It’s possible that New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, could make his return from knee surgery this week. The Pelicans initially put a timetable of six to eight weeks on Williamson’s return and we are in Week 7. The team has said that Williamson will not play both ends of a back-to-back this season, however. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week NBA Betting matchups. Check back for Mybookie NBA odds.
Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – December 9th Edition
Denver Nuggets vs Philadelphia 76ers
- When: Tuesday, 8 PM ET
- TV: TNT
- Live Stream: NBA League Pass
Could be an NBA Finals preview and matches the league’s two best centers in the Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic and 76ers’ Joel Embiid. Very different players, though.
The Nuggets go for the regular-season sweep. They were 100-97 winners on Nov. 8. Jokic hit a 20-foot jumper on a broken play with 1.2 seconds remaining, helping the Nuggets rally from a 21-point, fourth-quarter deficit. It was the largest fourth-quarter comeback in Nuggets history. Jokic scored 16 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter. His 16 points in the final period outscored the Sixers’ 13 total points. On the next possession after the go-ahead shot, Jokic drew an offensive foul on Joel Embiid by fronting him near the basket. It was the sixth foul on a frustrated Embiid. Will Barton hit two free throws to seal the win.
Embiid finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and two assists. Philly was without star point guard Ben Simmons due to injury.
Denver enters having lost two straight and four of five. It was beaten 105-102 in Brooklyn on Sunday. Nikola Jokic had 24 points and 11 rebounds. Jamal Murray went 7-of-17 from the field and 4-of-4 from the stripe on his way to 21 points with three rebounds and five assists.
Both Paul Millsap and Will Barton currently rank second and third in the NBA in defensive rating amongst players that have appeared in 10+ games and average 25.0+ minutes a game.
Philly StrongThe 76ers won its second in a row Sunday, 110-104 over Toronto. Rookie Matisse Thybulle played 32 minutes, hit 6-of-9 shots and a career-high five 3-pointers en route to a career-high 20 points, two rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block. Thybulle is getting some extra run with Josh Richardson out of the lineup due to a hamstring injury. Ben Simmons hit 8-of-11 shots on his way to 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Simmons went down hard and appeared to be in some pain but was able to stay in the game and finish strong.
Joel Embiid returned from a one-game absence due to a hip injury, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds. Embiid was benched with 2:08 remaining after committing the three turnovers but did return to the floor. He had seven of Philadelphia’s 17 turnovers.
Philly is unbeaten at home this year at 12-0.
LA Clippers vs Toronto Raptors
- When: Wednesday, 7 PM ET
- TV: ESPN
- Live Stream: NBA League Pass
There already have been a few “homecoming” games in the NBA this year. Kemba Walker returning to Charlotte with the Celtics and Anthony Davis back in New Orleans with the Lakers to name two. However, there’s no question that the top “homecoming” game of the 2019-20 regular season is Wednesday night when Kawhi Leonard’s Clippers visit the Toronto Raptors.
Of course, the Raptors surprisingly acquired Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs before last season and Leonard led Toronto to the team’s first-ever NBA title while winning NBA Finals MVP honors – thus, expect the home crowd to cheer Kawhi heavily. He will get his championship ring.
“I’ll be thinking about just playing against the team and wanting to win the game, for the most part,” Leonard said. “Just really getting my ring that night. … We’re there for one reason: to play the Raptors and try to win the game.”
Leonard considered re-signing with the Raptors this offseason as a free agent but he’s from Los Angeles and always wanted to return home. Leonard played the Raptors on Nov. 11 in a 99-88 home win for the Clippers. He had 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists but was just 2-for-11 from the field and committed a career-high nine turnovers.
Some InjuriesToronto could be without guard Fred VanVleet for a bit as he went down with a knee injury in Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia. As of this writing, it’s not yet clear if it’s serious. FVV is having a fantastic season. He was is the first player in Raptors history to make at least one three-point field goal in each of the team’s first 21 games of a season, breaking Danny Green’s franchise record of 20 straight games to begin last season. That streak ended Sunday.
The only other NBA players who have connected from beyond the arc in each of their team’s games this season are James Harden (HOU) and Taurean Prince (BKN). VanVleet has reached the 20-point mark 10 times this season; something he did seven times in his first three seasons combined (2016-19).