The NBA’s glorious tradition of stellar NBA match-ups on Christmas Day continues this year as the Lakers, the Heat, the Knicks and the Celtics will take it to the hardwood today. The five games on today’s slate will likely be some of the best of the entire season, so make sure to tune in while you open your presents and sip on some hot cocoa by the fire. Here is a brief look at each game and some profitable quick picks for the holiday season.
Boston Celtics 13-13 at Brooklyn Nets 14-12
After a hot start, the Brooklyn Nets have hit a rough patch, going 3-7 in their last 10 games, while the Celtics have underperformed for much of the early season. However, the Nets have been much stronger at Barclays Center, while the Celtics have struggled even more on the road. With Boston uncharacteristically having problems on the defensive end of the floor, look for the Nets to take advantage and cover -3.5 at home in the win.
New York Knicks 20-7 at Los Angeles Lakers 13-14
Having beaten the Lakers once already this season, the New York Knicks will certainly get the edge today in this match-up, but we do have to remember that game took place when the Lakers were a different team. With Steve Nash back in the lineup and with team confidence on the rise, the Lakers are riding a four-game winning streak that has seen them defeat quality opponents, like the Warriors most recently.
Of course, the Knicks have been exceptional all season long and seem to match-up particularly well against LA with all of their scoring threats. The Knicks also known Mike D’Antoni’s offense and should be able to limit transition buckets. Look for New York to cover +4 in the win today.
Oklahoma City Thunder 21-5 at Miami Heat 18-6
In what will easily be the best game of the day, the Thunder will travel to Miami for a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals. Of course, the Heat won that round, but this year the Thunder will invade South Beach with the league’s best record.
Even after losing last season’s Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to a trade with Houston, the Thunder are playing the best basketball in the franchise’s young history, leading the league in scoring by putting up more than 105 points per game.
Of course, the Heat are the defending champs for a reason. They routinely rise up and perform on big stages such as this, so expect them to come out and play with. Also, considering their history of success against the Thunder, I like them in this game. Take Miami here to cover -3 points at home, where they are 13-2 on the season.
Houston Rockets 14-12 at Chicago Bulls 15-11
The new-look Rockets haven’t launched out of the gate as many expected, but considering the stiff competition in the West, they seem like a much improved team that is certainly capable of making a playoff run this season. However, the Bulls have continued to resemble a model of consistency in the East and play the team game better than just about anyone in the conference.
Two different styles with clash here today as the fast-paced Rockets will play the half-court minded Bulls. I like Chicago in this match-up though. With a strong defense and a deliberate tempo, I think Chicago can control this game at home and force some turnovers out of Houston. Take the Bulls to cover -4.5 today.
Denver Nuggets 15-13 at Los Angeles Clippers 21-6
With the Nuggets proving to be inconsistent and the Clippers proving to be one of the NBA’s finest, this might be the easiest call of the day. LA is currently riding the longest winning streak (13-games) of any team the entire season, obviously playing better than anyone right now. When you add in the fact that they are at home against a mediocre defense, is seems like a pick for the Clipps is a no-brainer.
And luckily, the spread is not too crazy here, so take the Clippers to cover -7.5 and get the win today.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!