Can The Bulls Run Wild In Salt Lake City?
11 Games were on tap last night in the NBA. Cleveland lost on the road, Westbrook ended his teams losing streak with a THUNDEROUS dunk and Kevin Durant ruined “Drake Night in Canada”. The 76ers won again, the Nuggets and Hawks each defended their home courts and Spurs topped the Kings. The Grizzlies defeated the Clippers, the Boston back court saved the day against the Mavericks and the Magic and Knicks were able send the give the home fans something to cheer about.
Thursday has a 5 game slate on it, including 2 TNT games. So lets take a look at what to watch in the league tonight.
My record so far:
- 6-5 Yesterday
- 16-9- This Week
- 26-19 Last Week
- 64-45 Overall
Here is my method for breaking down the games on the daily calendar (If your brand new to this daily column):
- Game Of The Night
- Games You Should Pay Attention To
- Not Bad, It Could Be Worse
- Watch Only If Your A Fan Of The Team Or Your Favorite Player Is
Game Of The Night
Chicago vs Utah- 10:30pm- TNT
When you 1st took a glimpse of the Bulls not having Rajon Rondo in the starting lineup against a Damien Lillard led Portland team, you would have thought that Chicago would be in trouble. But 2nd year pro Jerian Grant played his best game of his young career and helped lead the Bulls to a win on the road on Monday night. Grant scored 18 points and had 5 steals in the victory. He also helped contain Lillard as he shot 7 for 23 from the floor. Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade combined for 46 points in the victory. Grant could be inline to start again tonight if Rondo can’t.
Utah is also fighting the injury bug as well. Derrick Favors now joins George Hill and Alec Burks as players who won’t play against the Bulls tonight. Favors has soreness in his right knee, which caused him to only play 22 minutes against Memphis on Monday. But the good news is that Rodney Hood will be back in the lineup after missing the game with game with an illness. His defensive presence to a Utah team that is allowing 93.8 points per game is the biggest key to the team’s success so far.
Danny’s Key For a Bulls Victory- Chicago has to get off to another good start. They came out early and jumped on Portland early and put them in an early hole. If the Bulls can jump out to a big lead early tonight, then Butler and Dwayne Wade should be able to close out the Jazz on the road.
Danny’s Key For A Jazz Victory- The Jazz have to find away to stop Jimmy Butler from scoring all over them tonight. Butler is one of the league’s top scorers and is coming off 27 in their win over the Blazers on Monday night. So Rodney Hood has to step in and take the challenge of shutting down the Bulls All-Star Small Forward. If he can make him work, take tough shots and cool off his hot shooting tonight then the Jazz should be able to win at home.
Danny’s Prediction- Gordon Hayward has been hot since his return to the lineup and nothing should change tonight. Even though he will draw Jimmy Butler, expect him to have another 25 point game and Rudy Golbert will make sure that Bulls won’t have a plus 18 rebounding advantage tonight. I expect the Jazz to win at home 99-91
Games You Should Pay Attention To
Portland vs Houston- 8:00pm
Portland has been one of the better teams in the Western Conference in the early going. Even though they did not show it against Chicago on Monday night, the Blazers have played much better. There will not be many nights where star guard Damien Lillard will shoot 7 for 22 from the floor. Tonight’s game will not be one of them. Expect him to play much better. Now for Portland to win, they have to rebound better to not give the run and gun Rockets extra chances to put up points. The Bulls were able to get 19 offensive rebounds on Monday and that can’t happen against a Rockets team who loves to shoot the 3-pointer.
Even though James Harden struggled shooting the basketball and had a season-low in points, they only lost by 2 points against Oklahoma City. Tonight’s game should be a bit easier because he’s not being guarded by Andre Roberson. Harden is still averaging over 30 points and 10 assists a game and tonight he should get close to those numbers again. The key for Houston is getting a better shooting night from Eric Gordon. He has the be the 2nd scoring option taking some of the pressure off of Harden to score. Eric can’t shoot 5 for 20 tonight, especially when Portland has one of the better set of guards in the NBA in Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Danny’s Prediction- Harden and Lillard will score a ton of points combined tonight. But the real question is what Rockets player will help carry the load? That player will be Trevor Ariza. Expect for him to hit at least 4 3-pointers, score 20 points and the Rockets to win in a wild scoring affair. I like Houston 118-114 at home.
Not Bad, It Could Be Worse
Philadelphia vs Minnesota- 8pm- TNT
The 76ers won last night and tonight they get back Joel Embiid as they take on the Timberwolves in the early game on TNT. Philadelphia got a double-double off the bench from Dario Saric and Jahil Okafor added a season high 19 points in the victory over the Wizards. Now Embiid returns and is going to be matched up with Karl-Anthony Towns of Minnesota. He leads the team in scoring and rebounding only playing around 24 minutes a game this season. Their going to need him to be at his best in order to win their 2nd game in a row.
Minnesota is in the middle of growing under new coach Tom Thibodeau. In their last game against the Hornets, the young Timberwolves team could not find ways to score down the stretch and a poor 3rd quarter lead to their defeat. Expect Towns to play better, even though he had 21 points and 8 rebounds, he shot 9 for 23 from the floor and missed 7 out of his 10 3-point shots attempted. He should do more damage in the post tonight, especially if he gets matched up with Okafor.
Danny’s Prediction- A game where there are young players everywhere, it should be an up and down game. This will favor the Timberwolves because they Towns (He will get 23 points and 12 rebounds), Andrew Wiggins (He should score 28 points) and Zach LaVine (He should score 25 points). Minnesota should not make the mistakes of Monday and will close out this feisty group from Philadelphia in the 4th quarter. Minnesota wins 106-101. (Potential Game Of The Night)
Watch Only If Your A Fan Of The Team Or Your Favorite Player Is Playing
New York vs Washington- 7pm
The Knicks are coming off Kristaps Porzingis having his best scoring game of his career last night. Porzingis scored 35 points and did it from everywhere in on the floor. He was 13 for 22 from the floor and knocked down 3 3-pointers in their 105-102 win over the Pistons last night. The real key in the victory was the rebounding edge, the Pistons have the NBA’s leading rebounder in Andre Drummond but the Knicks won the rebounding battle 52-40 and were led by Joakim Noah. Noah grabbed 15 rebounds and looked like the Noah that we remember from when he played in Chicago.
The Washington Wizards enter tonight’s game trying to find answer to their recent struggles. After starting out slow against the Philadelphia 76ers last night, they fought back to get game within 3 points with less than 90 seconds left, but Richaun Holmes iced the game with a 3 pointer to hand the Wizards their 9th loss of the season. Bradley Beal missed his 3rd straight game with his current hamstring injury and is questionable for the game tonight. John Wall returned to the lineup and scored 27 points (22 in the 2nd half) and was dominated through the game.
Danny’s Prediction- The Wizards have been one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA so far. A team that should be in the mix for the final playoff spot out in the East is suddenly one loss away from having 10 for the season and we are still in November. The Knicks need this game to get back to .500 and continue their solid play after a slow start. Porzingis will be key, but tonight Courtney Lee makes the big difference. Lee has not had a game to make the Knicks love him, so why not tonight against a Wizards team that can not get their act together. Lee knocks down 4 3’s and scores 17 points and makes John Wall work for every point he gets and the Knicks win 104-96 in the nation’s capital tonight.
Milwaukee vs Miami- 7:30pm
Milwaukee comes into tonight on the back end of a 2 night trip that started with a loss in Atlanta last night. But with young stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, the Bucks should not have to feel the effects of a back-2-back like most teams. We all know about how good Giannis, but the play of Parker has been the real story as the Bucks have been around .500 so far this year. After spending his 1st years battling injuries, Parker is fully healthy and he’s showing why he was the 2nd overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. He’s averaging 19.1 points per game and the flashes that he has shown over his first two years in the league has become more consistant on a nightly basis.
The Miami Heat are struggling without Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow in the lineup. Winslow is missing his 2nd game in a row tonight with a wrist injury and Dragic has missed the last couple with his ankle have left the Heat scrambling to find relief. Fortunately for the Heat, Josh Richardson has returned to the lineup after missing the 1st 4 games due to injury, but has struggled with constancy in the early going. He’s shooting 28.7% from behind the arc which is way below the 42.1% he shot last year. They are going to need him and Tyler Johnson to have big games tonight to get the heat back into the win column.
Danny’s Prediction- Hassan Whiteside has carried the Heat on the defensive end and he’s turning the corner on offense. Good news for the Heat is that the Bucks aren’t very good when it comes to guarding guys in the post. He should have a field day (I predict 17 points and 19 rebounds), but without much firepower behind him, the Heat will fall short again tonight. I like Parker to score 26 points and Greg Monroe to get a double-double as the Bucks win on the road tonight. I like Milwaukee 100-91