Washington had a nice home win against Denver last night, on a run and gun game where they had a great offensive rating of 120.91! They shot very well from the outside, however they struggled a lot in the fourth quarter, as they went from a 98-80 lead with 10 minutes to go into a 113-111 situation with just 30 seconds to go! We are talking about a 15-31 run! Washington keeps being very prone in committing turnovers, especially when John Wall rushes things too much. They committed 18 turnovers last night, while they had already committed 19, 17 and 17 turnovers on their previous three games. As obvious, after beating Denver yesterday, while scoring 119 points (2nd highest mark of the season), the Wizards won't be focused in stopping Houston's offense. They will try to outscore them, just like it happened on their game against Sacramento, the following game after scoring 120 points against Orlando (their highest score of the season). That didn't go very well for the Wizards, who lost the game outright, even though they were favored by 7 points!
So, Washington will have their mindset into outgunning the Rockets tonight. However, the Wizards will struggle in making the right adjustments. Houston is playing with Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino at the PF position, while Washington is using Nene Hilario at that position. If at first sight, it might look that Nene would have a big edge on this matchup due to his size, the truth is that on a run and gun game like this one, it won't be easy for Washington to feed their big men, as this implies to slow down things and Washington doesn't have a high team IQ to make this kind of adjustments. In fact, Denver also used small lineups during most of yesterday's game and Nene Hilario wasn't a major force on this contest with just 5-11 FG, 14 points and 4 rebounds in 30 minutes. Ty Lawson did whatever he wanted to do on this dribble penetrations, while today James Harden and Jeremy Lin will do the same thing to the Wizards, especially with Bradley Beal playing heavy minutes. So, the question in here will be to know if Houston will have such a poor outside shooting game like Denver had last night. The Nuggets shot 1-7 FG from 16-23 feet and 4-22 treys for a combined of 5-29 (27%) FG! However, Houston is completely on fire on their perimeter shooting right now, as they have made at least 10 treys in five of their last six games! The only game where that didn't happen during this span was their contest at LA against the Clippers, where both James Harden and Jeremy Lin didn't play.
Therefore, I don't expect to see Washington having the same success today that they had yesterday against Denver. This should be a close game, but James Harden should lead his team down the stretch to a nice win, while Washington should once again get very tight in the last minutes of the game. In the game played between these two teams in Houston earlier on the season, the Rockets were on a 3-games losing streak and they had just played an overtime game at San Antonio, while Washington was playing with Jordan Crawford at the PG position and Nene Hilario was still playing limited minutes and coming off the bench. This is why that game was a low scoring game (99-93). This time, I expect both teams to have great offensive production tonight, therefore I'll be taking both the Rockets and the Over in here.
NBA - 505 Cleveland Cavaliers @ 506 Orlando Magic
Projected Line: 198 points
Orlando made a tremendous effort last night in Memphis, where they had just 7 players available. Moe Harkless played 46 minutes, while the starting backcourt of E'Twaun Moore and Arron Afflalo played 39 and 44 minutes respectively. As expected, the Magic were a jump shooting team with just 9 FT attempts and 11-20 FG at the rim versus 11-24 FG from 16-23 feet and 5-15 treys! They are now returning home to play their fourth game in five nights, in a very tough spot for a team that is basically a jump shooting team without a lot of talent. Cleveland is coming from a nice win against New Orleans in an ESPN game last Wednesday. However, I didn't like their offensive flow, as they depended too much from Kyrie Irving. They dished just 20 assists and 15% of their plays were isolations. Of course Irving solved the game on his own one more time, but this isn't a good sign for them, especially on a game like tonight's where they will surely come with a "too easy" mindset.
In the two games played between these two teams earlier on the season, Orlando's pick and roll defense was ridiculously bad, but that isn't a surprise as Jameer Nelson has been a disaster in defending the opposing PG. Fortunately for the Magic at least on this aspect, Nelson is out of tonight's game and E'Twaun Moore is a much better defensive player than Nelson, so Cleveland won't have a huge edge on the pick and rolls tonight. On the other hand, we all know how poor the Cavaliers's interior defense is, but that won't be a problem tonight as Orlando is a jump shooting team and they don't attack the rim. We took the Over on a top play in the last game between these two teams and the truth is that Cleveland won that game by 119-108. However, the circumstances of that game were very different from tonight's game. Orlando is on a poor spot for tonight, with very tired legs and with some players debuting tonight, while Cleveland is getting more and more dependent from Irving on offense. Therefore, I expect a surprising low scoring game in here and so, I'll be taking the Under.
Pick: 3 units (Single Dime Play) on 505/506 Under 201,5 @ -110 / 1.91 on 5Dimes
Final Score: Cleveland 118 Orlando 94
NBA - 507 Indiana Pacers @ 508 Detroit Pistons
Projected Line: 183 points
The Pistons weren't mentally and physically ready to face Indiana last night. Detroit had won on the road against the lowly Bobcats and they came with the wrong mindset for last night's game at Indiana, where they got completely crushed. They were even down by 40 points at one point! Jose Calderon summed up the game perfectly:
“It's easy to explain. Easier than you think. We didn’t play defense the way we were supposed to. We didn’t make shots. That’s what happened. When you get a good team like Indiana playing like that … they beat the Knicks by 30 a couple of days ago. We knew what to expect”
Not only Detroit's offense struggled with 3-19 3pts, 21-37 (56.8%) FT and 15-32 FG from 9 feet or closer to the basket, as Indiana wouldn't miss a single shot with an incredible 10-14 3pts! With this game being the second game of a home-home series, the key factor in here will be if Detroit will be able to bounce back or not. Will they be competitive tonight? Of course they will have to improve on both offense and defense, but against the Pacers, I believe they will struggle in having a great offensive game. After all, we are talking about the team that is #1 in the league in overall defense and the Pistons scored just 77, 79 and 82 points on their first three games against Indiana this season.
Detroit's offense is mostly based on Greg Monroe's post ups and passes, but Indiana has simply the best defensive backcourt in the league. The Pacers's are an excellent defensive team, even on back to back games, where they are averaging a great defensive rating of 102.99, so Detroit's will struggle tonight on offense once again. The key will be on the other side of the court. Detroit will definitely show more effort on defense tonight in comparison to last night, while I expect a natural offensive letdown from the Pacers, especially on their long range shooting. It's very hard to give sequence to a 10-14 3pts shooting game, while at the same time they shot just 3-13 FG from 16-23 feet! The Pacers don't really have great shooters (even though Paul Goerge is having an amazing season) and on back to back games, their shooting hasn't been very effective, as it was clear on their last back to back game, where they had scored 114 points at home against Atlanta with 11-25 treys, but in the following day at Philadelphia, they scored just 88 points with 5-17 treys. Therefore, I believe this game will be a low scoring affair and so, I'll be taking the Under in here.
Pick: 3 units (Single Dime Play) on 507/508 Under 188 @ -110 / 1.91 on Bookmaker
Final Score: Indiana 90 Detroit 72
NBA - 509 Miami Heat @ 510 Philadelphia 76ers
Projected Line: 189 points
Miami's offense has a new chance to keep rolling tonight against Philadelphia. On their last game at Chicago, the Heat scored "just" 86 points against the top ranked defense of the Bulls, but this was mostly due to the fact that Chicago dominated the boards and the turnovers committed by the Heat. However, it's important to note that Miami shot 50.7% FG in that game! For tonight, Miami won't have any problems in scoring against Philadelphia's defense that lacks frontcourt presence to do what the Bulls did to Miami last Thursday. Philadelphia'a defense has been having pretty decent numbers lately, but this is mostly due to the fact that they faced several poor offensive teams such as Minnesota, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Orlando, Sacramento and Washington! The last time that they faced a top offensive team, they allowed 107 points and an offensive rating of 128 to the Clippers at home!
The key question on this matchup will be related with the Heat's defense and the Sixers's offense. Philadelphia's offense has little talent this season and they only got worse since they lost Thaddeus Young with a hamstring injury. So, if Miami shows a decent defensive effort tonight, they will shutdown Philadelphia's offense tonight. The problem is that I don't believe Miami will show a lot of effort on defense tonight. After all, they are coming from three straight games against top teams in Oklahoma City, Atlanta and Chicago, where they showed a big effort. After tonight's game, they will face Cleveland at home on a back to back game in the always interesting matchup between Lebron and his former team. So, I don't expect a big defensive effort from the Heat tonight. Jrue Holiday should have a clear upperhand on offense over Mario Chalmers and due to the fact that the Heat use small lineups, Spencer Hawes has a good spot to have a good offensive game in here as well.
We are in front of a low totals line and this is very dangerous considering Miami's offense. If we combine that with the poor effort that Miami will show on defense tonight and we have the right ingredients for us to take the Over in here. This is exactly what I'm going to do on this contest.
Pick: 3 units (Single Dime Play) on 509/510 Over 185 @ -115 / 1.87 on Bovada
Final Score: Miami 114 Philadelphia 90
NBA - 513 Utah Jazz @ 514 Los Angeles Clippers
Projected Line: 204 points | LA Clippers by 5 points
***DOUBLE DIME PLAY***
The Clippers were humiliated at home against San Antonio. They weren't ready for the adjustments that the Spurs made and they couldn't stop San Antonio's offense, while their own offense was a mess, with no flow whatsoever. They committed 20 turnovers, while Chris Paul had possibly his worst performance that I remember from him in years, with 1-6 FG, 4 points, 3 assists and 3 turnovers. For tonight, we can expect the Clippers to come very aggressive from the start of the game. During the current season, everytime they lost a game while being favored, they went 9-4 Over in the following game and 8-2 Over when they are favored in those games. Now facing a Jazz's super slow starting backcourt, the Clippers will have a clear edge with Chris Paul on the pick and rolls. Utah's defense is #27 on pick and roll ball handler defense with 0.85 PPP allowed and their perimeter defense is also quite poor. This will be the fourth and last game between these two teams during the regular season and the Clippers had offensive ratings of 113.3, 120.8 and 116.4 on the first three games against Utah!
The key in here will be Utah's performance tonight and I expect them to be very competitive. The Jazz had a phase where their offense was very stagnant. They were struggling on transitions and the pace of their games was very slow. According to my numbers, they had a sequence of 14 games where their pace factor averaged just 87.64! The main reasons for that was coach Corbin giving too many minutes to players like Marvin Williams, Randy Foye and Jamaal Tinsley, old backcourt players who had no explosion, so they would slow down the pace. To make things worse for them at the time, their best offensive player in the backcourt, Gordon Hayward, was injured. However, since their loss at Sacramento, coach Corbin decided to start giving more minutes to players like DeMarre Carroll and Alec Burks, while Gordon Hayward also recovered from his injury. Utah suddenly became more explosive and they also started playing on a faster pace, where their superior depth has been allowing them to outplay their opponents. On their last four games, Jamaal Tinsley averaged just 19.5 minutes per game, Randy Foye 25.5 minutes and Marvin Williams 19 minutes, well below their season averages. This made Utah's pace factor to go way up: 96.88, 91.10, 94.43 and 91.24 on their last four games!
I expect this more athletic version of the Jazz to hang around with the Clippers. Even though this series is 3-0 for the Clippers right now, both games played at Utah were close contests with the LA team winning them by 1 and 2 points! The Clippers won the other game at home by 107-96, but this game was also close until the fourth quarter. Utah's skilled frontcourt is a problem for the Clippers, especially in the matchup between Al Jefferson and DeAndre Jordan, as Jefferson's post up skills outplay Jordan's lack of patient to defend him. This is why "Big Al" shot 8-17 FG, 7-17 FG and 13-22 FG on his team's first three games against the Clippers this season for a combined of 28-56 (50%) FG! The Clippers's post up defense hasn't been good lately, so Utah will have a nice offensive edge in here to explore. Utah has been a terrible road team this season, but I believe that we are in front of an improved team with more toughness and athleticism, something essential for a team to stay competitive against the Clippers. I expect a fast paced game like it happened in the previous games between these two teams this season, with a lot of free throws to both teams and with the Jazz being competitive throughout the whole contest. Therefore, I'll be taking the Over in here on a Double Dime Play and Utah in a Single Dime Play!
Pick: 4 units (Double Dime Play) on 513/514 Over 197 @ -110 / 1.91 on Betonline
Pick: 3 units (Single Dime Play) on 513 Utah Jazz (+9) @ -110 / 1.91 on Bookmaker
Final Score: Utah 94 LA Clippers 107 (Over 197 / Utah +9)
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