What an NBA All-Star Weekend! On Saturday, Adam LaVine and Aaron Gordon put on one of the best NBA All-Star Dunk Contests in history. LaVine won by 3 points over the equally athletically gifted Gordon.
After a few days off, it’s back to the grind for NBA teams. On TNT on Thursday, is a terrific matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Friday on ESPN, Boston battles Utah in Salt Lake City while Saturday’s ABC marquee matchup has the unbelievable Golden State Warriors taking on the Los Angeles Clippers in Southern California.
Chicago at Cleveland
When: Thursday, Feb. 18 at 8:00 pm ET
Right when Derrick Rose was settling into his comfort zone as the second option to Jimmy Butler, Butler had to go and get himself hurt. Butler is out until early March. Joakim Noah is out for the season. Taj Gibson is questionable for this Thursday matchup. Nikola Mirotic is out indefinitely due to an appendix issue he suffered on Feb. 10.
It sure looks like it’s setting up for the Cavaliers who have won 3 in a row. What’s more impressive is that the Cavs scored 120 points in their 2 games before the All-Star Break. Although Chicago beat Cleveland 96 to 83 the last time that these 2 teams met, expect LeBron and Co. to flip the script. The Cavs should cover on Thursday.
Boston at Utah
When: Friday, Feb. 19 at 10:30 pm ET
Boston has been one of the hottest teams in the NBA since around mid-January. The Celtics are a terrific 13 and 4 straight up in their last 17 games. They also have a winning ATS road record going 16 and 12 on the road this season. Boston is ranked fourth in field goal percentage defense at 43.5%. They are ranked third in field goal percentage defense at 32.5%. Even though they don’t shoot all that well from the field or from three, they average 105.7 points per game. It means that Boston is great at quickly getting into their offense and quickly getting back on defense. The Celtics are worth a wager on the money line since they have a better than even money chance, based on my handicapping, to upset the Jazz on the road this Friday night.
Golden State at Los Angeles Clippers
When: Saturday, Feb. 20 at 8:30 pm ET
Golden State is the most amazing basketball team that the NBA has ever seen. The Warriors are an awesome 48 and 4. That’s just unbelievable. It’s hard to imagine that the Warriors don’t suffer some sort of drop-off in the second half of the season.
The Clippers lost by 7 the last time that they faced Golden State. The game took place on Nov. 19. The score was Golden State 124 and Los Angeles Clippers 117. Although it’s tough to bet against the Warriors, the Clippers might have an edge at the point-guard position with Chris Paul. If CP3 can control the flow of the game, that means getting center DeAndre Jordan plenty of touches in the paint, the Clipps could pull off the upset.
The Warriors’ last loss was to Detroit. Pistons’ Center Andre Drummond grabbed 21 rebounds in that game. In order to beat Golden State, Jordan has to have a similar type game for the Clippers on Saturday. He can do it.
Pick: Los Angeles Clippers