Saturday's Top Spots on the NBA Plus an Early Sunday Tilt

Troy Haliburton

Saturday, December 16, 2017 5:53 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 5:53 PM UTC

Another NBA week is wrapping up and our expert capper, Troy Haliburton will make sure to give you some free picks that will boost your weekend earnings.

Thunder vs Knicks

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Free NBA Pick: Thunder -3.5Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

After last night’s thrilling triple overtime victory over the Sixers, Oklahoma City will travel up I-95 to take on Carmelo Anthony’s old team, the New York Knicks. At this point, the Knicks have to be very satisfied with their decision to move on from the Carmelo Anthony era because it allows them to move forward with the Kristaps Porzingis era. Porzingis is ready to step into the role of franchise player and he needed Anthony’s departure for his own personal growth and development.

At 15-13, the Knicks have actually amassed a better record than the 14-14 Thunder, and a lot of that has to do with the pieces that came over in the Carmelo Anthony trade. Enes Kanter is having one of his best seasons as a pro, averaging 13.4 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game. Not only is Kanter playing well on the court, but he is exuding a bit of leadership off the court. Also in that trade was small forward Doug McDermott, who is finally coming into his own as an NBA player. Dougy McBuckets is shooting 40% from three point range and is finally looking like the confident player that came out of Creighton.

The Thunder continue to make everything difficult for themselves, and all signs are pointing towards this experiment being done at the end of the season. If the Thunder want to change the course of their ship, then games like this can not slip through their fingers.

Bucks vs Rockets

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Free NBA Pick: Rockets -11Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

The Bucks were once riding high on the Greek Feek allure that is taking the NBA by storm, and while Giannis is still playing at an extremely high level, it is not adding up in wins for his team. Simply put, Giannis’ teammates are letting him down. The Bucks outside shooters have one of the easiest jobs in America because all they have to do is stand in their hot spots and wait for the defense to sink in on Giannis, leaving them wide open. Jason Kidd has to do a much better job of fielding lineups with enough shooting around Giannis.

Houston is coming into tonight with the best record in the NBA and the eye test matches up with the results on paper, because the Rockets are absolutely steamrolling people. Chris Paul and James Harden in the same backcourt is proving to be a lethal combination in part because of both players versatility. Both can dominate the ball and create for themselves and others and both players can also play off the ball as fantastic spot up shooters. Chris Paul is undefeated in the 13 games he has played in this season and there is no reason why that personal streak should not continue.

Jazz vs Cavs

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Free NBA Pick: Cavs -10Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

Cleveland is coming in on a three-game winning streak where LeBron James put on a talent display that leaves little debate as to who is the best player in the NBA. James takes pride in being able to unify a whole new cast of characters and lead them through the beginning portion of the season. The Cavs have the luxury of knowing that help is on the way in the form of Isaiah Thomas, and that he will be able to cut down on his league-leading 42 minutes per game.

The thing about the Cavs is that they know that they are a team in this season for the long-haul, so it is much more important for them to be peaking in April, rather than November. There is still a baseline level of production that must come from the Cavs in order to be best positioned in the postseason. In order to maintain that baseline level, the Cavs have to start playing better against inferior opponents.

Utah is still figuring out their new team dynamics, and the one thing that is becoming obvious is the fact that Donovan Mitchell is a damn good basketball player. Mitchell is dominating on the offensive end as a combo guard and even as a rookie, is learning how to take over games with his play-making skills. This game will be a huge test in the learning curve for Mitchell, but Lebron is not ready to let any young players outduel him.

Magic vs PistonsFree NBA Pick: Pistons -5Best Line Offered: **No Lines Posted At Press Time**

Orlando is in a major slump, having lost their last four games 10 of their last 12 overall. This slide could have been predictable for Orlando because the way that they were playing at the start of the season was clearly unsustainable. Orlando was shooting and making the most threes in the NBA for a stretch and a lot of that was coming from Aaron Gordon who is definitely not known for being a prolific sharp-shooter. Not only are the Magic struggling on the offensive end, they are also struggling mightily to stop teams from scoring at will. The Magic give up 110 points per night, making them the 27th ranked defense in the NBA.

Following the Pistons hot start, they lost seven games in a row before winning their last two and are in the process of trying to get back to their defensive identity that lead to so much early season success. The Pistons defense still ranks top 10 in opponents points per game, with them giving up 107 ppg. Detroit has the anchor down low in Andre Drummond, and at least one perimeter defensive stopper in Avery Bradley. What they don’t have is a a defensive stopper that can check small and power forwards.

One of the weakest positions on the court is the small forward position for the Pistons. Stanley Johnson has underperformed and do not be surprised if Stan Van Gundy elects to go to the rookie Luke Kennard at the small forward position. Kennard is a much better shooter than Johnson, shooting a clip of 38% from three point range while Johnson only hits 28% of his shots from deep.

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