What 2 Watch- November 23, 2016 (Pre-Thanksgiving Edition)

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(Thanks to NBA.com)

Get Your Turkey And Fixing’s Ready, Because The NBA Has 13 Matchup’s For You As You Prepare For Tomorrow Festivities

Even though the league had 4 games on the calendar, that does not mean that there was not any good basketball going on Tuesday night. Nick Young saved the Lakers by hitting a back-breaking 3-pointer to defeat the Thunder. New York finally got back to .500, Denver’s bench gave them the points needed to beat Chicago and Tim Frazier lead the Pelicans to their 3rd win in a row beating the Hawks.

With a 13 game schedule in the league on this Pre-Thanksgiving eve, there are plenty of games to watch on NBA League Pass or your cable provider. So lets take a closer look at each of them

My record so far:

  • 1-3 Yesterday
  • 7-6 This Week
  • 28-18 Last Week 
  •  83-60 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 Playing

Game Of The Night

San Antonio vs Charlotte- 7pm-ESPN

After an up and down start, the Spurs have started to find a rhythm and could be trouble for the rest of the league. They head down to Charlotte tonight as an undefeated team on the road this year and trying to enter the holiday at 8-0 on the road. Who will Coach Gregg Popovich rest? He sat Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge on Monday as the Spurs struggled to defeat the Mavericks. As the Spurs enter a quick 3 game road trip that has them traveling to Charlotte, Boston and Washington over the next few days, they might not use their entire group. But anytime you have Kawhi Leonard it doesn’t matter. He’s 11th in the league in scoring with 24.8 points a game, and his all-around play makes him an MVP candidate.

Charlotte is 8-5 but remember this team was 6-1 at one point this season. Over the last 5 games, Charlotte has either blown a 4th quarter lead (Toronto and New Orleans), did not have enough firepower (Cleveland) or got down too many points and could not come back (Memphis). Charlotte needs this game going into Thanksgiving to give the home fans something to cheer about. They have to come out with energy on this nationally televised to be able to stay in this game.

Danny’s Key For a Spurs Victory- The Spurs winning the rebound battle. The Spurs are 25th in the NBA in rebounds at 42.4 per game. Their leading rebounder is Pau Gasol at 7.1 (45th in the NBA). The Spurs have to crash the boards and keep Charlotte off of them. Charlotte is in the Top 10 in rebounding they have group that are committed out rebounding the opposition. If Gasol and Aldridge (provided they play) can get at least 9 of them, they have a chance to win on the road.

Danny’s Key For A Hornets Victory- Outside of Kemba Walker no other Hornet averages 15 points per game, so someone has to step up and get at least 17 points to help the team tonight. The best canadate tonight will be Marco Belinelli. Marco, who was a former Spur, has had 3 10+ point scoring games off the bench in his last 4 games can heat up quickly. He’s 12 for his 19 from the 3-point line in those last 4 games, including 7 against the Pelicans. If he can knock down 5 3’s and give the team at least 17 points, the Hornets can win at home.

Danny’s Prediction- Charlotte has had so many key games to put them on the National map over the last 2 weeks and haven’t won any of them. Tonight, their on a national spotlight with a home game on ESPN, and this has to be a game where Charlotte has to be lights out. The Spurs combination of Gasol and Aldridge should be able to do what they want against the Hornets big men. Kemba Walker goes for 31 points, but it’s too much Spurs lead by the big man duo combining for 38 points and 21 rebounds in the Spurs win in Charlotte. I’m taking the Spurs 103-99

Games You Should Pay Attention To

Portland vs Cleveland- 7pm

Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard are matched up in stellar game involving 2 teams going in different directions. The Cavaliers are the best team in the East at 10-2, and Irving’s play has led them to this mark. Everyone knows about LeBron James and what he brings to the court, but Kyrie’s efficient offensive game has put the Cavaliers over the top. He’s scoring 24 points a game, but he’s shooting 46.9% from the floor and 40% from the 3-point line, making things easier for James. Right now his usage rate is the highest of his career at 30.3%

Portland’s Lillard has elevated himself into the discussion as of the best point guards in the game. He can go for 30+ points at any point in time (He’s done it 6 times this season) and isn’t afraid to take big shots in big moments (Ask the Nuggets about him in the clutch). But they are going to need him to come up huge because his team is struggling to find a win, especially after getting out played by the Knicks last night.

Danny’s Prediction-This not a good time for Portland fans right now. A team with huge goals after last season is now at 8-8 and with a loss tonight they are going to be under .500. The Cleveland Cavaliers at home are not the team to try to reverse that trend against. Watch Tristan Thompson go for 14 points, 16 rebounds and 3 blocks as the Cavaliers win by 9 tonight. Cavaliers win 114-105

Toronto vs Houston- 8pm

A huge game for the Raptors as they travel to Houston tonight. Right in the middle of a 5 game road trip, the Raptors need this game tonight to get back if they plan on catching the Cavaliers in the East. The team from the North have lost 4 of their last 5 games and have given up at least 110 points in 4 of those games. Toronto is 24th in defensive rating and tonight’s matchup against the Rockets aren’t going to help those number.

Houston has scored at least 100 points in 7 of their last 8 games and are led by James Harden. Harden’s ability to get to shoot the ball, get to the rim and the foul line has been exceptional this year. But if you can nitpick anything about his game this year, is his free-throw shooting. Normally one of the league’s best, he’s shooting 81%. The last 4 years in Houston’s he’s been an 86% shooter.

Danny’s Prediction-The Harden/DeMar DeRozan match-up will be more than enough to have your eyes glued to this one. Both guys should end up with over 30 points a piece, but Kyle Lowry will be the X-factor. Lowry, against his former team, will go for 25 points and 8 assists as the Raptors win in a shootout. Toronto wins 117-115 (Potential Game of The Night)

L.A Lakers vs Golden State- 10:30pm

It seems like every time, I pick against the Lakers they seem to find a way to prove me wrong. The Lakers defeated the Thunder at home last night after almost blowing a 14 point 4th quarter lead. Lead by Jordan Clarkson’s 18 points, it seemed like the Lakers got something from everyone. They even got 12 points from Jose’ Calderon. Tonight they head up the coast to take on Golden State.

The Warriors haven’t forgotten about the embarrassing loss on the road on ESPN earlier this month. The Lakers won’t have D’Angelo Russell again tonight as he rest his sore knee. Even with a healthy Russell, I do not think it will make much of a difference. Golden State is the hottest team in the league right now. Since the loss to the Lakers, the Warriors have averaged 120 points game in their last 8 games.

Danny’s Prediction-I can talk about all of the offensive weapons the Warriors have and how they can use them. But there is one stat that stands out and this 117-97. That was the score in Staples Center on November 7th. That’s all of the motivation the Warriors need. Durant and Curry combine for 60 points and Draymond Green goes for a triple-double and the Warriors win their 9th game in a row. Golden State at home 128-100

Not Bad, It Could Be Worse

Atlanta vs Indiana- 7pm

Both teams come into tonight’s game trying to erase bad memories of their last game played. Indiana was blown out by Golden State by 37 points at home. The game was played without Paul George, Miles Turner and C.J. Miles. Atlanta lost at home to the New Orleans Pelicans by 18 points. The Pelicans played most of the game without Anthony Davis, who hurt himself in the 1st quarter and only played 18 minutes.

Danny’s Prediction-Jeff Teague gets a chance to show his former team, that it was a mistake to trade him in the off-season. If he outplays the man who replaced him, Dennis Schroder, then Indiana can win this game. But if the Pacers don’t have George and/or Turner, then no matter what Teague does they will still lose. With so many question marks, I’m taking the Hawks on the road. Paul Millsap goes for 19 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals in the 102-96 victory.

Memphis vs Philadelphia- 7pm

Two teams with winning streaks collide in Philadelphia tonight. Normally 2 game winning streaks are not news, but in the 76ers case it is. Joel Embiid should be available for this game against the Grizzlies who have won 5 straight games. Mike Conley leads the Grizzlies scoring 19.2 points per game and had 31 in their win in Charlotte on Monday.

Danny’s Prediction-Before we start talking about a championship parade in Philadelphia, they have to be able to score on a Grizzlies team that has solved their defensive woes. Memphis should be able to collapse on Embiid and force the 76ers to beat them from the outside. Marc Gasol will lead the Grizzlies with 21 points and the Grizzlies get at least 5 guys in double-figures and they win in Philly tonight. I like Memphis 102-93

Boston vs Brooklyn- 7:30pm

If anything the Brooklyn Nets offense has been one of the better units in the NBA over the last 4 games averaging 113 points per game. But the problem is that they have been giving up 126.2 points and nothing less than 27 points per quarter during those games. Here comes Boston and their 2 game winning streak since Al Horford’s return to the lineup. The Celtics beat the Pistons on the road and came back from a 15 point defect to beat the Timberwolves.

Danny’s Prediction- Good news for the Nets fans is that Boston won’t score a 126 points tonight. Bad news is that Boston will win in Brooklyn tonight. I like Avery Bradley to have 19 points, 8 rebounds and have 4 steals for the Celtics. I’m picking Boston 106-95

Denver vs Utah- 9pm

Denver comes into tonight’s game fresh off winning last night against the Bulls at home. Jamal Murray scored a career-high 24 points and proved why the Nuggets drafted him with their lottery choice this year. The Jazz are coming into this game trying to get back in the win column. Utah should get a nice addition to their lineup. George Hill looks like he is ready to return to the Jazz lineup. If he returns tonight, he can ease some of the scoring load off of Gordon Hayward.

Danny’s Prediction- A healthy Hill, who was playing his best basketball of his career before his thumb injury, should provide a boost to a team that needs it. Expect him and Hayward to combine for 45 points and the Jazz win a close one at home. Jazz wins 106-101

Oklahoma City vs Sacramento- 10:30pm

The Thunder couldn’t find enough shots to overcome a 14 point deficit last night against the Lakers. Even though Russell Westbrook finished 2 rebounds short of a triple-double, he missed 5 of his last 6 shots when his team really needed it. He needs to be able to hit more shots down the stretch if his Thunder plan on beating the new look Kings. The Kings debuted a new starting lineup on Monday and it provided them a hot start which they were able to keep up as they defeated the Raptors by 3.

Danny’s Prediction- Westbrook looked a bit tired after helping his team overcome the lead and didn’t have enough lift on his jump shot in the process. I like the Kings tonight because of DeMarcus Cousins being able to have his way with Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. Boogie gets 29 points and 14 rebounds as the Kings win 108-103.

Watch Only If Your A Fan Of The Team Or Your Favorite Player Is Playing

Phoenix vs Orlando- 7pm

Danny’s Prediction- Both teams enter the game tonight trying to shake off the previous efforts. Orlando needs a big scoring game out of Evan Fournier in order to defeat a Suns team that has plenty of guys who can light up a scoreboard. The good news for Magic fans is that the defense has been really good of late. That solid defense will help them win tonight. Serge Ibaka goes for 17 points 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in the Magic 98-93 win.

Miami vs Detroit- 7:30pm

Danny’s Prediction-Hassan Whiteside’s emergence into a star was enhanced when he scored a career-high 32 points on Monday night. Whiteside is matched up with another rebounding monster in Andre Drummond tonight. While both guys will put up good numbers tonight, the difference is that Drummond has a group of guys that doesn’t like to lose at home. Tobias Harris leads the Pistons with 22 points and they win at home 104-96.

L.A Clippers vs Dallas- 8:30pm

Danny’s Prediction-The Clippers are a team that has been playing some outstanding defense since the season began. They travel tonight to play a team who is offensively challenged in the Mavericks. Dallas is the worst scoring team in the league at 90.7 points per game and the Clippers only allow 97.7 points. (That’s 2nd best in the league) Blake Griffin goes for 21 points and 9 rebounds in about 3 quarters of work. The Clippers will win easily 110-93.

Minnesota vs New Orleans- 9:30pm

Danny’s Prediction- The Pelicans have won 3 games in a row and have beaten 2 of the Eastern Conference’s better teams in the process. They come home fresh off beating the Atlanta Hawks on the road last night. Even with Anthony Davis playing only 18 minutes last night, the Pelicans rode a team effort to victory. Tonight Karl-Anthony Towns comes to town in a match-up of Kentucky Wildcat big men. Davis should be good to go after hurting his knee in the 1st quarter last night. Expect him to score 32 points and grab 15 rebounds in the Pelicans 4th straight win in a row. New Orleans at home 105-100



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