NBA Sunday Tipsheet: Charlotte should follow Walker's pace at Detroit
Two teams with playoff ambitions meet in the early game this evening, but the Hornets will fancy their chances of stealing a road win given Detroit's cold home form, writes Mark Kirwan...
"Kemba Walker is their main man. Only Stephen Curry has sunk more threes this season - though the fact that Walker's tried a lot more shows how those individual stats can be double-edged swords when it comes to efficiency."
Pistons out of steam
Charlotte Hornets @ Detroit Pistons
November 11, 20:30
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Detroit started the season hot under new coach Dwayne Casey, but looked to run out of steam once they ran into the Celtics. They lost five in a row after an opening four wins, and while there are some positive signs - they're making it harder for three-point shooters this season for one thing - you'd wonder if they're destined for another season of mediocrity.
It won't be for the want of effort by their stars if they do. Blake Griffin is playing at an elite level, shooting almost 50% from the field and hittinig 27 points each night, while Andre Drummond leads the league in rebounds. They're just not getting much support.
Charlotte have been similarly inconsistent. Four of their six wins have come in their division, the paucity of which is underlined by the Hornets first place spot despite their 6-6 record.
Their losses to better teams have generally been close run though, as typified by their agonising OT reversal at the Sixers last time out. Kemba Walker is their main man. Only Stephen Curry has sunk more threes this season - though the fact that Walker's tried a lot more shows how those individual stats can be double-edged swords when it comes to efficiency.
This is a very even contest. The Pistons are 1-4 against the spread in their own arena, and Charlotte are playing good teams very close. I think the Hornets are worth taking with the points at [1.96].
Denver defence is no Jokic
Milwaukee Bucks @ Denver Nuggets
November 12, 01:00
Live on Betfair Video
This is your typical irresistible force versus immovable object matchup.
The Nuggets have built their impressive early run on improved defence. They've allowed the second fewest points per game this season so far, up from 22nd in the league last year. Their Star player, Nikola Jokic, has adapted his game and it's paying dividends for the team. They just missed the playoffs last year, but look set up to make it this time around. Losses like Friday's to the Nets aren't part of that plan, but they've shown they can beat the very best as well.
Milwaukee may be among that cohort thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the supporting cast he now has. In scoring terms, they're not quite running at the Warriors pace, but they're not far off.
Last night's overtime loss at the Clippers should take something out of them here, and playing at altitude won't help either. Their only previous back-to-back saw the second leg go under on the total, and Denver's home record, though they can score when needed, is trending towards the under as well. I'd look to play it on 221.5 total points at [1.91].
Boston looking towards home
Boston Celtics @ Portland Trail Blazers
November 12, 02:00
Live on Betfair Video
Boston are at the end of their western swing, and it cannot come soon enough. They've lost three of their last four, Phoenix providing the only relief, and now they've to take on CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard.
The Celtics have allowed almost 116 points per game in their last three performances. For a team built on defensive stability, that is not sustainable. Kyrie Irving will return to the line-up for this game, which should give them some relief.
The Blazers have taken care of the Bucks, Timberwolves and Clippers in their last three, holding these teams to some of their lowest scores of the season and taking their record to 9-3. They're 6-2 against the spread on home court too.
Irving's return is an x factor - maybe he'll want to put on a show for his grandfather, who passed away in recent days - but the long trip is likely to have wearied a Boston team not clicking as expected. Portland -2.5 looks solid at [1.8].
1pt on Charlotte +2.5 @ 1.96 on the Exchange
1pt on Under 221.5 in Milwaukee Denver @ 1.91 on the Exchange
1pt on Portland -2.5 @ 1.8 on the Exchange