NBA tips: Back the Cavs and 76ers in our Wednesday 4-fold
Philadelphia's dynamic duo should power them past the Lakers, while Cleveland's resurgence should continue against the Hornets.
Philadelphia 76ers to beat Los Angeles Lakers –
The 76ers have found form after a tricky start, winning six of their last eight games, including a 109-105 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night.
Their dynamic young duo of 23-year-old Joel Embiid and 21-year-old Ben Simmons are incredibly difficult to stop and they will be the two best players on the court in this game against the Lakers.
Los Angeles have lost three of their last four games and have struggled offensively this season, ranking 28th in offensive rating so far.
They’re shooting the lowest three-point percentage in the NBA, which bodes poorly for their chances, given that an elite shot-blocker like Embiid will likely force them to shoot more from the outside.
New York Knicks to beat Utah Jazz –
The Knicks have been excellent at home so far this season, with six of their seven wins coming at Madison Square Garden.
They’ve won four of their last six overall, thanks mainly to power forward Kristaps Porzingis, who has averaged 29.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Another win looks likely when they host a Jazz team that are yet to win on the road.
Utah are averaging the third-fewest points per game, and it’s hard to see them outscoring the Knicks, who rank inside the top 10 in offensive rating.
Cleveland Cavaliers to beat Charlotte Hornets –
Cleveland have only won half of their 14 games this season, but the Eastern Conference champions have started to get back to their best with two successive wins.
The Cavs are missing starters Tristan Thompson and Derrick Rose through injury, but their bench has stepped up, outscoring the Knicks’ reserves 54-16 in their last outing.
They should continue to improve against a Hornets team that have lost four successive games.
Cleveland have been poor defensively this season, but Charlotte – who rank inside the bottom 10 in offensive rating – aren’t the kind of team to cause them many problems.
San Antonio Spurs (+5) to beat Minnesota Timberwolves –
The Spurs are near the top of the Western Conference once again this season, winning nine of their 14 games so far, including five of their last six.
Gregg Popovich’s side have been excellent defensively, holding their opponents to the third-fewest points per game and conceding over 100 just once in their last five.
They now take on a young Timberwolves team that have made a decent start to the season but have lost two of their last three.
Minnesota have played particularly well at home this season but the Spurs are the more consistent all round team and are worth backing to at least keep it close.