If you aren’t betting against the New Orleans Pelicans on the fourth-quarter spread the rest of the regular season, you aren’t paying attention. The Pels aren’t playing superstar Anthony Davis in the fourth quarter of games because they don’t want him to get hurt before being traded this summer and also because they want to lose to get a better draft pick. Here’s a look at two intriguing NBA matchups this week. Check back for NBA odds.
Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – March 4th
Boston Celtics at Golden State Warriors
- When: Tuesday, 10:30 PM ET (TNT)
Preview of the NBA Finals? Could be. The Golden State Warriors have been favored to win another NBA championship all season and that’s not going to change. The Boston Celtics were the preseason favorites to come out of the East but have disappointed a bit.
Golden State ended a four-game road trip with Saturday’s 120-117 win in Philadelphia. Klay Thompson sat out with a sore right knee suffered in Thursday’s loss at Orlando. Remains to be seen if he’ll play here. Thompson has scored 20 or more points in each of the last four games he has played (averaging 25.8 points per game in that span). We think Thompson plays.
Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 34 points (11-of-24 FGs, 10-of-14 FTs) on Saturday, adding five rebounds and five assists. Steph Curry got into some early foul trouble which limited his output, so KD was called upon to keep his team in the game in the first half, and he did so.
DeMarcus Cousins scored a season-high 25 points (9-of-15 FGs, 6-of-10 FTs) with eight rebounds, one block, two steals, and one 3-pointer in 29 minutes against the 76ers. Cousins has now scored 20+ points in three straight games and is averaging a double-double over his last five games.
Curry is ranked 3rd in the NBA in scoring; Durant is tied 4th. The last time two teammates finished the regular season ranked in the Top 5 in scoring was in 2011-12 when Durant (1st) and Russell Westbrook (5th) did it while with the Thunder. Since 1968-69, it has happened seven times.
The Warriors were 115-111 winners in Boston on Jan. 26. Durant had 33 points and nine rebounds, Curry scored 24 points and Thompson had 21, including two key free throws. In a game that featured 21 lead changes, the Warriors went ahead 113-111 with 47 seconds left on Thompson’s only free throws of the game and held on as Boston had three chances to tie it or take the lead. Kyrie Irving scored 32 points with 10 assists and Al Horford had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Boston, which had won five straight and 10 in a row at home.
New York Knicks at Phoenix Suns
- When: Wednesday, 9 PM ET (NBA League Pass)
This is the “tankiest” game of the week with both clubs in the running for worst record in the NBA – remember, though, this year the teams with the three worst records all have an equal chance of winning the draft lottery.
The Phoenix Suns go for the season sweep as they were 128-110 winners at the Knicks on Dec. 17. Devin Booker tied his season high with 38 points, T.J. Warren scored 17 of his 26 during Phoenix’s 41-point third quarter. Phoenix outscored New York 41-17 in the third. Deandre Ayton finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Suns. Jamal Crawford had a career-high 14 assists. Emmanuel Mudiay had 32 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Knicks, who lost for the seventh time in eight games. Rookie forward Kevin Knox scored 17.
Of the Suns’ points this season, 57.7 percent have been scored by players age 22 or younger, which is the highest percentage of any team in the NBA this season and seventh-highest of any team in NBA history. Ayton is the first rookie and just 10th different player overall in NBA history to record a season averaging 15+ points and 10+ rebounds while shooting at least 55 percent from the field and at least 75 percent from the free throw line, and the first since Brad Daugherty in 1992-93.
Over the last 11 games, the New York Knicks’ Dennis Smith Jr. is averaging 15.5 points, 6.6 assists, and 2.7 rebounds. Over the last nine games, rookie big man Mitchell Robinson is averaging 11.1 points on 69.6% shooting, 8.7 rebounds, and 3.56 blocks. Robinson led all rookies in the month of February in blocks at 3.18 (next highest is 1.10), first in FG% at 71.6% (min. five games), fourth in rebounds at 8.7 and ninth in points at 11.0.
Remains to be seen if the Knicks will have center DeAndre Jordan as he missed another game Sunday with a left ankle sprain. Guard Frank Ntilikina (groin) said he will “ramp up” his rehab over the next couple of days. Ntilikina has missed each of the Knicks’ last 15 contests due to the groin injury he suffered back in January.
Expert NBA Betting Picks
Warriors sweep Celtics and Suns do the same to Knicks.