Toronto Raptors (14-23) at Brooklyn Nets (23-15)
The Brooklyn Nets have gone on a major tear, winning 6 consecutive games and playing like they did at the beginning of the season. Much of this change can be credited to the coaching of P.J. Carlesimo. Carlesimo is a well- traveled coach and a disciplinarian. Many of you might remember him as the coach that was chocked by Lattrell Sprewell. Well, this Brooklyn team is buying into Carlesimo’s style of coaching, and team owner Mikael Prokhorov comes out looking like a genius after giving Avery Johnson the early axe.
Although he still hasn’t played up to the franchise tag, the Nets seem to win when Deron Williams is playing strong basketball. Shooting has been an issue with Williams all season. At times, he’s actually been afraid to shoot the ball, but during this winning streak, Williams has gotten his confidence back. He’s shooting a more than respectable 47.7% from the field in his last 5 games while averaging nearly 20 points per contest. Look for Williams to continue to find his touch as Brooklyn looks to extend the streak.
A winning streak can never be “overrated”, but the Nets haven’t played any world beaters during the last 6 games, and Toronto is another beatable basketball team.
Toronto doesn’t stand much of a chance in this game. They’ve only won 4 out of 19 games on the road and the Barclays Center has become a hostile environment.
Don’t Look at the Stats
Toronto didn’t know what they had in Ed Davis until recently. Now, he’s taken over the power forward position and has become a fantasy league player’s delight. Davis is pouring in double-digit points and near double-digit rebounds on a nightly basis. The upside is very high for this former Tarheel, and in his last 3 games, Davis is averaging 16.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He’ll be much needed as the Nets are laced with big men that have talent.
The NBA odds makers are listing the Nets at -7, but I am expecting the Raptors to keep things a bit closer. Look for another strong performance out of Ed Davis, as he he and the Raptors will give the Nets a fight tonight.
NBA Picks: Toronto +7
Indiana Pacers (23-15) at Charlotte Bobcats (9-28)
This is one of those games where the far superior team is on the road and a large betting favorite. A lot of times in situations like this, unless it’s the Sacramento Kings, the home team not only covers the spread but they win the game. I’ve seen this with Miami a few times. Will Charlotte pull off the upset as an 8 point underdog?
Let's look at this matchup from a betting standpoint and decide where the best value lies for our NBA picks.
The Bobcats Are Just That Bad !
One player doesn’t make a team, and although Kemba Walker is a stud, he can’t do it all by himself. The Pacers have a nice collection of players that know their role and excel as a team. Paul George is the leader, but David West, George Hill and Roy Hibbert are all capable of leading this team to victory. Just as I’m writing this, the Pacers are coming off of a disappointing loss to Brooklyn, but David West led the way with 27 points. Indiana is too well rounded and they also have the best defense in the league, yielding less than 90 points per game.
Two games ago, the Pacers beat the Bobcats by 8 point at home. 8 points are a lot, but look for the Pacers to take it a bit further against an inexperienced and overmatched Bobcats club and beat them by double digits in this game.
NBA Picks: Indiana -8[gameodds]5/134286/43/us[/gameodds]