NBA Picks This Week Feature A Trio of MVP ContendersNoah Williams
A trio of MVP candidates will all be in action and highlight my trio of expert NBA picks of the week. Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics host the Toronto Raptors in an intriguing Atlantic division showdown while LeBron James and the suddenly struggling Cleveland Cavaliers look to man-handle the lowly New York Knicks (again).
Last but not least, ‘Mr. Walking Triple-Double’ Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder will look to hold it down at home against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Trio of MVP Contenders in Action in Trio of NBA Picks of the Week
Toronto at Boston
Wednesday, February 1 at 7:00 PM ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Analysis: At the time of this writing, Toronto (28-18) had lost five straight including their heartbreaking 101-99 loss to Memphis on Wednesday night.
Conversely, Boston (27-18) managed to snap its modest three-game skid by outscoring Houston 120-109 on Wednesday to improve to 4-3 over its last seven games.
The Raptors beat the C’s 114-106 in Beantown on January 10, but I’m going to urge you to back Boston to extract some revenge against the struggling Raptors seeing as how Toronto has been embarrassed recently by teams like Philadelphia, Charlotte and Phoenix during its five-game losing streak.
Toronto is modest 13-10 on the rod this season while Boston will look to improve on its respectable, but not overly impressive 14-8 mark at TD Garden.
The Celtics have the league’s best producer in fourth quarter points in Isaiah Thomas and are the pick to get the narrow home win by about five points.
Pick: Boston 107 Toronto 102
Cleveland at NY Knicks
Saturday, February 4 at 8:30 PM ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NY
Analysis: LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers (30-14) have lost three straight and six of their last 10 games at the time of this writing, but they’re still the easy pick to take down Carmelo Anthony and the pitiful New York Knicks (20-27) in this matchup, particularly seeing as how James loves to put on a show in Madison Square Garden. New York has lost seven of its last 10 games and just doesn’t have enough offensive firepower – or competence – to keep pace with the now, desperate Cavs. Cleveland will be favored by at least 10 points in this matchup, but I say, don’t worry, they’ll cover with room to spare, much like they did in their 126-94 win in the Garden on December 7.
Pick: Cleveland 117 New York 100
Portland at Oklahoma City
Sunday, February 5 at 3:00 PM ET
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Analysis: Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder (28-19) were riding a three-game winning streak at the time of this writing, that included wins over Utah, New Orleans, and Dallas, but are just 4-3 over their last seven games overall.
While Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers (20-27) have largely struggled this season after their surprisingly impressive campaign year ago, the Blazers are starting to play better lately and were riding a two-game winning streak into the weekend that included an impressive overtime win in Boston and a home beatdown over the reeling Lakers.
The Blazers beat the Thunder handily in their 114-95 road smackdown over Oklahoma City on December 13 and I believe Portland is poised to steal another road win over the Thunder, who, outside of Westbrook and maybe Victor Oladipo, just don’t have the athletic talent and scorers that the Blazers possess in guys like Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe.
Pick: Portland 108 Oklahoma City 102