On Friday, the L.A. Lakers won in San Antonio and the Pistons triumphed in Phoenix. It’s worth offering the reminder that anything can happen on any given night. Here’s our NBA picks for Sunday.
Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat
Odds: Bulls -3
The Miami Heat have failed to do anything consistently well this season, which is one reason why it’s hard to pick them to win this game even though they’re returning from a long and difficult road swing in which they actually didn’t do that badly. The Heat got roughed up by Denver, Memphis and Milwaukee, but they picked off road wins at Phoenix and Utah to avoid a knockout blow early in the season. The problem with the Heat is that they’re 4-6 at home. They just cannot protect their home floor the way they did last season with LeBron James at the controls. More than that, the Bulls are the second-best road team in the NBA at this point in the season, and the best road team in the Eastern Conference. Golden State is 11-1 on the road, but Chicago is a close second at 10-3. The Heat might have home-court disadvantage in this game, not home-court advantage. Miami is 4-6 in its last 10 games, Chicago 6-4. You would have to think that Chicago should get the job done in this one. Take them with your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Bulls -3 at Bookmaker
Utah Jazz vs. Washington Wizards
Odds: Wizards -9
This is a game in which you have to trust the Wizards’ superior talent and experience. Utah is a team that’s just going to have to learn how to play this season. The Jazz are a team built for the future, with so many young parts trying to come together under first-year head coach Quin Snyder. The Jazz cannot develop any momentum. If they take one step forward, they just as quickly take one step backward. They beat the San Antonio Spurs at home this week, but then fell at home to the Miami Heat. That loss to Miami is a classic indicator of a team that doesn’t yet know how to carry itself the right way on a daily basis. The Wizards, on the other hand, look more and more like a team that can go deep into the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Wizards dispatched the Los Angeles Clippers at home on Friday night and have managed to win three games in a row, seven of their last 10. Utah is 1-9 in its last 10. This is not a hard pick.
NBA Pick: Wizards (opened at -9) at Pinnacle
Phoenix Suns vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Odds: Thunder -7
This is a game in which you have to think the Thunder will win. Phoenix has lost to Miami and Detroit at home this past week. The Suns do not have the spark or the cohesion they were able to find a season ago. Oklahoma City, meanwhile, has won five in a row, and has not suffered a particularly bad loss ever since Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant returned to the lineup. They are listed at -6.5 in our NBA odds, so make the sensible call here, and don’t try to out-think yourself.
NBA Pick: Oklahoma City -6.5 at The Greek