Jul. 20, 2018
2/8 NBA Picks
Atlanta Hawks (17-37) at Orlando Magic (17-36)
Line: ATL -2.5
Summary: This is a match up of two of the worst teams in the NBA. The Orlando Magic have knocked off the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers in their last two games and have been playing notably better as of late. Orlando traded starting point guard Elfrid Payton to the Phoenix Suns today for just a 2nd round pick, so expect D.J Augustin to start at the point guard position.
The Hawks have won their last two games as well against Memphis and the Knicks. Although the Hawks were rumored to be shopping anyone but John Collins to the entire league, they did not make any notable moves today before the trade deadline.
New York Knicks (23-32) at Toronto Raptors (37-16)
Line: TOR -14
Summary: The Raptors are coming off a huge 111-91 win against the Boston Celtics. That win put the Raptors only a game back of Boston for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
On the other hand, the Knicks are playing their first full game since star player Kristaps Porzingis tore his ACL and was ruled out for the rest of the season. That injury all but killed New York's already slim playoff hopes. The Knicks are also without big man Enes Kanter (oral surgery) and guard Ron Baker (right shoulder).
Boston Celtics (39-16) at Washington Wizards (31-23)
Line: BOS -1.5
Summary: The Celtics are coming off an embarrassing blowout lost to the Toronto Raptors. The loss gave Boston only a one game lead on the Raptors for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The one bright spot of the loss was Kyrie Irving returning to the Celtics' lineup after missing the last few games with a quad injury. Irving was able to put up 17 points in only 22 minutes of play.
The Wizards have been a suprising 5-1 since losing All-Star point guard John Wall. The Wizards actually had one five in a row before getting beat by the Sixers in their last game. In that game, the Wizards fell behind early and were never able to get back into the game. The last time these two teams met were on Christmas Day, where Washington was able to win in Boston 111-103.
Charlotte Hornets (23-30) at Portland Trail Blazers (29-25)
Line: POR -3.0
Summary: Charlotte had rumors surrounding them coming into Thursday's trade deadline. They were heavily linked to potentially moving Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the end, the Hornets decided to hang on to both players. Keeping both Walker and Batum keeps alive Charlotte's already slim playoff hopes. They are considered to be one of the biggest disappointments in the Eastern Conference this year. They are expected to get back big man Marvin Williams, who missed the previous four games with an ankle injury.
The Trail Blazers were also surrounded by trade rumors at the deadline. There was buzz around the league that Portland was being offered deals for star players Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Nothing sparked Portland's interest and both players are still on the team. It would be have been surprising if Portland parted ways with either players, especially since they are currently the 7th seed in the West. They have lost their past three games to Boston, Detroit, and Toronto.
Dallas Mavericks (17-37) at Golden State Warriors (41-13)
Line: GS -14.0
Summary: Although these teams are not close at all in the standings, they both come into this game struggling. The Mavericks, who are among the worst in the NBA, have lost six of their past seven games, including a 104-101 loss to the Clippers in their last game. In that game longtime Maverick Dirk Nowitzki notched his 50,000 career minute played, becoming only the sixth player in NBA history to accomplish that milestone.
The Warriors, who are among the best in the NBA, are coming off a big 125-105 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder the other night. Tensions were high in that game as Warriors forward Draymond Green was ejected from the game after receiving two technical fouls from two separate incidents involving officials. The Warriors lead the league in ejections this year. Kevin Durant is questionable for the game with a left ankle injury.
Pick: Golden State
Oklahoma City Thunder (31-24) at Los Angeles Lakers (22-31)
Line: OKC -3.5
Summary: The Lakers were extremely active during Thursday's trade deadline. The team traded guard Jordan Clarkson and forward Larry Nance Jr. to the Cleveland Cavaliers for guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Channing Frye, and the Cavaliers 2018 first round draft pick. They will be shorthanded tonight, as none of their new acquisitions are expected to play. Also with this move, the Lakers were able to guarantee that they will have the necessary salary cap room to go after big free agents such as Lebron James and Paul George this summer.
Many NBA insiders thought the Thunder would make some sort of move at the NBA trade deadline, but they did not make any trades. They have been starting rookie Terrance Ferguson at shooting guard ever since losing defensive star Andre Roberson was ruled out for the season with a knee injury on January 27th. They were able to snap a four game losing streak during their last game with a huge win over the Golden State Warriors. The Thunder are currently the 5th seed in the Western Conference.
Pick: Oklahoma City