Hornets Won't Break Through Wall vs. Defensive-Minded Wizards

Wizards Wall

Troy Haliburton

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 2:06 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 2:06 PM UTC

The Hornets figured out the right way to play, but are they the smart choice against the Wizards tonight in your NBA picks? Let's examine that game and two others and try to cash in.

Wednesday NBA: Wizards vs. Hornets

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Free NBA Pick: Wizards +2Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

Charlotte begins a three-game homestand in which they will try to get back in the Eastern Conference playoff race, while Washington starts a five-game road trip. The Hornets are finally able to spread the ball around and have players other than Kemba Walker who can score. Dwight Howard got back to his dominant ways after recording two double-doubles in the last two games, while Nicolas Batum and Jeremy Lamb combined to score 29 and 33 points, respectively. This style of play is needed after Walker carried the load offensively for Charlotte this year, The Hornets are a much better team when they can spread the wealth, and that will be the objective tonight.

Washington will try to continue its strong defensive ways, as they have kept six of their last seven opponents to less than 100 points. A key to the Wizards' improved defense has been the return of Markieff Morris, who is finally getting into a groove after having sports hernia surgery. His versatility on the defensive end has unlocked a variety of lineups for the Wizards. Morris can play power forward and center in small-ball lineups, and he can effectively switch onto smaller defenders on the perimeter. The Wizards also utilize Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter’s length on the defensive end to disrupt passing lanes, helping the Wizards remain one of the NBA leaders in deflections.

John Wall is looking to start playing better in the fourth quarter of games as he did last season, and push the Wizards to victory against an sub-.500 team,

Wednesday NBA: Pistons vs. Raptors

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Free NBA Pick: Pistons +8.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

Watching the Raptors, I noticed an imbalance in their roster when it comes to their big men. Jonas Valanciunas is the traditional big man who cannot stretch the defense and is a lumberer in the paint, whereas Serge Ibaka fits the modern mode of a stretch forward but shies away from contact around the rim. It is virtually impossible to win in the NBA when you can’t rely on your big men to get down and dirty in the paint and compete for rebounds.

Detroit's Avery Bradley is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA and he will display his skills against Kyle Lowry, who is just returning from injury and might not have regained the playmaking skills to shake a pesty Bradley. One of the strengths of Bradley’s game is the fact he can pick up opponents 94 feet from the basket and make dribbling the ball up the court uncomfortable. If Bradley can slow Lowry, it will disrupt the Raptors' offense and force them to play like they have in the past, solely dependent on DeMar DeRozan to win his isolation matchups.

Both of these teams rank in the top five in covering spreads this season. The Pistons have a record of 23-14-2 ATS, and the Raptors are right in front of them at 25-15-1 ATS. Look for the Pistons to get the upset.

Wednesday NBA: Heat vs. Bucks

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Free NBA Pick: Heat -4.5Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

The Heat are led by Goran Dragic, who is averaging 19 points per game. The only problem with the Heat is that their star players are constantly getting hurt. Hassan Whiteside does not look like the same player after missing extensive time with a bruised knee, and Dion Waiters is out for the season with an ankle injury that he probably should have had surgery on in the offseason.

Milwaukee is coming into its own as a team on the rise in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks' strength is their versatility and ability to switch multiple positions on the defensive end. This team wins when Giannis Antetokounmpo has support, and will more than likely lose when the team fails to take advantage of opposing defenses leaving them wide open.

The Heat allow only 31 percent from opposing teams beyond the 3-point line. Look for the Bucks' ancillary players to struggle to get off shots against the Heat's swarming defense, as Whiteside attempts to protect the rim.

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