Daily Predictions – Friday February 23

NBA

Bucks 106

Raptors 114 《 (-7)

MILWAUKEE 122-119

———-

Timberwolves 105

Rockets 116《(-8.5)

HOUSTON 120-102

———-

Heat 105

Pelicans 115 《(-2)

NEW ORLEANS 124-123

———-

Spurs 107 《(+3.5)

Nuggets 108

DENVER 122-119

———-

Trail Blazers 103 《 (+5)

Jazz 107

PORTLAND 100-81

———-

Record: 29-13 (20-8-1)

Advertisements

NBA Records at the Break

Best of the Best

1. Rockets 44-13

2. Warriors 44-14

Golden State lost a tough game in Portland to allow Houston to claim the top spot going into the All-Star break, setting up a tight race down the stretch at the top. Opening night could come back to haunt the Warriors if this comes down to a Game 7–the Rockets beat the Warriors by one in Oakland and will own the tie-break after spliting two other games in Houston.

Top of the East

3. Raptors 41-16

4. Celtics 40-19

5. Cavaliers 34-22

LeBron James just confirmed his status as the best player in the world after winning All-Star Game MVP. The King’s team are still favorites to make the Finals from the East, even as the third seed, and will be rejuvenated by their deadline deals and the break. Toronto and Boston are not just battling for home-court but mostly to postpone a series with Cleveland and an easier path through the playoffs.

Home Cooking

6. Spurs 35-24

7. Timberwolves 36-25

The upstart T’Wolves have mixed young talent with veteran stability to challenge San Antonio for third position in the West. The Spurs have struggled to find consistency without Kawhi Leonard, going 10-12 in 2018 and 1-5 heading into the break.

Eastern Contenders

8. Wizards 33-24

9. Pacers 33-25

10. Bucks 32-25

John Wall is out for Washington as they try to hold off Indiana and Milwaukee for home-court in the first round. Meanwhile, the Bucks lost at home to the Nuggets in the last game before All-Star weekend, dropping them from four to six in the East, which would set them up with Cleveland in Round 1. This has yet to be settled with five games remaining between the three teams; Milwaukee host the Wizards before playing Indiana twice over the next fortnight, and the Pacers go to Washington twice after having lost to the Wizards at home.

NorthWest Parity

11. Thunder 33-26

12. Trail Blazers 32-26

13. Nuggets 32-26

It’s likely there will be four playoffs teams from this division and the Jazz are not completely out of the picture yet, currently on an eleven game winning streak. The Wolves seem to have separated from the pack, but every team here is capable of going on a long run and doing damage in the playoffs.

Upset Alert

14. 76ers 30-25

Philadelphia are a dangerous seventh seed and can push Toronto or Boston in a series, where the extra rest will play to their advantage. The 76ers are 27-17 when Embiid plays and 3-8 without him–more specifically, Philly split two games apiece against the Celtics and Raptors with Embiid, and 0-3 against those two opponents without him.

LIFO (Last In First Out)

15. Pelicans 31-26

16. Clippers 30-26

17. Jazz 30-28

18. Heat 30-28

New Orleans and Los Angeles both made moves at the trade deadline to make a playoff run–the Clips have won five out of the last six, while the Pels have so far struggled to find their form with DeMarcus Cousins out. Utah are the hottest team in the NBA and of their 24 games remaining, fourteen are at home and only eleven against playoff teams. The prize for this is probably getting swept by the Rockets or Warriors in the first round. Miami went 18-8 starting December 9, only to finish 1-7 in the last eight games and lose all momentum going into the last 24 games. The Pistons are unlikely to challenge, allowing the Heat to hold on to the eighth spot.

Purgatory

19. Pistons 28-29

20. Hornets 24-33

Detroit are 1-4 since the trade deadline, and have struggled to 9-17 on the road. With fifteen games away from home remaining, it will be nearly impossible to make the playoffs at this point and no chance at a top draft pick. Charlotte are 9-18 on the road and have fourteen road games left on their schedule, leading to a slow and painful end to their season.

Big Market Crash

21. Lakers 23-34

22. Knicks 23-36

23. Bulls 20-37

The three biggest NBA markets are watching their teams unravel as the season comes to a close, and not likely a top-5 pick for any of these teams to show for missing the playoffs.

Chase for #1 Pick

24. Nets 19-40

25. Grizzlies 18-38

26. Kings 18-39

27. Magic 18-39

28. Mavericks 18-40

29. Suns 18-41

30. Hawks 18-41

Six teams with eighteen wins and the Nets right off the pace at 19-40, only one game away from the worst record–we have a deep race for NBA futility.

2018 NBA All-Star Game Scores

LeBron James 25.7

DeMar DeRozen 19.2

Kevin Durant 18.9

Kyle Lowry 18.7

Joel Embiid 18.5

Damien Lillard 17.3

Karl Anthony-Towns 15.7

Paul George 14.4

Kyrie Irving 12.6

Andre Drummond 12.1

Russell Westbrook 11.7

Klay Thompson 11.1

Giannis Antetokounmpo 10.1

Draymond Green 9.9

Victor Oladipo 9.1

Brasdley Beal 8.6

Anthony Davis 8.0

Al Horford 7.9

Kemba Walker 7.7

James Harden 7.1

Stephen Curry 3.9

Goran Dragic 2.0

LaMarcus Aldridge 0.0

Jimmy Butler DNP

Does Butler put Minnesota in the Playoffs?

jimmy-butler-nba-trade-grades-draft

The Timberwolves traded Zach Lavine (3.0 WS), Kris Dunn (0.1 WS) and the number 7 pick (Lauri Markkanen) to the Bulls for Jimmy Butler (13.8 WS) and the 16th pick (Justin Patton). Patton and Markkanen are both 7-footers who just turned 20, not likely to produce much in their rookie seasons. Dunn was not able to find his footing in his rookie season with the Wolves. Lavine is a good young player and great scorer, but Butler had the 3rd best Win Score in the NBA last season.

On the surface, this trade will add about 11 Wins to the T’Wolves and give them a projected 42-40 finish. This will put them in contention for the last playoff spot, which the Trailblazers took last season with a 41-41 record. Coach Thibs is known to get the most out of his players and has a history of doing exactly that previously with Butler in Chicago, so I think we can expect the same when these two team up in Minnesota.