WELCOME to NBA Jam!
We’re going a little early with our NBA multi tip this week, because of the All-Star Weekend coming up this weekend in Toronto.
Never fear though, the ball will go a bit quiet then, but at least on Thursday you’ll have a huge games to sift through to find a good bet.
As usual, the East is away at 11am AEDT with the Charlotte Hornets hoping to buzz into Indiana and sting the Pacers, Orlando hoping to use a little Magic on the almost undefeatable San Antonio Spurs in Florida and the drama-ridden Sacramento Kings road tripping it to Philadelphia for a square of between two teams that have little to no chance of making the playoffs.
The action stays in the east with the Cleveland Cavaliers welcoming the Kobe Bryant Lakers – err, the Los Angeles Lakers – for another losing stop on the Mamba’s farewell retirement tour. Apparently there will also be a basketball game played.
The injury riddled Chicago Bulls will try to arrest their disturbing slide against the Atlanta Hawks, who are also coming off back to back losses, with the Toronto Raptors winging it to Minnesota to take on Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves.
So, let’s hope we can put you on the right track and pick out a few winners for you.
Charlotte Hornets at the line +3.5 ($1.91)
Orlando Magic at the line +9 ($1.91)
Boston Celtics win ($1.82)
Toronto Raptors win ($1.39)
Golden State Warriors at the line -16.5 ($1.91)
Combined Multi Total = $17.65
Charlotte Hornets at Indiana Pacers
Our tip: Charlotte Hornets at the line +3.5 ($1.91)
THE surprising Hornets have been sneaky good over the past couple of weeks, despite being without a couple of their genuine stars in big Al Jefferson and Nicolas Batum. They’ve also had stretches without their team leader Kemba Walker, but still managed four wins in their last five matches, including giant killing efforts over the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls last outing. Walker keyed the 108-91 win over the Bulls with a superb all round effort that yielded 30 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals. He again looms large here against an Indiana side that is just two games ahead in the Eastern Conference, as the Hornets attempt to sneak into a playoff spot. The Pacers have won three of their past four, but the opposition has been weaker and they did struggle against one of the league’s worst teams the Los Angeles Lakers. It took some magic from their star Paul George to get the job done, the athletic swingman scoring the last six points of the match to eke out an 89-87 win. Like Walker for the Hornets, George is key in this one after his 21 points and nine rebounds against the Lakers. On paper, Indiana probably wins this, but, given the Pacers less than convincing efforts over the past fortnight, Charlotte is not without its chances and should be respected here.
San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic
Our tip: Orlando Magic at the line +9 ($1.91)
No, we haven’t lost it, the Magic have actually been really competitive over their past few games. They have beaten the Atlanta Hawks twice, knocked over the flying Celtics and kept it close against the dominant Oklahoma City Thunder. And they were fantastic for three quarters in San Antonio only a week ago, going into the last break only five points down, before the Spurs’ machine kicked into gear in the 107-92 result. Big man Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and 10 boards to continue his fine season, but he was outmatched by the Spurs’ star recruit LaMarcus Aldridge who dropped 28 points with five blocks. But the match now shifts to the Magic’s home deck and that should help them bridge the gap and stick within the line, which will probably close to double digits. The young Magic still have faint hopes of making the playoffs, but this game isn’t going to help them. The Spurs, who are should win this one, but might find it a little harder than they normally would.
Los Angeles Clippers at Boston Celtics
Our tip: Boston Celtics win ($1.82)
How good are the Boston Celtics? Now third in the east behind Toronto and Cleveland, they have put together a superb season behind the play of their newly crowned all star Isaiah Thomas and a combined mix of wily veterans and young up and coming stars. Unheralded guys like Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Amir Johnson. Those men have led the green to wins in nine of their past 10 games and they don’t look like slowing down. Last outing they smashed the Sacramento Kings, with standing 31 points and 15 rebounds from DeMarcus Cousins and a 14 points, 15 assist six steal double double from Rajon Rondo on the back of 25 from Bradley, 22 from Thomas and 21 from Jared Sullinger in a 128-119 win. How are these Clippers though? Their big man and supposed best player Blake Griffin goes down and things look grim. But that hasn’t slowed them down at all. In fact, they might just be better. They have won seven of their past eight, with role players stepping up each night to support star point guard Chris Paul and their towering dynamo DeAndre Jordan. Last outing it was sharp shooter JJ Redick who poured in 23 points with three treys as they edged past the improving Philadelphia 76ers, 98-92. But the Celtics are scoring for fun with multiple options and may just have the will and the talent to get past this Clippers side, minus Griffin.
Toronto Raptors at Minnesota Timberwolves
Our tip: Toronto Raptors win ($1.39)
The Timberwolves are young and exciting, but they are no good right now. Boom big man Karl-Anthony Towns is still learning his craft, while wing scorer Andrew Wiggins is yet to take the next step. It’s a superb nucleus for the Wolves to build on, but it hasn’t translated to wins yet. They have had some recent joy, with back to back wins over playoff contenders Chicago and Los Angeles – on the back of a five game losing streak – but undid their good work with a 116-102 loss to the lowly New Orleans Pelicans. Towns had 19 points and 12 boards to lead the way, but, the broad contribution from his support group wasn’t enough to overcome the Pelicans. The Raptors responded to having an 11 game winning streak snapped by the lowly Denver Nuggets by getting back on track with three straight victories and this one should be a walk in the park to make it four, with their star back court of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan set to feast on the Wolves average defence.
Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns
Our tip: Golden State Warriors at the line -16.5 ($1.91)
This is our favourite time of the NBA day – Curry time. What will the Warriors’ MVP wizard do next? We feel a little sorry for the terrible Phoenix Suns. Maybe there should be some kind of mercy rule? But, in all honesty, if the Warriors turn up even half interested, this one should be a blow out. They are on a nine game winning streak, improving their record to a league best 46-4 – the best return from the opening 50 games of a season in NBA history. Conversely, the woeful Suns, who just fired their coach, are on an eight game losing streak and have only won once in their last 15 outings. The two teams’ last outings were both against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Phoenix was smashed, 122-106, despite 23 points from Markieff Morris and 20 from perhaps their only bright spot, young buck Archie Goodwin. The Warriors withstood a 40 point, 14 rebound effort from Kevin Durant and 27 and 12 from Russell Westbrook with an even performance that proved sharing the load will always provide more reward than individual stat stuffing. Curry led the way again in the 116-108 win with 26 points and 10 assists, while Harrison Barnes had 19 and Klay Thompson 18. This could get very, very ugly for the Suns.