The NBA returns to regular action this Thursday, February 23. As always the very best in the NBA hit the hardwood. On Thursday, a potential Western Conference Finals preview takes place when the L.A. Clippers travel to Oakland to battle the Warriors. Will the Clippers come out on top in a key road game versus Golden State? Saturday’s ABC primetime battle has Cleveland hosting Chicago. Does Chicago have enough top players to deal with King James and his cohorts? This Sunday, NBA TV broadcasts an intriguing matchup between New Orleans and Oklahoma City. Is Feb. 26 Russell’s day? Or, will the day belong to unbelievable Pelican player Anthony Davis?
NBA Best Bets Feb 20th – 26th
L.A. Clippers at Golden State
When: Thursday, Feb. 23 at 8:00 pm ET
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Analysis: Once again, it appears that Golden State will run away with the Western Conference. The Warriors sit at 47-9 to start the week. But, Golden State’s ATS record is only 27-27-2. The Warriors are only 14-12-1 against the spread in home games this season.
Are the Clippers healthy enough to beat Golden State against the spread on Thursday? Maybe. Although point-guard Chris Paul is out until sometime in March, the Clippers have figured out how to play with Austin Rivers in the starting five. LAC won its last 4 games before the All-Star break. Clippers forward Blake Griffin has turned into a sort of point-forward. He dished 9 assists while scoring 17 points and grabbing 5 boards in the Clippers’ 99 to 84 win over Atlanta on Feb. 15.
Golden State, like always, should be over bet in this game. What it means is that the Clippers are going to be a much kinder dog than what they should be. I’m taking the points. I think L.A. also has a shot of beating Golden State straight up.
NBA Best Bet: L.A. Clippers over Golden State
Chicago at Cleveland
When: Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8:30 pm ET
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Analysis: The last time the Bulls played against Cleveland, they punished the Cavaliers. Chicago dominated the Cavs 106 to 94 as a plus 3.5 road dog. The game happened on Jan. 4 this year, meaning that it wasn’t all that long ago.
Still, it’s hard to see Chicago repeating their upset win over the Cavaliers this Saturday. The defending champions were without two of their most important players, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Love won’t play. Kyrie Irving should. Not only that, but Kyle Korver wasn’t on the Cavs’ roster in that earlier game. Korver has found his shooting touch. He had double-digit scoring games in 6 out of the Cavs’ last 8 before the all-star break.
I like the Cavaliers against the spread in this match up.
NBA Best Bet: Cleveland over Chicago
New Orleans at Oklahoma City
When: Sunday, Feb. 26 at 7:00 pm ET
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
TV: NBA TV
Analysis: The New Orleans Pelicans are 23 and 34. They’ll need to make a mad rush in the second half of the season to make it to the NBA Playoffs. I’m not sure if they’re capable of doing it.
The last time New Orleans battled Oklahoma City, on Jan. 25, the Pelicans lost 105 to 114. The problem with New Orleans’ match up against the Thunder is that Oklahoma City has the right player to counter New Orleans’ up and down game.
Nobody can handle Russell Westrbook in the open court. Westbrook beat up Oklahoma City with 27 points, 12 boards, and 10 assists in the last matchup. The Thunder held the Pelicans’ best player, Anthony Davis, to 8 points, 5 boards, and 2 personal fouls in 16 minutes.
Even if Davis plays 40 minutes, the Pelicans still won’t have an answer for Russell. My gut tells me that Oklahoma City covers against New Orleans in this Sunday game.