Wednesday tip-off: Four shrewd midweek selections for your NBA coupon
The Spurs – seemingly unstoppable over the past month – head our top tips for this basketball four-fold...
San Antonio Spurs to beat Boston Celtics -
The Celtics have struggled against the Spurs in recent years, losing each of their last 10 meetings dating back to 2011.
That streak is unlikely to come to end on Wednesday night, considering San Antonio have won 14 of their last 16 games since 11 November, including five of their last six at home.
The Spurs have been excellent on both ends of the floor, ranking seventh in both offensive and defensive rating this season.
Boston, meanwhile, have lost three of their last four games and have dropped to fifth in the Eastern Conference.
They will also miss point guard Isaiah Thomas – their leader in points, field goal attempts and assists this season – who is currently sidelined with a groin injury.
Brooklyn Nets to beat Los Angeles Lakers -
Picking the Nets – who have won just two of their last 10 games – might seem like a big risk here.
The Lakers just don’t look capable of beating anyone at the moment, though.
They have lost seven games in a row, and the return of injured starters D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle earlier this week has made little difference.
Brooklyn are a markedly better team at home – five of their six wins this season have come on their own court.
And while they were beaten by the Houston Rockets on Monday night, they managed to keep the game close against a clearly superior team.
They were much improved offensively with point guard Jeremy Lin back from a hamstring injury, and his scoring should help them inflict the Lakers’ eighth consecutive defeat.
Charlotte Hornets to beat Washington Wizards -
In a meeting of two of the NBA’s best point guards, Kemba Walker and the Hornets should come away victorious.
Walker has out-scored the Wizards’ John Wall this season, and is also shooting a better percentage from the field and three-point range.
Overall, Charlotte have been the better of these two teams on both ends of the floor this season.
They are averaging more points per game, and also rank fourth in defensive rating compared to the Washington, who are 22nd.
These teams each won two of their four meetings last season.
Judging by the starts they have made to the current campaign, though, the Hornets are the likelier winners here.
Detroit Pistons to beat Dallas Mavericks -
It is shocking how bad the Mavericks – a playoff team last year – have been this season.
They have lost eight of their last 12 games, and their overall record of six wins and 18 losses is the joint-worst in the league.
Another defeat would be no surprise against the Pistons, who have been steadily climbing in the Eastern Conference standings in recent weeks, winning seven of their last 11.
Detroit have restricted their opponents to the fifth-lowest field goal percentage in the NBA, and they currently rank second in defensive rating.
The Mavericks, meanwhile, have allowed the fifth-highest shooting percentage, while ranking 23rd in defensive rating.
Their 93.5 points per game is the league’s lowest mark, while the Pistons are averaging 99.1 per contest for the season, and 102.6 over their last eight.