WITH the NFL season done and dusted we have a solely basketball focused list for the next few weeks. This Sunday delivers some interesting games with the new-look Cavs a struggling Duke team and huge winning streaks on the line.
Last Sunday Picks: 5 – 5
Overall: 453 – 335
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Toronto Raptors (38-16) at Charlotte Hornets (23-32)
OWNERS of the best home record in the league, Toronto’s road record is fast becoming just as impressive. An early afternoon visit to North Carolina should see them chalk up another win away from Canada.
Verdict: Raptors W
Detroit Pistons (27-27) at Atlanta Hawks (17-39)
THE race to the bottom of the league is becoming super, super tight. Atlanta is close to being in the driver’s seat and they should help the Pistons bounce back to lock up a top-3 pick themselves.
Verdict: Pistons W
Cleveland Cavaliers (32-22) at Boston Celtics (40-17)
WHAT exactly will we see from the re-tooled Cavs? It’s tough to see Boston losing on Paul Pierce’s jersey retirement night, but I’m predicting a big showing from the King to give them a road win.
Verdict: Cavaliers W
New York Knicks (23-33) at Indiana Pacers (31-25)
AS New York braces for a Porzingis-less run to end the season there may be a silver lining. Luke Kornet had 11 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in his NBA debut after being called up to replace Porzingis. Enes Kanter is back and Emmanual Mudiay is making his Knicks debut, so I’m siding with the fourth straight road squad.
Verdict: Knicks W
Dallas Mavericks (18-38) at Houston Rockets (43-13)
THE Rockets are firing on all cylinders right now winning seven straight by an average of 15 points. This doesn’t bode well for the Dallas Mavericks.
Verdict: Rockets W
Sacramento Kings (17-37) at Minnesota Timberwolves (34-24)
ANOTHER matchup with a West cellar dweller and a West top-four squad. Expect the same script to be followed for this one.
Verdict: Timberwolves W
Image from si.com
Memphis Grizzlies (18-36) at Oklahoma City Thunder (31-25)
THE status of Carmelo Anthony and Russell Westbrook is up in the air for Sunday against Memphis. Even if the duo fails to suit up I still think Paul George can help OKC derail the Grizz.
Verdict: Thunder W
Utah Jazz (27-28) at Portland Trailblazers (31-25)
THIS matchup is super interesting. The Jazz have won eight games in a row reinserting themselves into the playoff picture as a result. With wins over the Raptors, Warriors and Spurs they won’t be worried about travelling to Portland. This could get interesting, but I have faith in the Blazers halting Utah.
Verdict: Trailblazers W
#20 Michigan Wolverines (19-7) at Wisconsin Badgers (11-15)
THE Badgers snapped their recent losing streak thanks to their junior big man Ethan Happ. He matches up against Moritz Wagner, the Wolverines own junior big man, with a chance to get consecutive wins. Spoiler alert, they won’t.
Verdict: Wolverines W
Image from writingillini.com
#6 Cincinnati Bearcats (22-2) at SMU Mustangs (15-9)
THIS game has danger written all over it for the Bearcats. With 15 wins in a row on the line, the Mustangs can cause some problems at home where they own a 13-1 record. This is a real test for Cinci and I’ll follow this one closely. SMU.
Verdict: Mustangs W
#9 Duke Blue Devils (19-5) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11-13)
THREE losses in four tries have Duke sliding in the AP rankings. They can take solace in knowing they aren’t the only top team suffering at the moment, but a win over the Yellow Jackets is crucial to steady the ship.
Verdict: Blue Devils W