We had a trade in the NBA over the weekend as the Washington Wizards sent Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers to Phoenix for Trevor Ariza – a pretty good deal for the Suns. Originally, it was a three-way deal involving Memphis but that fell apart when the Suns thought they were getting Dillon Brooks and Memphis had thought the deal involved MarShon Brooks. Pretty embarrassing all around. Here’s a look at two interesting NBA matchups this week. Check back for NBA odds.
Top NBA Betting Picks of the Week – December 17th Edition
The Lakers make their lone visit of the season to Brooklyn. Of course, these teams made a big trade in June 2017 that sent D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to Brooklyn for Brook Lopez and a 2017 first-round pick. That pick became Kyle Kuzma, so you’d have to say the Lakers ended up winning that deal. It also opened up salary-cap space that L.A. eventually used to lure LeBron James.
L.A. is a bit short-handed at the moment with both Brandon Ingram (sprained left ankle) and Rajon Rondo (hand surgery) out. The Lakers and Nets have met 87 times, with Los Angeles leading the all-time series 64-23. On the road, the Lakers are 8-2 in their last 10 games. The Lakers have won 16 of the last 20 matchups with the Nets overall. L.A. is 7-5 against the Nets since the franchise moved to Brooklyn.
The Nets are playing their best ball of the year, winning a sixth straight Sunday, 144-127 over Atlanta. Russell had his best game of the season with 32 points, six rebounds, seven assists, five 3-pointers and two steals over 29 minutes. He didn’t commit a single turnover. The 144 points by the Nets accounted for the most points scored in a regulation home game in franchise history, and their 42-point first quarter was the most points they’ve scored during an opening period since making the move to Brooklyn.
The Nets have scored at least 70 points in the first half of their last two games, a feat the Nets hadn’t accomplished since the 1983-84 season. The Nets scored 70 points through two quarters against Washington on Friday and had 72 at the half against Atlanta.
Brooklyn was without the injured Allen Crabbe (knee) Sunday. Rodions Kurucs scored 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting Sunday, to go with one 3-pointer, six rebounds, and four assists starting in place of Crabbe.
Indiana Pacers at Toronto Raptors
When: Wednesday, 7:30 PM ET (NBA League Pass)
Indiana enters the week on a season-high seven-game winning streak and it should be up to eight by Wednesday because the Pacers host terrible Cleveland on Tuesday. Not clear if they will have Tyreke Evans after he sat Sunday vs. the Knicks with a right knee injury.
Indiana boasts the league’s top scoring defense in the NBA while allowing 101.3 points per game. During the Pacers’ winning streak, they have held opponents to an average of 96.0 points per game on 41.1 percent shooting from the field and 28.3 percent from 3-point range. The Pacers have held their opponents to 101 or fewer points in all seven games of the streak. Indiana is 10-0 this season when they have held their opponents to 97 or fewer points.
Bojan Bogdanovic leads the NBA this season in 3-point percentage at 50.0 percent and is averaging a career-best 16.6 points per game.
The Raptors will be without center Jonas Valanciunas for at least a month. He dislocated his left thumb in last week’s shockingly one-sided win at Golden State. Valanciunas was swatted across both hands in an aggressive move by Golden State’s Draymond Green.
Through 30 games – 20 coming off the bench, 10 as a starter – Valanciunas was averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds on 57.5 percent shooting. While those numbers aren’t far removed from his career averages, that he was posting them while playing a career-low in minutes is a reflection of how well he had been playing. By sharing the center position with Serge Ibaka the Raptors have been getting all-NBA caliber production out of the platoon.
It will be the first true test of the team’s depth and resolve, removing a proven veteran big man from the rotation in the middle of the regular season. Greg Monroe will start seeing more minutes. Canadian Chris Boucher has been called up from Raptors 905 (G League) for insurance.
Remains to be seen if the Raptors will have either Kyle Lowry or Fred VanVleet. Both missed Sunday’s game in Denver. Lowry missed his second straight and leads the NBA in assists. In addition, forward Pascal Siakam sat Sunday with back stiffness but he’s likely back Wednesday. Siakam took a hard fall in Friday’s game in Portland and did not return.
Last season, Toronto was 3-1 vs. Indiana and has won the past nine home meetings.
Expert NBA Betting Picks
Raptors make it 10 straight at home over Pacers and Nets upset Lakers.