After going 9-1 in my first picks article, (thanks, TJ Warren…) I decided perhaps it was a good idea to continue the series. Perhaps I have a knack for this. Here are my picks for all six August 2nd NBA games.
Nets -3.5 over Wizards
Both teams looked more competent than expected against the Magic and the Suns, but that isn’t saying much. Brooklyn had higher highs and lower lows in their first game back and overall probably have the two best players on the floor in Caris LaVert and Jarrett Allen.
Celtics -4.5 over Trail Blazers (Bet of the Day)
Assuming Jayson Tatum can shake off arguably the worst performance of his career, the Celtics should be able to handle Portland. A Kemba Walker-less Celtics team best the Blazers by 12 in Portland back in February. Given how both of their first games went, Boston will be the more desperate team, especially given the potential danger of them falling to 4th in the Eastern Conference.
Spurs +4 over Grizzlies
This will be an important game for Memphis after they failed to close out what should’ve been a win against the Trail Blazers. The Spurs are coming off a nice win against the Kings in which they looked very good, but remain a notch below the Grizzlies in terms of talent. Still, their youthful and small lineup that features DeMar DeRozan at power forward is equal parts fun to watch and hard to defend. That should remain the case against a Memphis team that likes to play big. Even if the Grizzlies do manage a win, it should be close.
Magic -2.5 over Kings
Everything you heard about Jonathan Isaac was true. He put up 16 points in only 16 minutes. It’s unclear whether his minutes will go up as bubble play continues, but they should. The Magic look like an entirely different team since we saw them last, and not in the way that the Brooklyn Nets do. They might be the most improved team in the bubble.
Bucks -4.5 over Rockets
The Rockets going small works against most bigs, but it won’t against Giannis. The advantage it gives Houston is it baits teams into running inefficient post up plays while they run a normal pace and space offense. Unfortunately, Giannis barreling towards the rim is Milwaukee’s normal offense and without legitimate size there to deter him, he should have a field day against the Rockets’ defense. No one can guard Giannis, but having a big that can meet him at the rim usually helps. No such player exists for the Rockets. Robert Covington and PJ Tucker are good defenders, but not good enough.
Suns +6 over Mavericks
This should be an extremely high-scoring matchup, but perhaps not as high-scoring as the Mavericks first game. Doncic and company are coming off a tiring overtime back and forth battle against the Houston Rockets while the Suns are riding high after an easy win against arguably the worst team in the bubble, the Washington Wizards. The Suns laying six points is enticing enough to take in this matchup.
Photo: (Jeff Hanisch – USA Today Sports)