My NBA 5 Star Lock Picks article for this week is all about top teams. The first game pits New York against San Antonio. Can New York’s terrific young top draft pick take it to one of the top front courts in the league? On Saturday, Chicago battles Atlanta in a game between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Then, on Sunday, New Orleans and their MVP candidate travel to Los Angeles to take on L.A.’s “A” Team, the Clippers.
A Closer Look At My NBA 5 Star Lock Picks Jan 4-10
New York at San Antonio
When: Friday, Jan. 8 at 8:30 pm ET
Analysis: The Knicks have turned into a real basketball team. Although it’s only one game, Carmelo Anthony scored only 11 points while dishing 5 assists, grabbing 9 boards and committing 3 thefts on Jan. 3. The Knicks beat Atlanta 111 to 97.
Could Melo and the Knicks do the same thing to San Antonio on Friday? That’s not likely. As good as the Knicks looked against the Hawks the Spurs are an entirely different team. San Antonio is ranked first in offensive field goal percentage at 48.9%. They are ranked third in defensive field goal percentage at 42.6%. San Antonio averages 103.1 points per game while allowing only 89.2 points per game. San Antonio easily wins this.
Pick: San Antonio
Chicago at Atlanta
When: Saturday, Jan. 9 at 5:00 pm ET
Analysis: Atlanta is only a half a game behind Miami at 21 and 14 in the Southeast Division to start the week. But the Hawks are 9 and 9 against the spread at home. Atlanta’s opponents shoot 44.8% from the field and 36.8% from behind the three-point line.
The last time that Chicago played Atlanta, last April, the Bulls beat the Hawks 91 to 85. If anything, Chicago’s defense has gotten better this season. The Bulls are ranked first in the NBA in defensive field goal percentage at 41.7%. The problem for Chicago is on the offensive end where they shoot 43.3%. Still, Chicago matches up well with the Hawks. I’m going with the Bulls.
New Orleans at L.A. Clippers
When: Sunday, Jan. 10 at 3:30 pm ET
Analysis: New Orleans is coming around. They still rely too much on Anthony Davis, he leads the Pelicans inpoints per game, 23.4, rebounds per game, 11.1, and field goal percentage at 49.2%. But, the Pelicans are starting to understand how to play in former Golden State Warriors Associate Head Coach Alvin Gentry’s system.
The problem for the Pelicans is that they don’t have all of the pieces for the system to work. You’d think that without Blake Griffin, the Pelicans could beat the Clippers. That’s not the case. L.A. has won 6 straight games going into the week. They beat New Orleans 95 to 89 in New Orleans on Dec. 31. L.A. is only 7-9-1 ATS at home, but putting a guard-forward, like Wesley Johnson or Austin Rivers, into the line-up with Chris Paul, J.J. Reddick and DeAndre Jordan, is working. Clipps should roll on Sunday.
Pick: Los Angeles Clippers