We have eight games on Monday’s NBA schedule, highlighted by a Western Conference showdown between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers. This intriguing battle, which will air on ESPN, has an opening tip at 10 p.m. ET.
Ahead of this game, Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors travel to Bayou to face the New Orleans Pelicans. The contest, which will also be on ESPN, has a scheduled start time of 7:30 p.m. ET.
Raheem Palmer and Brandon Anderson each have a game for you on the map. Check out each of their selections below, along with their detailed analysis to support those choices.
NBA odds and picks
Magic against pistons
Brandon Anderson: Folks, what we have here is downright tank-off.
The Orlando Magic are between 20 and 44 years old. The Detroit Pistons are 19-45 years old. Yes, they are the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference and they are the worst teams in the NBA outside of Houston. While everyone is focused on the playoff races, this is a pretty big game for both teams.
Loser gets the indoor track to finish with the second-worst record in the league, which means at least the No.6 pick in the NBA Draft and a little more than a 50/50 shot to get into the top four for someone like Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs or Jalen Green. It’s a very heavy draft, and for two teams without franchise players, it really matters.
These teams know it too. They closed all potential winning players within reason. The Pistons are seated Jerami Grant, Cory Joseph, Wayne Ellington and Hamidou Diallo. The Magic will host Terrence Ross, Otto Porter, James Ennis, Michael Carter-Williams, and Chuma Okeke, and they’re already without Markelle Fultz and Jonny Isaac, and all of the top players have been traded.
These teams are treating it like a Summer League game, and they want to lose. That means a lot of bad shot selection, an overabundance of turnovers and bad basketball all around. More than anything else, it means a bad offense.
Both teams are struggling to score. The Pistons are only scoring 103.3 points per game in their last 10 outings, with 110 points or less in all but one. They allow 108.6 PPG during this period. The magic was even worse. They are just 101.5 PPG in their last 12 games, with 112 points or less in all but one contest.
These teams don’t score because they deploy ugly rosters with a lot of rookies and other guys on the NBA sidelines.
It’s a low line, but there’s a real chance neither team will reach 100 points. If either of them gets even closer, it could mean a quick hook for Cole Anthony or Saddiq Bey or anyone playing well enough to accidentally threaten a winning game. I will play under 210.5 and play 209 as the first choice.
Trail Blazers vs. Hawks
Raheem Palmer: The Portland Trailblazers appeared dead in the water about a week ago. After losing five straight games and seven of their last eight, many have wondered if this is the end of the Blazers as we know them.
Would star Damian Lillard ask for a trade? Head coach Terry Stotts fired? Will Blazers break Lillard-CJ McCollum backcourt? Chris Haynes posted an article suggesting that Lillard didn’t have the parts around him to compete for a championship, and given their relationship, many have assumed that Lillard is linked to the story.
While Lillard’s connection to the story remains unfounded, the East Coast road trip has been a magical elixir for Portland’s recent struggles, as it has won four in a row against the Pacers, Grizzlies, Nets and Celtics. Now they’re looking to continue that streak against the Atlanta Hawks, who they already beat by a score of 112-106 on January 16.
Personally, that’s where I tone down the streak. The Blazers have been formidable, especially on the offensive end of the field, where they score 126.5 points per 100 possessions, but they have been fortunate enough to catch the Pacers, Nets and Celtics not at full strength.
The Hawks are finally healthy and sit at 35-30, tied for fifth in the Eastern Conference playoffs. With Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic and John Collins finally back in the lineup, they earned a 108-97 victory over the Chicago Bulls and are looking to build momentum.
I can’t help but think it’s a great place for this team given the circumstances. The Hawks should have no problem taking advantage of the Blazers’ defense, which drops the fifth-highest frequency of field goal attempts (36%) and is 19th in field goal percentage at the rim at 64, 7% percent. .
The Hawks are also fifth in field goal percentage in the midrange, shooting 44.5% and also shouldn’t have any problems scoring against a Blazers team that allows for the fifth field goal percentage. highest in the midrange at 44.2% percent.
Overall, the Blazers don’t do a good job defending any area of the floor, as they are 29th in the defensive standings, allowing 117 points per 100 possessions in their non-trash minutes according to Cleaning the Glass.
The Blazers aren’t very good at closing possessions through defensive rebound as they are ninth in defensive rebound rate (74.2%) and now face a team of Hawks who are seventh in offensive rebound rate at 26, 9% percent. That said, I expect Clint Capela to pick up a ton of points on tip-ins while also generating second chance points for the Hawks against a weary Blazers team on a back-to-back set.
The last time these teams played, Atlanta led the majority of the game before disappearing in the second half of a straight series, as they had played in Utah the night before. This time around, I expect Portland to fade away as he plays his fifth game in seven nights. I’m going to put the colon and go with the Hawks.