Toronto Raptors (21-32) at Washington Wizards (15-36)
The Raptors have won 4 straight games thanks to their brilliant move to get Rudy Gay for virtually nothing. NBA odds makers have listed the Raptors as a 2.5 point betting underdog in this game. Thanks to the re-emergence of point guard John Wall, the Wizards have earned a respectable .500 in their last 10 games, and they are much better team with him on the court.
The Sky is the Limit
If John Wall were on the right team, he could possibly become another Russell Westbrook. Like Westbrook, Wall is one of the most explosive players in the NBA when the basketball is in his hands. He can basically do it all, but his offensive game just isn’t there yet. This is a player that has averaged 16.2 points, 8.1 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game for his career. Washington must do a better job of surrounding Wall with talent. Look for John Wall to play well at home in this game.
Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!!
For financial purposes, the Grizzlies were forced to trade Gay, who is a top 20 basketball player in the NBA, in exchange for very little. Toronto made out like bandits, and you can already see it in the standings and their current four game winning streak.
The Raptors will look to ride the backs of guys like Gay, DeMar, DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. DeRozan has been the hot player as of late with back to back 20 point efforts.
Toronto has plenty of options, and the momentum factor is definitely on their side. Getting 2.5 points in this game is a gift. Take the Raptors.
NBA Pick- Toronto +2.5 at 5 Dimes
Milwaukee (26-25) at Brooklyn (31-22)
Deron Williams has fallen short of expectations this year. Williams was supposed to be the franchise player for his team yet it’s Brook Lopez in the All Star game as Brooklyn’s lone representative.
The odds are out and the Nets are a 4.5 point betting favorite. Deron Williams is supposed to play even though he’s been dealing with a nagging ankle injury and Larry Sanders is “70-30” to play tonight for the Bucks. The 70-30 odds look good for Milwaukee, and they’ll need Sanders’ presence in the middle and his ability to block shots and be a 4th wheel to Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings, and Samuel Dalembert.
Check out Jeff Grant's free NBA picks for this matchup as well.
A Pleasant Surprise
The Bucks have quite a few players that can shine on any given night. This team does lack consistency, and this is the reason why they’re hovering around the .500 mark.
Ersan Illyasova was a walking double-double last seasons, but he’s struggled at times this year. Ellis and Jennings are the leaders of the team, but center, Samuel Dalembert has re-emerged upon the scene.
Dalembert is known for his defense, but much to the surprise of the Bucks and fantasy basketball players around the world, Dalembert’s offensive game has been a major factor for Milwaukee. In his last 5 games alone, Dalembert has averaged 16.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.
The Nets, who rank 5th in the league in defense, will now need to focus on a 3rd legitimate offensive threat in Dalembert. Will they be up for the task?
All Star, Brook Lopez
Never have I seen a player run onto the court in an All-Star game with such enthusiasm and spring in his step as Brook Lopez.
Lopez has been able to shrug off the injury bug to lead Brooklyn at 19 points per game as they position themselves for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. Look for Lopez to go big in this game.
Milwaukee has a bunch of individual threats, where as the Nets are a complete team. Take Brooklyn and lay the points in a competitive battle.
NBA Pick- Brooklyn -4.5 at 5 Dimes
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