Orlando Magic Over Phoenix Suns and Friday’s NBA Predictions
Another solid night of NBA action is in the books, as the Warriors seemed to get their groove back in a nice blowout win over the Magic last night. Ditto for the Cavs, who downed the visiting Jazz and helped us go a solid 5-1 on the night.
Our lone blemish among Thursday’s NBA games? Trusting in the Knicks, yet again. Carmelo Anthony and co. were at home against the lowly Nets, yet still couldn’t get a win. We probably should have known better, but we still had a great night and you did too if you aligned your bets with our NBA picks.
There’s more where that came from, as we dive into Friday’s 8-game NBA schedule:
Friday’s NBA action gets going in Philly, where the 76ers will try to take down Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs. The Sixers can be tough at home and just gave the Warriors a scare on the road in their last game, so it wouldn’t be all that shocking if they kept this one close.
Dallas isn’t the easiest team to trust in general, but they’re actually trending in the right direction after going 7-3 in their last 10 games. Dallas has also dominated this series, as they’ll come into Philadelphia seeking an impressive ninth straight win.
The 76ers are a fun upset play here, simply because they’re at home and they have some feisty guys like Robert Covington and Dario Saric to lean on. They are just 2-8 over their last 10 contests, though, and conventional wisdom makes the Mavs a decent enough pick.
The Bulls could be even more impossible to trust when they head to D.C. to play the Wizards tonight. Chicago isn’t good on the road and have just three wins in their last 10 tries, but also recently lost star shooting guard Dwyane Wade (elbow) for the rest of the year:
Breaking: Dwyane Wade will be out the remainder of the regular season with a sprain and a small fracture in his elbow.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter)
That’s not good for business, but it also could lead to the Bulls mailing it in on the season. That would mean a youth movement, and even if that doesn’t happen Jimmy Butler is short one huge helping hand and he’ll be on the road against a very good Washington club. John Wall and co. are very tough to beat (26-10) on their home floor and they’ve also taken 3 of the last 4 in this series.
We could get a big game out of Butler in a shocking win (that would be so Bulls, after all), but the logic really doesn’t support that upset play.
Toronto just got housed by the Thunder at home last night, further showcasing how vulnerable they can be without star point guard Kyle Lowry on hand. Tonight offers an interesting opportunity for both them and the Pistons, who excel at home (22-13), but have gotten smoked in each of their last two contests.
Detroit can play very good defense and is usually a tough out on their home floor, but they’re just 5-5 over their last 10 games and have a back and forth history versus Toronto. The Raptors have held the recent edge, with wins in 3 of the last 5 meetings.
There doesn’t seem to be an easy solution here, so we’re going to side with the Raptors. They give us a fun upset pick and Detroit’s form has just been awful lately. Even if they step up their play, there isn’t anything to suggest they’ll necessarily win this game.
Brooklyn got a nice road win over the Knicks last night, but they’ve probably met their monthly quota for wins now. There’s no denying the Nets are better at home and improved in general with Jeremy Lin back, but beating the Knicks twice in the past week isn’t the same as trying to take on a good Celtics team.
Boston gets the support of Vegas even with this one being at the Barclays Center and star point guard Isaiah Thomas being sidelined with a bone bruise on his knee:
Isaiah Thomas will not travel this weekend to NY and Philly. He's out with a right knee bone bruise.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics)
The absence of Thomas absolutely gives the Nets a shot at a win at home, but Boston has nice depth to lean on and does something Brooklyn can’t – defend. Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley will see enhanced offensive roles and the last thing you want is both of those guards (both great defenders) in the same lineup.
We get another game with serious offensive upside in New Orleans, where James Harden is set to lead his Rockets up against the Pelicans. The Pels have been decent at home for most of the year and could present a challenge for Houston’s bigs with DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Brow down low.
Of course, this matchup as a whole still favors Houston, who is in top form behind a three-game run and 7 wins over their last 10 games. The Rockets are a little more vulnerable when on the road, but they’ve handled themselves well in this series with four straight wins.
The size of the Pelicans could keep this one interesting, but Houston is too hot right now to bet against.
This could be one of the tougher games to gauge on Friday’s basketball slate, as Minnesota is slowly figuring life out (6-4 over their last 10 games), but will be on the road against a Heat squad that has been in even better form (7-3 during that same span).
Miami has been fantastic since turning things around back in December, while they’ve especially been a lot to handle (19-14) in South Beach. Miami might hold the advantage here, too, considering Hassan Whiteside and Karl-Anthony Towns could cancel each other out. That might put the onus on Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters, giving Miami the slight edge they need.
If you’re looking for a game with tons of offensive upside, look no further than this battle in the desert between the Magic and Suns. Orlando could easily be tired out from last night’s game at the Oracle Arena, but the Suns don’t defend and offer a nice bounce back opportunity.
The Magic have been woeful on the road all year, but they’ve been pushing the pace more and we’ve got a nice Total to play with in this one. Phoenix is as vulnerable as ever, too, as they’ve shut down the likes of Eric Bledsoe, Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight in an effort to pave the way for their young prospects.
That makes for good scouting for next year, but it also hurts the chances of the Suns getting many wins to close out the year. Because of that, the Magic quickly turn into an interesting upset pick on the road.
The last game of the night goes down in L.A., as the Bucks play at the Staples Center for the second time in the last three nights. Los Angeles is the natural underdog here, but the Lakers do tend to play with a little more confidence in front of their home crowd.
Milwaukee is too hot to deny in this spot, as Giannis Antetokounmpo and co. just beat the Clippers here on Wednesday and have ripped off 7 wins in their last 10 games. The Lakers are at home and can score, but Milwaukee is in a groove and actually can bring a little defense to the table.
Los Angeles has surprisingly handled the Bucks well in this series lately (3-1 over the last four meetings), but we like the Bucks here.