The longest winning streak in the NBA entering this week belongs to, no surprise, the Golden State Warriors. They are an another 70-win pace and remain the NBA championship betting favorites. But it’s a tough week for the Dubs with some quality opponents.
Go over whatever total is posted in this game as both these clubs are pretty terrible on defense. Ricky Rubio (personal) is expected to rejoin the Wolves for this game. He sat out Sunday’s game against the Nuggets. Rookie Kris Dunn thrived as a starter in place of Rubio on Sunday, finishing with 10 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, three steals, one block and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Dunn averaged just 4.4 points on 28.0 percent shooting in five starts earlier this season, but he’s come a long way since then. Dunn’s improvement is why the Wolves are trying to trade Rubio. Karl-Anthony Towns carried the Wolves to a 111-108 home win on Sunday, racking up 32 points (13-of- 19 FGs, 6-of- 8 FTs), 12 rebounds, seven assists, four blocks, one steal and six turnovers in 40 minutes.
The Suns are playing better basketball and upset the Raptors in Toronto on Sunday, 115-103. Eric Bledsoe busted loose for a career- high 40 points, adding six boards, 13 dimes (season-high), four triples and four turnovers through 42 minutes of action. He also went 11-of- 17 from the field and was a perfect 14-of- 14 from the charity stripe. Bledsoe has been playing some of the best ball of his life over this past month, averaging 22.7 points, 5.2 boards, 7.8 assists and 1.5 steals. The Suns are 0-2 vs. the Wolves this season but I lean them here. It’s more about the total, though.
Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers, Wednesday
This is an ESPN game and you should always be betting against the Lakers when they are on the road as they have just five away wins, the second-fewest in the NBA and are well below. 500 ATS on the road. They were embarrassed in a 49-point loss in Dallas on Sunday, the worst loss in franchise history. “We didn’t show up to play, honestly, which is frustrating,” first-year Lakers coach Luke Walton said after the 122-73 drubbing. “Honestly, it’s embarrassing for us as a team and for us as an organization, for our Laker fans that are so good to us.” The Mavs blew it open by outscoring the Lakers 38-11 in the fourth. Los Angeles had more turnovers (five) than field goals (four on 17 attempts) during the quarter. The Lakers (16-32) have dropped six of their last seven games. Four of those losses have come by double digits, including a 40-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs and Sunday’s historic humiliation.
Portland ended a four-game losing streak with a 127-123 OT upset win in Boston on Saturday. Damian Lillard had a three-point play with 47 seconds left in overtime and finished with 28 points. CJ McCollum scored 35 points to lead Portland. The Blazers are 2-0 vs. the Lakers this season, winning each by at least nine points. They will again here.
LA Clippers at Golden State Warriors, Saturday
This is the ABC Saturday night showcase game. If the Clippers were at full strength, this might be interesting. But of course they aren’t with point guard Chris Paul out about two months following thumb surgery. It’s possible star power forward Blake Griffin could get back this week. Griffin said on Saturday that he’s ready to return to action, and he expects to take the floor during the team’s current road trip.
“I’m as close as you can feel,” Griffin said in his first public comments since he underwent an arthroscopic procedure to remove loose bodies from his right knee on Dec. 20. Prior to the injury, the five-time All-Star was averaging 21.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists this season on a true shooting percentage of 54.3 and a Player Efficiency Rating of 22.32. Griffin is a fine player but Paul is more important to the team and the Clippers were handled by both Minnesota and Denver last week without Paul. The Warriors won the first meeting with L.A. 115-98 on Dec. 7. Go Warriors here.