There’s a good chance James Harden defends his MVP crown if he keeps playing like he is. Last year’s outstanding player has been hitting 40 points per game through December and into the New Year, and it’s given the Rockets a boost as injuries accumulate.
Clint Capela’s joined Chris Paul and Eric Gordon on the sideline, but it hasn’t affected Harden. He posted 57 versus Memphis, a season high, in his last game, showing no signs of slowing down.
Brooklyn have become one of the trickier teams in the league to pick, and have shown they’re capable of upsetting the bigger names on their night. They’re 5-2 against the spread in their last seven and 14-5 straight up through 19, so it’s probably better to look at the total here. 221-5 looks low given the way Harden’s scoring and the Nets are 4-1 on the road for the over in their last five.
Out of nowhere, the Celtics look on the verge of combusting. They’d picked up their play in December and are 15-8 both in win-loss and against the spread in that time, but after an 0-3 road trip Kyrie is getting peevish, teammates are squabbling on court and nobody seems very happy.
Now they’ve to deal with the Raptors. The league leaders have won five on the bounce, but are just 5-10 against the spread in their last fifteen. They’re doing enough to win, but not meeting expectations.
That should present an opportunity for Boston. They’re back on home court, Kyrie is expected back in the line-up after missing their Brooklyn loss, and Toronto have been coasting a bit recently. I’d expect to see some fight from the Celts and Boston -1 appeals.
Two of the top three scoring offences in the league go head-to-head against two very leaky defences. Golden State’s gave up 111 to the Nuggets last night, but they scored 31 points more in the Mile-High City.
51 one of their total came in the first quarter alone, a record. They went three-point crazy in the opening 12 minutes too, hitting 10-of-14 to blitz the-then top team in the West.
Now it’s the Warriors.
On the other side, New Orleans are 5-2 in their last seven straight up and against the spread. Anthony Davis is showing why the Lakers are so keen to get him in gold next season.
The Warriors have gone over in six of their last seven, and have hit over 120 in six of seven too. New Orleans are just 4-3, but the previous meeting this season flew past 241, so 240 is well within range of these teams.
*All odds correct at time of posting