The Association has six games on tap for us today and many of them feature some of the league’s best teams. With only three days of NBA basketball remaining before the All-Star break, you’ll want to take advantage and get your fix starting today with a modest, but tasty sampling of games. Here are our quick picks for each of the six games on the menu.
Denver Nuggets -2 at Toronto Raptors +2
Denver may have had its nine-game win streak snapped its last time out against Boston, but there was no shortage of offensive production for one of the league’s best scoring teams, as the Nuggets still managed to put up 114 in the overtime loss. Denver hit one point below that mark the last time they played Toronto back on Dec. 3, but won that game 113-110.
The Raptors have been playing well since they acquired Rudy Gay, winning their last two games, but the Nuggets feature too potent an attack for the Raptors to deal with. Look for Denver to cover -2 in the win.
Portland Trail Blazers +11.5 at Miami Heat -11.5
The Heat have looked plenty impressive during their recent five-game winning streak, a streak that has produced another streak – LeBron’s franchise record-setting streak of five consecutive games with 30 or more points and 60% shooting.
However, the Heat will be up against a team in the Blazers that defeated them earlier this year – 92-90 on Jan. 10. Considering the Blazers are also a team that plays in many close games, expect the Heat to win, but not to cover the large spread. Take Portland to cover +11.5 in the loss.
Sacramento Kings +8.5 at Memphis Grizzlies -8.5
Both teams are coming into today’s contest on a two-game win streak, but the Grizzlies have gotten the better of the Kings in their last two meetings, beating them by more than 15 points on each occasion.
With home court advantage, look for Memphis to continue its dominance over one of the West’s weakest squads and pick up another easy win while covering -8.5.
Oklahoma City Thunder -5,5 at Utah Jazz +5.5
With a 19-6 home record, Utah has been almost unbeatable in the comforts of its own building, but with the one of the league’s best offenses coming to town, the Jazz will likely be in for a major challenge.
The Thunder are scoring 106.4 points per contest and considering they’ve already beaten Utah once this year, OKC should be able to do it again, even on the road. Take the Thunder to cover -5.5 in the win.
Phoenix Suns +9 at Los Angeles Lakers -9
Both teams in this match-up have underachieved, but only one of them faced lofty expectations in 2012-2013.
However, the Lakers are playing much better lately, winning seven of their last 10 and they’ll definitely be a favorite to win against the worst team in the West. But to spot them nine points against any team right now seems like a mistake. Since they are still without Pau Gasol and are playing with a banged up Dwight Howard, look for L.A. to win, but not by nine points. Take the Suns to cover +9 in the loss.
Houston Rockets +4.5 at Golden State Warriors -4.5
The Warriors have hit the skids recently, dropping all four games on a road trip, but they’ll be at home today, where they are 16-6 on the season. Meanwhile, the Rockets are winners of six of their last 10 and will bring in one of the most explosive offenses in the league (106.1 PPG) that will look to keep the Warriors down.
Golden State is simply too talented to stay down for long though, so expect them to bounce back at home and pick up the win, covering -4.5.