76ers vs. Raptors NBA Preview

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots a free throw. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots a free throw. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Raptors are on a four-game winning streak and will take on the 76ers for the second straight game. Can the 76ers get back to their winning ways? Here’s the best bet.

 

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Toronto Raptors

at Amalie Arena

 

The Toronto Raptors are currently above .500 and playing their best basketball to date with a four-game winning streak. The Raptors are 7-3 in their last 10 games after defeating the 76ers 110-103 at home just two days ago.

While the Raptors have looked solid lately, the 76ers have looked fantastic all season long with a 20-11 record. However, they’ve gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and will look to put an end to the Raptors winning streak.

The 76ers are scoring 113 points per 100 possessions and have an effective field goal percentage of 53.9 percent. The Sixers struggle to hold onto the basketball, turning the ball over 15.6 percent of the time. When they’re able to get shots up, the Sixers do a great job on the offensive glass and get to the foul line at a premier rate.

The Sixers are led by Joel Embiid who is averaging 30.3 points per game along with 11.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Tobias Harris has chipped in with 20.6 points per game while Ben Simmons has earned 15.7 points per game. Those three have combined for about 27 rebounds per game this season which is just absurd from this big three.

Defensively, Philadelphia is allowing 111.2 points per 100 possessions and has allowed a 53.4 percent effective field goal percentage. The Sixers will force turnovers at an average pace of 14.4 percent but are above average in defensive rebounding and limiting other teams from offensive rebounds.

The Toronto offense hasn’t been terrific but when they get hot, it’s a whole other story. The Raptors average 113.8 points per 100 possessions and have an effective field goal percentage of 53.8 percent. They’ll limit turnovers but struggle on the offensive glass, however, the Raptors have been great at getting to the line.

Pascal Siakam leads the team in points and rebounds with 20.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Point guard Fred VanVleet has also chipped in with 20.1 points along with 6.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game.

During this winning streak, Kyle Lowry hasn’t played since February 16 against the Bucks. Since then, the Raptors have won three straight games against the Bucks, Timberwolves and 76ers. Lowry is expected to be out again in this one.

Defensively, the Raptors have allowed 11.4 points per 100 possessions and have allowed an effective field goal percentage of 53.9 percent. Toronto leads the league in forcing turnovers with a percentage of 16.7 percent and should be able to force the 76ers into plenty of mistakes as the 76ers are 27th in the league in turnovers with 15.6 percent per game.

The Raptors will however struggle on the glass. They’ve been terrible holding opponents off the offensive glass and have also been having a fouling frenzy this season, with a free throw rate of 24 on defense. The Sixers should be able to work the offensive glass and get to the line at ridiculous paces in this game, which was something they did very well with last time out.

The Sixers got to the line more, added 10 more rebounds and forced more turnovers and yet still lost that game because they shot 38.8 percent from the field and 29.7 percent from long range. That should change tonight. I like the Sixers to win in this spot.

NBA Pick: 76ers (-125) at Bet 365 

Nets vs. Clippers NBA Preview

James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets drives the ball. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets drives the ball. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

No Durant? No problem. The Nets are on a five-game winning streak and still a solid underdog against the Clippers. Here’s the best bet.

Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Sunday, February 21, 2021 – 08:00 PM EST at STAPLES Center

[Read more...]

Nuggets vs. Celtics NBA Preview

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets puts up a shot. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets puts up a shot. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Celtics have lost four of their last five games and don’t look like a top team in the East. Should bettors continue to fade the Celtics, even at home?

 

Denver Nuggets vs. Boston Celtics

TD Garden

The Boston Celtics will look to get back over .500 with a win against the Nuggets on Tuesday. It’s been a weird season filled with injuries and COVID for the Celtics and they haven’t got in rhythm just yet losing four of their last five games.

On the other hand, the Nuggets have won three straight games scoring over 120 in two of those three wins against teams like the Los Angeles Lakers who they defeated on Sunday.

The Nuggets have scored 117.1 points per 100 possessions and have shot a high effective field goal percentage of 55.7 percent. Denver has dominated the offensive glass bringing down 28.7 percent of rebounds and get to the line at an average rate.

The Nuggets are led by Nikola Jokic who should be a huge factor in this game. Jokic is scoring 26.5 points per game this season and bringing down 11.5 rebounds along with 8.7 assists per game. The center leads the team in every major category and has been dominant around the rim.

Jamal Murray has chipped in with 18.5 points per game along with 4.4 assists and four rebounds per game in 34.8 minutes. Jokic and Murray lead in minutes and have led the team in scoring all season long.

Defensively, the Nuggets are allowing 112.8 points per 100 possessions and have allowed an effective field goal percentage of 54.9 percent. They’ve done well on the defensive glass and are top ten in the NBA when it comes to forcing turnovers.

The Celtics have been solid defensively, allowing just 110.9 points per 100 possessions this season. Teams are shooting a 54 percent effective field goal percentage and are turning the ball over 14.9 percent against the Celtics. But an area where the Celtics could struggle is in the rebounding department.

The Celtics allow offensive rebounds 25.2 percent of the time while the Nuggets tally a very high offensive rebound rate behind Jokic.

The Celtics will rely on Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in this one. Brown averages 26 points per game while Tatum averages 25.6 points per game. Both combined, average nearly half the points that the Celtics score on a given night. Tristan Thompson is the best rebounder on the Celtics as he averages 8.2 per game but he’ll have a tough task on the defensive glass going up against the Nuggets.

The offense for the Celtics hasn’t been up to par to Boston’s standards. They’re scoring just 112.6 points per 100 possessions and are shooting an effective field goal percentage of just 53.3 percent. The Celtics should turn the ball over about 14 percent of the time as that’s their average.

Boston could win on the offensive glass against the Nuggets as they bring down 27.8 percent of chances but the Celtics aren’t aggressive enough to get to the line and get points from the line.

Times have changed in the NBA. The standings don’t make sense when compared to last year’s standings. The Celtics are scoring just 110.1 points per game and allowing 109.3 points per game when, on paper, the Celtics are stacked.

Boston shoots just 46 percent from the field while the Nuggets are getting higher quality looks and scoring 47.9 percent of their shots. The rebounding in this game will be equal but if the Nuggets are able to get a couple more second chances in this game, I’d have to imagine the Nuggets come away with the outright win.

So we’ll just take the points here on the road.

CBB Pick: Nuggets +2.5 (-110) at Bet 365 

Rockets vs. Pelicans NBA Preview

New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots the ball against the Indiana Pacers. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

 

The Rockets are struggling without Christian Wood and will now have to take on a powerful rebounding team in the Pelicans without their best rebounder. How much of an impact will Wood’s absence make? Here’s the best bet.

 

Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Tuesday, February 09, 2021 – 07:30 PM EST at Smoothie King Center

Houston’s Injury Issues

The banged up Houston Rockets (11-12) will take the road to face the New Orleans Pelicans (10-12).

The Rockets will likely be without Christian Wood but could have John Wall back in the lineup after missing yesterday’s game. The Rockets have not been great offensively averaging 108.3 points per possession. Houston is averaging a 53.8 percent effective field goal percentage and barely gets offensive rebounds, especially with Wood off the floor. On top of that, Houston has struggled with turnovers and turned the ball over 15.6 percent of the time.

The Rockets will be led by Victor Oladipo, who is questionable at this very moment. Oladipo is averaging 19.6 points per game along with 5.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds. If Wall returns, he’d be the second leading scorer for the Rockets in this game as he averages 18.8 points along with six assists and 3.7 rebounds.

The Rockets don’t have much depth on their roster which has hurt in the long run. When guys are out and injured, Houston has nobody stepping up.

Defensively, Houston has been much better. They’ve prevented teams from scoring, allowing opponents to score 109.3 points per game and 107.4 points per 100 possessions. They’re limiting opponents to a 51.4 percent effective field goal percentage and force turnovers had a solid rate this season.

The Rockets will get owned on the glass against the Pelicans, especially without Wood, which will be a problem as they only average 44.1 rebounds per game with Wood on the floor.

 

Pelicans Offense is Clicking

The Pelicans have had trouble on defense this season but offense hasn’t been a problem. The Pelicans average 111.5 points per game and score 112.7 points per 100 possessions this season. They’re shooting an average of 53.7 percent effective field goal percentage, which is about the league average as well. The Pelicans do have their turnover issues and Houston could capitalize on those mistakes but if the Pelicans are able to just get shots up, they’ll be able to work the glass and get plenty of rebounds on both ends while getting to the foul line at a solid pace.

The Pelicans are led by Brandon Ingram who averages 23.9 points per game. Meanwhile, Zion Williamson has chipped him with 23.7 points per game along with 7.2 rebounds per game. Williams and Steven Adams have been a terrific rebounding tandem down low, averaging over 16 boards per game between the two.

The Pelicans have not been great on defense this season, however. They’re allowing teams to score 114.8 points per 100 possessions and are allowing teams to shoot an effective field goal percentage of 55.3 percent, which is one of the worst percentages in the NBA.

On top of that, they’ll rarely get turnovers but could see some steals fall into their lap going up against a Houston team that continues to make mistakes and errors in games. But all in all, the Pelicans will get more opportunities strictly due to their ability to rebound the basketball.

 

Prediction

There are four massive factors in the NBA. It’s effective field goal percentage, turnovers, rebounding and free throws. The Pelicans should win the turnover battle, rebounding battle and free throw battle. That’s enough for me to take the Pelicans against the spread in this spot. With Christian Wood out, the Rockets are going to get hammered on the glass all game.

NBA Pick: Pelicans -5 (-110) at Bet 365

 

Celtics vs. Suns NBA Preview

Jayson Tatum. Celtics vs. Suns NBA Preview

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP

The Celtics will take on the Suns (likely) without Jaylen Brown. More pressure will be on Jayson Tatum in this game. Can he produce and win the game? Here’s the best bet.

Boston Celtics vs. Phoenix Suns 

The Boston Celtics will travel to Phoenix with a banged up roster. That’s how it’s been all season long for Boston, yet they’re still 12-9 on the season. The Suns were everyone’s sleeper team this season and have showed up, matching the Celtics win-by-win and loss-by-loss. The Suns are also 12-9 on the season in the Western Conference.

The Celtics will likely be without Jaylen Brown but they’ll still have Jayson Tatum leading the way. Tatum is averaging 27.3 points per game along with 7.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Brown will likely be absent due to a sore knee but keep on the lookout before the game to see his status.

The Celtics are averaging 111.9 points per game and allowing 109.7 points per game. Boston is averaging 47.2 percent from the field and bringing down 44.1 rebounds per game. The Celtics are a bit more aggressive defensively when it comes to steals, averaging over two more than the Suns. Boston has allowed 110.3 points per 100 possessions and are getting 15.5 percent of turnovers defensively. They’ll allow a high amount of foul shots and aren’t the best on the defensive glass, but the Suns haven’t shown much when it comes to their offensive rebounding and getting to the line.

The Celtics will struggle against a solid Suns defense. Boston is scoring 114 points per 100 possessions and shoot a 54.4 percent effective field goal percentage. Both of these areas are where the Suns excel defensively, holding teams to 108.9 points per 100 possessions and at a 52.4 percent effective field goal percentage. The Suns defense won’t turn you over a ton but they’ll play really good defense and battle on the defensive glass. 

The Suns are led by Devin Booker who is averaging 23.1 points per game along with 3.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. He’s also got Chris Paul dishing him dimes as Paul is averaging 8.5 assists per game this season along with a surprising 16.4 points per game. Paul is averaging more points than Miles Bridges and Deandre Ayton.

The Suns average 109.9 points per game and allow 107.5 points per game. Both teams have been solid defensively, allowing less than 110 points, which is something to consider. Phoenix shoots a bit lower when it comes to field goal percentage and brings down about the same amount of rebounds per game.

The Suns have won four of their last five games and seem to be in much more of a rhythm than the Celtics, who continually lose players to the sideline whether it’s COVID or an injury. The Celtics can’t seem to get healthy. If Brown is indeed out, the Suns, at home, seem like the play.

[Read more...]