Here's our take on two games for Tuesday, with our free NBA picks.
Mavs at Bucks (8 pm ET)
Milwaukee returns home after a 2-1 West Coast road trip to host Dallas.
The Bucks have won six of their last seven games, after beating the Kings in Sacramento Sunday 115-113. So Milwaukee owns the eight spot in the Eastern Conference standings, and sits just two games behind fifth-seeded Chicago.
The Bucks recent 6-1 streak coincides with the arrival of sharpshooting JJ Redick from Orlando.
But Milwaukee is a bit banged up at the moment; forwards Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders, who are averaging a combined 21 points and 16 boards per game, both missed Sunday's game with sore knees, as did Redick, because of a sore ankle. JJ hopes to play Tuesday night, but Ilyasova and Sanders are both still listed as questionable.
Dallas has won three in a row, after beating the Timberwolves in Minneapolis Sunday 100-77. So the Mavs, at 29-33, sit in 10th place in the West, three games back of the eighth-place LA Lakers.
Milwaukee is one of those teams that pops up and wins games when not expected, but seems to lose games you'd think it should win. We had a winner with the Bucks two weeks ago when they upset Dallas 95-90 as five-point dogs.
But in the topsy-turvy world that is the NBA we expect the Mavs to return the favor Tuesday night.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Mavs at the +115 offered on the NBA betting moneyline at Pinnacle.
Grizzlies at Trailblazers (10 pm ET)
Memphis and Portland hook up for the third time this season Tuesday night out at the Rose Garden. NBA odds makers have opened the Grizzlies as the small 1.5 point favorites, and the total sits at 208.
Memphis has won 12 of its last 13 games, after beating New Orleans Saturday 96-85.
So the Grizz, at 42-19, sit in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, 4.5 games behind first-place San Antonio.
Portland has been treading water recently, going 4-3 on the heels of a seven-game losing streak. Last Friday the Blazers bombed San Antonio 136-106, but Sunday they lost to the Pelicans 98-96 on a bucket with two seconds to go.
So Portland is clinging to the edge of the Western Conference playoff picture, sitting in a tie for 10th place, three games off the pace for the eight spot.
The Blazers have also been playing in a bit of hard luck recently; their last five losses have come by four, four, two, six and two points.
These teams have split two games already this season. The Blazers won at Memphis back in January 86-84, but last Wednesday the Grizzlies rallied from a 17-point third-quarter deficit to win 91-85, also in Memphis.
Grizzlies F Zach Randolph, who's averaging 16 points and 12 boards per game this season, missed both previous games vs. Portland, and he's missed the Grizzlies' last four games with a sore ankle. But he is expected to play Tuesday night.
On the other side of this match-up Portland F LaMarcus Aldridge, who's averaging 21 and nine, turned an ankle Sunday, and his status for Tuesday night is uncertain.
Memphis is very quietly putting together a very good season, led by a defense that leads the league in allowing just 89 PPG. The Grizzlies are also 17-11 SU and 18-10 ATS on the road this season.
Portland, on the other hand, is 20-10 SU and 16-13 ATS at home.
These teams have already played two close games this season, but Randolph missed both games. His presence Tuesday night should make a difference and tip the scales toward Memphis.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Grizz at the -1.5 points offered at Matchbook.[gameodds]5/221146/43/us[/gameodds]