Wednesday’s Tip Sheet
Game of the Night – Nuggets at Mavericks – 7:35 PM ESTSix teams in the Western Conference own a winning percentage of .635 or higher as two of those squads hook up at American Airlines Center. Denver (25-11 SU, 14-18-4 ATS) closes out a five-game road swing that has seen plenty of ups and downs as the Nuggets have split the first four contests. Things began in Houston as the Nuggets lost by 26 points to the Rockets, but Denver knocked off Indiana two nights later.
Mike Malone’s team was stunned by Washington as a 13-point favorite, 128-113 last Saturday before rebounding with a 123-115 victory at Atlanta to barely cover as seven-point chalk. Not only did the Nuggets avenge an earlier home loss to the Hawks, but center Nikola Jokic posted a career-high 47 points, as Denver has hit the OVER in six consecutive games. Denver has yielded at least 115 points in five straight contests, while topping the 119-point mark in each of the past four wins.
The Mavericks (23-13 SU, 19-16-1 ATS) continue a six-game homestand which only gets more difficult after facing the Nets, Hornets, and Bulls. Dallas won two of those three contests with the lone loss coming to Charlotte in overtime last Saturday as 11 ½-point favorites, but the Mavs rebounded by beating the Bulls on Monday, 118-110. After Denver visits “Big D” on Wednesday, the Mavericks host the Lakers on Friday, followed by the 76ers invading the AAC on Saturday.
Dallas held off Denver in the first matchup at Pepsi Center on October 29 as 5 ½-point underdogs, 109-106. In a rare occurrence, the Mavericks had nine players score in double-figures, led by Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Maxi Kleber with 14 points apiece. Mavs’ star Luka Doncic was limited to 12 points on 3-of-12 shooting from the floor, but Dallas outscored Denver, 26-18 in the fourth quarter to avenge a three-game sweep by the Nuggets last season.
Heat at Pacers – 7:05 PM ESTMany people wouldn’t have anticipated that Miami (26-10 SU, 21-13-2 ATS) would own the best home record in the league at 17-1. The lone defeat came to the Lakers in December, while beating the likes of the Jazz, 76ers, Raptors, and Pacers since December 23 to maintain a firm hold of first place in the Southeast division. Now, Miami has to prove it can win consistently away from American Airlines Arena as the Heat own a 9-9 road mark with contests at Brooklyn and New York this week.
The Pacers (23-14 SU, 20-16-1 ATS) have held their own at Bankers Life Fieldhouse by winning 15 of 19 home contests. However, Indiana has posted a 2-4 SU/ATS record since Christmas, although one of those victories came on Monday night in a 115-104 triumph at Charlotte as six-point favorites. The Pacers are riding a 6-1 OVER run, while topping the 111-point mark six times during this stretch, including four straight occurrences at home.
Indiana swept the three-game season series from Miami last season, but the Heat edged the Pacers in a 113-112 thriller in south Florida on December 27. The Pacers cashed as five-point underdogs, marking their fifth consecutive cover against the Heat since March 2018, but Goran Dragic put the Heat in front for good with a short jumper in the final seconds.
Spurs at Celtics – 7:05 PM ESTIt’s been a long time since San Antonio (15-20 SU, 13-21-1 ATS) finished with a losing record. In fact, the Spurs last missed the playoffs and owned a below .500 mark in 1997, but Gregg Popovich’s team has work to do to jump back into a positive area. The Spurs are fresh off probably their most impressive victory of the season by routing the Eastern Conference-leading Bucks, 126-104 as eight-point home underdogs on Monday. San Antonio knocked down 19 three-pointers, while DeMar DeRozan paced the Spurs with 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting.
The Celtics (25-9 SU, 20-12-2 ATS) remain atop the Atlantic division in spite of a surprising 99-94 setback to the Wizards on Monday as nine-point favorites. Boston connected on only 8-of-37 three-point attempts (22%), while guard Kemba Walker has yet to suit up in 2020 by missing the last three games due to illness. Walker hopes to play on Wednesday as the Celtics are 2-1 in this stretch without the former UConn star, while Boston is 4-0 this season off a loss in which it was held below 100 points.
The Spurs swept the Celtics last season, but Boston routed San Antonio at AT&T Center in early November, 135-115 as two-point road underdogs. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 30 points as Boston snapped a seven-game skid at San Antonio dating back to 2012. The Spurs embark on a four-game road trip as they have covered four in a row away from the Alamo, although three of those came in a loss in the underdog role.
Bucks at Warriors – 10:05 PM ESTLast season, this looked to be the NBA Finals matchup as Milwaukee (32-6 SU, 21-17 ATS) was two wins away from knocking out Toronto in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the Bucks’ final victory of the season came in Game 2 as they lost the next four to the Raptors, who eventually captured their first title in franchise history.
Over six months later, Milwaukee and Golden State is the battle of the haves and have nots. The Bucks own the top record in the league, while the Warriors (9-29 SU, 17-21 ATS) are playing out the string after a multitude of injuries and having basically no shot in the same division as the Lakers and Clippers.
The Bucks saw their five-game winning streak come to an end in Monday’s 22-point setback at San Antonio, marking the third consecutive contest that Milwaukee suffered an ATS loss. Mike Budenholzer’s team has compiled a solid 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS mark off a loss this season, while the Bucks have won 25 of their last 26 regular season contests off a defeat.
Golden State is riding a five-game skid since winning a season-high four consecutive games in late December. The Warriors have failed to cover in the last three trips to the court, but they have cashed in six of the past nine opportunities as a home underdogs.
Although the recent series history doesn’t mean much due to Golden State’s drastically different roster, Milwaukee has won each of its previous two meetings in the Bay Area and is a road favorite against the Warriors for the first time since 2012.
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