NBA Picks of the Day - 10 January 2019
Thursdays are intriguing days in the NBA; there are typically fewer games, but there's always a sweet doubleheader with some kind of rivalry or highly anticipated matchup, in addition to whatever other game may be going on.
Tonight's doubleheader is a throwback to 7 years ago, as the matchups are reminiscent of the 2012 Eastern and Western Conference Finals as the Boston Celtics take on the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the San Antonio Spurs.
In addition, we will see the Western Conference's first-seeded Denver Nuggets in action against the Los Angeles Clippers as well as the only cross-conference game as the Detroit Pistons take on the Sacramento Kings.
Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat
If you read yesterday's article, you'd understand the logic when it comes to predicting who will win games. Unless there's a massive talent discrepancy, fatigue and travel must play a big role in electing the winner.
The Celtics will be on the second night of a back-to-back and will travel from Boston to Miami. However, they easily handled the Indiana Pacers thus their starters should be better rested.
Even if they'll be a little sluggish, let us assume they'll be able to pull it together enough to beat the Heat. The Celtics have a litany of guys to throw at Justice Winslow and Josh Richardson and Al Horford should be able to keep Hassan Whiteside in check – if Whiteside doesn't do a good enough job of that himself. Celtics win 114-105.
Los Angeles Clippers vs Denver Nuggets
Currently, both teams enter the game in the top half of the West playoff picture and have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games. This matchup will feature two of the deepest benches the NBA has to offer. We all know about the elite productivity that the Clippers have at their disposal in Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and of course, Boban Marjanovic.
Denver, while dealing with a plethora of injuries, have managed to keep their heads above water and hold the West's first seed. This game should be fairly evenly matched, but let us give the advantage to the home Denver Nuggets; it also helps that they have the best player amongst the two teams in Nikola Jokic. Nuggets win 128-120.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs San Antonio Spurs
Before we get into this breakdown, thoughts and prayers go out to Nerlens Noel who had a scary fall last game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Fortunately, he has no fractures and should be able to recover from his concussion soon.
Anyways, this will be a fun game. Given both teams current form, this might be a playoff matchup in April. On one side, we have the exciting play of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and the Thunder versus the slow, fundamentally sound game that the Spurs have trademarked for over two decades.
However, when it comes down to it, the Thunder should win this game. If PG-13 can bother DeMar DeRozan while Steven Adams does hold it down in the paint, the Thunder should be able to drum up enough offence to hand the Spurs an L. Thunder win 117-111.
Detroit Pistons vs Sacramento Kings
In the final game of the night, we see the Pistons continue their visit to California as they head to the state's capital to take on the Kings. Once again, this can be viewed through the scheduling lens: the Pistons are on the second night of a back-to-back, and while travelling from Los Angeles to Sacramento isn't crazy, it's travel nonetheless.
Besides, more faith should be put in the manner in which the Kings play (fast-paced, high octane offence led by De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield) rather than in the Pistons offence run through Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Seriously, when was the last time the Pistons had a competent point guard? Kings win 112-104.
That's going to do it for today's predictions regarding NBA action, there will be more predictions for tomorrow.