Thursday is one of the most important days on the NBA calendar as it’s the trade deadline. Already we have seen stars like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Kristaps Porzingis dealt. Could Anthony Davis be next? How about Kemba Walker? Will it really matter with how good the Warriors are? Here’s look at two intriguing NBA matchups this week. Check back for NBA odds.
Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – February 4th
Toronto at Philadelphia
- When: Tuesday, 8 PM ET (TNT)
Could be a playoff preview and it’s the final meeting between the teams, with the Raptors winning two of the first three – both at home. The Sixers took the one in Philly 126-101 on Dec. 22. Joel Embiid had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and Ben Simmons added 26 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. Pascal Siakam scored 26 points and Kyle Lowry added 20 for the Raptors. Toronto played without Kawhi Leonard, as well as Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas. The 76ers shot .541 (46-85) from the field, including 65 percent (13-20) in the fourth quarter.
Toronto enters off a 121-103 home win over the Clippers on Sunday without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. That has been a problem most of the season so not clear if he will play here. Lowry was chosen by the coaches as an All-Star reserve and will participate in his fifth straight All-Star Game. He joins Vince Carter (2000-04) and Chris Bosh (2006-10) as the only players in franchise history with five All-Star selections.
Serge Ibaka had 16 points and 12 boards Sunday. Ibaka has a career-best six straight double-doubles, Toronto’s longest streak since Chris Bosh had eight in November 2009. Toronto improved to 8-0 when playing with at least one day of rest and facing an opponent playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Raptors are 4-0 at home in such games.
Philly closed a four-game Western Conference trip at 2-2 with Saturday’s 115-108 loss at Sacramento. Joel Embiid made just 9-of-24 from the field and 11-of-13 from the line for 29 points with 17 rebounds, two assists, four blocks, one steal, and four turnovers. He’s averaging 29.8 points and 14.8 boards over the past six games. Jimmy Butler had 29 points four rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.
J.J. Redick (rest) and Wilson Chandler (quad) were both out Saturday. Redick should play here, but Chandler will miss 2-3 weeks. Chandler has been unable to stay healthy since being traded to Philadelphia. He’s played in just 36 games this season.
Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics
- When: Thursday, 8 PM ET (TNT)
Arguably the NBA’s best rivalry is renewed in the TNT opener Thursday. Of course, both teams also are competing with one another regarding a trade for Pelicans star Anthony Davis. Who knows maybe Davis is in a Lakers uniform by Thursday. The Celtics can’t really trade for Davis until July 1 when Kyrie Irving becomes a free agent. Some believe Irving could leave Boston and sign with the Lakers to play with LeBron James again.
The Pelicans have been underwhelmed by the Lakers’ initial offers for Davis, including their first offer of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley, and a first-round pick. The father of Davis says he does not want his son to play for the Celtics if they were to try to acquire him via trade this summer.
“I would never want my son to play for Boston after what they did to Isaiah Thomas,” Anthony Davis Sr. said, referencing the former Celtics star point guard who was traded for Irving amid his recovery from a hip injury. “No loyalty. Guy gives his heart and soul and they traded him.”
As for LeBron, we think he will play here. He returned last Thursday from his Christmas groin injury but then was a surprise scratch Saturday at Golden State with some soreness. After Saturday’s loss, several Lakers veterans and coach Luke Walton had an “emotionally-charged” exchange, according to reports. Walton reportedly preached about playing unselfishly, to which a few veterans – including Michael Beasley, JaVale McGee, and Lance Stephenson – took exception and created the heated conversation between the players and the coach. Tyson Chandler also was out Saturday but that was simply for rest.
Boston enters the week on a four-game winning streak after beating the Thunder 134-129 on Sunday. Irving shot 13-of-14 inside the arc on Sunday, scoring 30 points with 11 assists, four rebounds, one 3-pointer and one block in 37 minutes. Irving reached 20 points by halftime, marking the ninth straight game he’s scored at least 20 points. That is a season-best streak for Irving.
Celtics big man Aron Baynes (left foot contusion) will miss the next few weeks due to some foot soreness that has been bothering him for a while. Baynes already underwent an MRI, which showed that he was dealing with just a bruise of his cuboid bone. He’s going to shut it down until the All-Star break to heal up.
It’s the first meeting of the season between these historic franchises.
Expert NBA Betting Predictions
Back both home sides.