Wednesday tip-off: 4 NBA bankers to fill your midweek acca
The Hornets' strong start should continue, while the Warriors are poised to beat their Western Conference rivals...
Charlotte Hornets to beat Detroit Pistons -
Currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets have been one of the NBA’s pleasant surprises this season.
They have – against all expectations – been a very solid all-round team, ranking in the top five in both rebounds and assists.
Six of Charlotte’s nine losses this year have come against playoff teams from last season, while the other three were all narrow overtime defeats.
They are not an easy team to beat.
The Pistons, meanwhile, have been on a good run lately but have lost eight of their 12 away games this season.
Only six teams have scored fewer points per game than Detroit this year, while the Hornets are the league’s 11th-highest scorers.
Denver Nuggets to beat Brooklyn Nets -
After a surprisingly average start to the season, the Nets are performing as everyone expected.
They have lost 10 of their last 11 games, and currently sit second-last in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn have allowed a league-high 114.4 points per game, only holding their opponents to under 100 points twice all season.
The Nuggets have been marginally better, allowing 109 points per game while also scoring at a better rate than their Wednesday-night opponents.
They rank higher than the Nets in both offensive and defensive rating, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, rebounds, assists and blocks.
Denver’s record of eight wins and 13 defeats is hardly impressive, but against a team this poor they should earn a second consecutive victory.
Portland Trail Blazers to beat Milwaukee Bucks -
The Trail Blazers have won three in a row, and now occupy the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The NBA’s fourth-highest scorers, they rank eighth in both field goal percentage and three-point percentage.
The Bucks, meanwhile, have a top-10 defence but have been mediocre at the other end of the court.
They rank 17th in offensive rating and 18th in points per game.
Their impressive recent run of four wins in five was boosted by two games against the frankly terrible Nets, and they have lost three of their last five at home.
This one will be close, but the Trail Blazers’ superior scoring should be enough to earn them the win.
Golden State Warriors to beat Los Angeles Clippers -
The Warriors won all four meetings between these teams last year, and should continue that dominance on Wednesday night.
The Clippers have made an excellent start to the season, but their opponents look unstoppable at the moment.
The reigning Western Conference champions have won 14 of their last 15 games – their only defeat in that time being a double-overtime thriller against the Houston Rockets last week.
They lead the NBA in field goal percentage, offensive rating and points per game, while also ranking 10th in defensive rating.
The Clippers are the league’s best defensive team, and there is little doubt that this game will be close.
But very few sides can cope with Golden State’s ball movement. They have recorded 673 assists this year, 158 more than the second-highest team.