The NBA is approaching a new year, but before it comes we could see the Brooklyn Nets land a high profile coach. That’s a real possibility, while story-lines continue on with DeMarcus Cousins not a lock for Friday’s action, and Miami’s Dwyane Wade denying that “the kick heard round the world” was on purpose.
That and more will cloud the weekend, to be sure, but right now all we can really distract ourselves is another hefty Friday of NBA basketball action. In turn, that begs for an onslaught of NBA picks, as well. Trevor Gunn is still away (although he shall return), and I’ll continue to fill in on an interim basis.
Let’s take a look at all the games and see who you should be betting on to emerge with a victory on Friday night:
Magic @ Wizards
Orlando isn’t awesome on the road, but they’re twice the team that Washington is (2-11 at home). J.J. Redick continues to play well off the bench and Orlando can catch fire from outside on any given night.
Magic win, 104-87.
Suns @ Pacers
Phoenix is without star point guard Goran Dragic and they’ve been atrocious on the road. Indiana is more rested than usual after having their last game PPD due to bad weather. Look for the Pacers to run over the Suns at home under fresh legs.
Pacers win, 103-96.
Bobcats @ Nets
Make it loss number 17 in a row for the Bobcats, who are a mess and a joke wrapped up in one ball. Brooklyn gets win number one without Avery Johnson this year.
Nets win, 99-90.
Heat @ Pistons
Miami is in another class than the Pistons. Detroit isn’t terrible at home, but this one should still be a breeze for the Heat, even with Dwyane Wade suspended for a game.
Heat win, 111-94.
Hawks @ Cavaliers
Atlanta is cruising right along at 17-9 and is actually a pretty solid road team. Cleveland is just getting their act together again with Kyrie Irving back. They’re no match for Atlanta right now.
Hawks win, 96-86.
Raptors @ Hornets
Toronto gets Kyle Lowry back, but they still can’t play defense and are atrocious on the road this year (2-15). New Orleans is probably the most competitive bad team I’ve ever seen.
Hornets win, 97-93.
Rockets @ Spurs
James Harden will get his numbers, but San Antonio plays too good of team defense to drop this one at home. They’re 11-2 in their own backyard, so I can’t see the Rockets becoming the third team to knock’em down tonight.
Spurs win, 104-101.
Nuggets @ Mavericks
Dallas has been shaky with Dirk Nowitzki semi-back, and I think those struggles continue tonight. Denver isn’t the most consistent team, but as long as Nowitzki isn’t 100%, the Mavs won’t be, either.
Nuggets win, 113-107.
Clippers @ Jazz
I’m about to mess with a 15-game winning streak, and I don’t really care. I know Utah is pretty inconsistent and stands at mediocre 15-15, but L.A.’s remarkable run has to end sooner or later and the Jazz don’t get pushed around at home too often (9-3).
Jazz win, 89-86.
Knicks @ Kings
About the only place the Kings win is at home (one road win all year), so you have to give them a shot anytime they’re in Sac-Town – even if they’re facing a tough opponent. It hinges on DeMarcous Cousins playing, but if he does I’ll take the Kings in a shootout. Here’s to hoping Jimmer Fredette drops 30 points, too.
Kings win, 115-112.
Blazers @ Lakers
The Lakers got their five-game winning streak snapped in their last game, so they’ll just have to start another one. They look like a completely different team with a healthy Steve Nash running the show, so I like them at home tonight.
Lakers win, 104-99.
76ers @ Warriors
The final game of the night could either be a defensive battle or a blowout by the hands of the potent Warriors. I’m leaning more towards defense, as Jrue Holiday has the ability to shut Stephen Curry down. Philly has been struggling, but perhaps a big win tonight can get them going.
76ers win, 90-88.