte Hornets @ San Antonio Spurs - 8:30pm ET
Charlotte and San Antonio are matching up for the first time on the season. Having not matched up since November of 2017, both teams look entirely different compared to the last time they squared up.
Charlotte comes into the matchup on the heels of three straight losses. Despite Kemba Walker finding his rhythm again in their loss to the Kings, the Hornets don't offer him the quality supporting cast he needs to consistently win in the NBA.
On the other hand, the Spurs are coming off a supremely exciting two-game series against the Thunder. After dropping the second half of the matchup against their fellow Western Conference elite, the Spurs will look to get back on track tonight against the Hornets.
Prediction: San Antonio is rested, playing at home, and by far the better of the two basketball teams. The Spurs play extremely well at home and look for that trend to continue as the Spurs handily take down the Hornets.
Detroit Pistons @ Utah Jazz - 9pm ET
The Pistons and Jazz have squared up once before on the year with the Jazz taking down the Pistons in a game that saw the Jazz claw themselves out of nearly a 20 point first quarter deficit.
Behind the stellar outing from Blake Griffin, the Pistons found themselves back in the win column on Saturday. Dropping 44 points in a revenge game against his former team, Griffin single-handedly willed the Pistons to victory. Considering their recent struggles, they'll need all the help from Griffin they can get against the Jazz.
Utah are coming into the matchup having three straight wins to their name. While two of those wins have come over the lowly Bulls and Magic, they do have a win over the Lakers - who despite missing LeBron are still a decent team.
Utah have been playing their trademark lockdown defense across the 3 game streak, allowing just 96.7 points per game during the stretch.
Prediction: Blake Griffin had a superhuman effort in the Piston's last outing and they barely came away with the win. Unless Griffin goes supernova against a staunch Utah defense, look for the Jazz to lock up the Pistons and grind their way to another ugly win.
Portland TailBlazers vs Sacramento Kings - 10pm ET
In what should be one of the more fast-paced and exciting matchups on the night, the established Trail Blazers take on the up and coming Kings. These two teams met once before on the season with the Blazers picking up an overtime win.
Portland takes to the road on the second half of a back to back. Having just dropped a close game to the conference-leading Nuggets, the Trail Blazers are coming into the matchup both tired and disheartened after their 4th quarter push came up short.
Sacramento comes into the matchup off of two straight wins to put them over .500. With De'Aaron Fox carving up defenses on the pick and roll with Cauley-Stein and the duo of Hield and Bogdanovic lighting things up from deep; the Kings actually pose a surprisingly well rounded roster.
Prediction: The Trail Blazers will be worn out from a hard-fought game in the mile high city while the Kings are rested and playing at home. Playing some of their best basketball of the season right now, look for the Kings to pull an upset victory behind strong performances from their young core.
New Orleans Pelicans @ Los Angeles Clippers - 10:30pm ET
In what looks to be the marquee matchup of the evening, the Pelicans take to the road to face the Clippers. Having met twice on the year, the teams sit at one win a piece heading into this swing matchup.
Coming off a frustrating loss to the Timberwolves where they fell apart late, the Pelicans are looking to get back on track against the Clippers. Even strong performances from Davis, Randle, and Holiday weren't enough to overcome the sheer dominance of Karl Anthony-Towns.
The Clippers were also on the receiving end of a "nuclear" performance courtesy of Blake Griffin in their last outing. Losers of two straight, the Clippers are hoping that another shot in front of their home crowd is what will help get them back on track.
Prediction: Davis and company should be rightfully angry after dropping a close game to the Timberwolves. Look for more big performances from the Davis, Randle, and Holiday trio mixed in with a bit more support from their bench. The Clippers continue their losing ways as they should drop this one to the Pelicans.
That's all for Monday night in the NBA! Check back in tomorrow for more analysis and predictions on the day of NBA action. Headlined by a Nuggets-Warriors showdown, there should be no shortage of quality basketball to binge watch.