Matchups & Predictions:
Kings (7-11) @ Sixers (4-14)
Pistons (9-10) @ Celtics (10-7) by 6-10 points
Grizzlies (11-7) @ Raptors (11-6)
Lakers (9-10) @ Bulls (10-6)
Wizards (6-10) @ Thunder (11-8)
Knicks (8-9) @ Wolves (5-12)
Spurs (14-4) @ Mavs (3-13)
Heat (5-12) @ Nuggets (7-10)
Hawks (10-8) @ Suns (5-13)
Pacers (9-9) @ Blazers (9-10)
- 1: Boogie v Embiid. Never thought tuning into a Sacramento and Philly match up would be on my ‘must see’ list…but this could be good! Boogie has been going bonkers lately (31 and 11 per game over his last 10!).
- 2: How do the Grizzlies combat losing Mike Conley for 2 months? The options look thin and they have a huge test vs Kyle Lowry’s Raptors first up. Can the Grizz grind out a win? Or are they just way too over-matched without Conley and Parsons?
- 3: Pop can’t have been happy about the egg San Antonio just laid in the Magic City. God have mercy on the poor Dallas Mavericks. This is gonna be ugly.
- 4: The Knicks are as Jekyll and Hyde as ever, and the Wolves have been one of this season’s early disappointments. Can NYK get back to .500? Or will the Wolves finally play some defence!?
#JerseyBet Competition: If we don’t get all 10 predictions right and you do, you win a jersey of your choice. Must include a 5 point margin in the Spotlight Game for tie breaker purposes.
Spotlight Game: Detroit Pistons @ Boston Celtics
Detroit Pistons (9-10) @ Boston Celtics (10-7)
TD Garden – November 30th @ 7:30pm ET (AUS – 11:30am Thu 1st)
Coming off a stellar win against a suddenly cold Charlotte team, Detroit will be looking to make another statement against an Eastern Conference rival and potential post season opponent. Andre Drummond only played 13 minutes against Buzz City, so he could be in line for a big game. Boston rank 29 in defensive rebound %, so Detroit figure to have an advantage on the glass. Tobias Harris finally had a breakout game with a 24/7/2/1/2 line on 75% shooting, but could have a tough time against Jae Crowder. Either Morris or Harris will need to take advantage of who is being guarded by a “4”. The Pistons have been excellent on D, and will need to flex their top 5 muscle against a Boston team that is top 10 in offensive efficiency. If KCP and Smith can combine for 50% shooting and 4 triples again, Boston will have a hard time defending Drummond’s paint game and Smith’s dribble drives. Look for made 3s to be the key for the Pistons winning or losing.
The Celtics will be hoping to use their preferred starting lineup for only the 7th time this season, with Boston being 5-2 in games they’ve played. Isaiah Thomas would appear to have a significant advantage at the point over Ish Smith, and should be expected to get back on track after a 7-23 effort versus Miami. Bradley will look to continue his career season (17.9ppg and 7.9rpg, 47%fg and 40%3pfg – all career highs), but will have his work cut out for him against the bigger KCP. Crowder and Harris will likely play a lot of PF in this game matched on each other. Jae is working his way back from injury, but is beginning to see his usual minute allocation. Johnson is a valuable defender that will split time with Olynyk at the 4/5, and will need to ensure he covers Morris’ shots from deep. The real marquee matchup is Drummond vs Horford. Two of the better C’s in the East, Horford will look to draw ‘Dre out of the paint to contest mid and long range J’s – opening paint attacks for IT.
Key Bench Guys:
Despite his 3 point shot completely deserting him, Jon Leuer is having a pretty strong start to his time as a Piston. Leuer is averaging only 28% from 3, but the threat of his shot is still drawing opponents to the 3pt line and creating opportunities for driving lanes and post ups that Detroit’s sputtering offence desperately needs. Leuer needs to make his shots though, as Detroit has an eFG of 51% with him off the floor and 46% with him on. And Boston’s D isn’t one to make it easy for the opposing offence.
Marcus Smart is up there with biggest irritants in the league. He has his flaws (36%fg, 29%3pfg this season), but you can’t argue that he plays hard. He’s the 6th man on this Celtics team and will be relied on to bring energy and spark the team at the 1 and 2 spots. Averaging 10/4/4 off the bench in 32 minutes per game – Smart is a key weapon for Brad Stevens’ team.