Thank the NBA schedule makers for a week of great basketball with the NFL off this week! Will the Beard and the rest of the Houston Rockets stop the young Philadelphia 76’ers on Friday, Jan. 27? What’s going to happen in Saturday’s prime time battle between the Clippers and Warriors? Does Russell and Oklahoma City have any shot against LeBron and the Cavaliers on Sunday?
NBA Best Bets Jan 23rd – Jan 29th
Houston at Philadelphia
When: Friday, Jan. 27 at 8:00 pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Analysis: Houston starts a 4-game road trip versus Eastern Conference foes this Monday, Jan. 23. The battle against the 76’ers is the third game during the road trip.
Philly can be competitive. The 76’ers have the rookie of the year on their team in center Joel Embiid. Embiid is easily one of the top centers in the NBA already. Both Jahlil Okafor and Nerlen Noel backup Embiid. The problem that Houston is going to have in this game is how to deal with Philly’s frontline. Philadelphia should have a lot of success against Houston’s bigs on Friday.
It won’t matter. Houston’s James Harden, The Beard, is the best player in the NBA this year. He averages 28.7 points, 11.6 boards, and 8.2 rebounds per game. Harden should have no trouble punishing Philly’s guards in this match up.
I like the Rockets big on Jan. 27.
L.A. Clippers at Golden State Warriors
When: Saturday, Jan. 28 at 8:30 pm ET
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Analysis: ABC’s primetime game this Saturday night has the L.A. Clippers, without Chris Paul but possibly with Blake Griffin, traveling to Oakland to battle the Warriors.
On paper, this looks like a decent match up if Griffin plays. The Clippers have a huge advantage at the center position with DeAndre Jordan. If Griff puts on the shorts and hits the court, L.A. is going to have an advantage in the paint.
But, the Warriors don’t play in the paint. They play on the perimeter. Plus, Draymond Green is as good as any player in the NBA at battling Jordan on the boards. There’s no way that Clipper guards Austin Rivers and Raymond Felton contain Steph Curry and Kyle Thompson.
Golden State rolls to a rare home cover win against the spread this Saturday.
Pick: Golden State
Oklahoma City at Cleveland
When: Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3:30 pm ET
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Analysis: Russell Westbrook takes his triple-double game to Cleveland to battle LeBron, K-Love, and Kyrie in ABC’s featured game on Sunday. Do Russell and the rest of the Thunder have any shot against LeBron and Co.?
Probably not. Still, it’s hard for me to back Cleveland after watching them yield so many points to the San Antonio Spurs over the weekend in a 118 to 115 Spurs’ win. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Cleveland hadn’t lost at home.
Oh, this could go the other way with Cleveland winning big and covering the spread. But, my gut tells me that Russell keeps the 76’ers close for at least an ATS Thunder victory.
Pick: Oklahoma City