Picks for the NBA Week of January 2nd
PICKS FOR THE NBA WEEK OF JANUARY 2ND – The NBA season has provided us with plenty of eye-popping moments, with Donovan Mitchell’s 71-point outing being the latest piece of history.
LeBron James is playing at an All-Star level even at the age of 38, and the Brooklyn Nets have caught fire to head toward the top of the Eastern Conference.
The first week of the 2023 calendar year has a lot of interesting games, so let’s run down one of the best for each night.
Wednesday, January 4
Phoenix Suns vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Here we go.
Donovan Mitchell just dropped 71 in a thrilling overtime victory against the Chicago Bulls on Monday night, and Booker is another player who has eclipsed the 70-point mark in his career.
The Cavs are 17-4 at home and have won two straight after dropping three in a row toward the end of December. With Evan Mobley sidelined, Jarrett Allen and Kevin Love will need to play well once again. Yes, Mitchell just had 71, but he had 15 on 5-16 from the field on New Year’s Day and the same stat line against the Nets on December 27, so every night is hit or miss for him.
The Suns have dropped six of the last seven games, with the latest being a 19-point loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Devin Booker remains out for the game, and the Suns shot just 39% from the field and 27% from downtown in an ugly loss to New York. The Suns want to get home, and this is the last game of their road trip.
The Suns are without their best player, and Mitchell could be in line for another big outing.
Pick: Cavs SU and ATS
Thursday, January 5
Boston Celtics vs Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs enter this contest with seven straight wins and a series of unbelievable games from Luka Doncic. The potential NBA MVP has three games with 50 or more points in the last six, including a 60-point outing against the New York Knicks.
Doncic has posted a double-double in three of them with two triple-doubles, and nobody can contain him.
The Celtics won four straight before losing to the Denver Nuggets by a dozen on New Year’s Day, and this will be the third game of a four-game road trip.
Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are playing well, but the Celtics need to find some help from their reserves, especially against a talented Dallas team. The Mavs are 15-5 at home, although their total record ATS is 14-23-1.
Normally, the Celtics would be the pic here, but Dallas has won seven straight, and nobody is stopping Luka right now.
Pick: Dallas SU
Friday, January 6
Atlanta Hawks vs Los Angeles Lakers
Turmoil has been brewing in Atlanta, and Nate McMillan’s future is murky right now. On top of that, Atlanta has lost four in a row entering Wednesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings to drop below .500.
However, the Hawks put up a massive fight against the Golden State Warriors on Monday night, ultimately losing in a double-overtime, 143-141, despite 30 and 14 assists from Trae Young.
The Lakers defeated the Hawks in Atlanta last Friday as LeBron James dropped 47 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in another unreal performance.
The Lakers moved to 8-8 at home, which isn’t encouraging, but James dropped another 43/11/6 in a win against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.
Don’t count out King James, even without Anthony Davis.
Pick: Lakers SU and Spread
Saturday, January 7
Utah Jazz vs Chicago Bulls
Oh, how quickly things changed for the Jazz. They were one of the top teams in the Western Conference before going just 6-9 in December, including four straight losses to end the year.
To make things a bit better, all four of those losses were within single digits, so the Jazz have at least been playing close games.
In the previous meeting between these teams back in November, the Bulls won, 114-107, as DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine combined for 46 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. Lauri Markkanen had 32 and nine rebounds in that contest, and Markkanen has continued to be the best player on this Utah squad.
The Bulls are just 9-9 at home, so the Jazz have a chance. However, if anybody saw the Bulls offensive performance against the Cavs on Monday night, you would know the Jazz could be in for a long night on Saturday.
The Bulls face the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers before Saturday, so facing the Jazz will be a perfect opportunity for them to get back on track.
Pick: Bulls SU and ATS
Sunday, January 8
Brooklyn Nets vs Miami Heat
The Nets have figured things out as of late and have notched 12 straight victories as of Tuesday afternoon. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are clicking on all cylinders, and they are flirting with the Boston Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat got Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler back from their injuries and have moved above the .500 mark. The Heat are one of the tougher teams to face at home and they have an 11-8 record, although they have dealt with a number of injuries to start the year.
This is the first meeting between these two teams this year, but the Nets are the hottest team in the NBA and should march into South Beach and dominate from start to finish.