The NBA is back in action, and the product coming out of the Orlando bubble has been highly entertaining since the restart. The seeding games continue on Tuesday with six contests spread throughout the day starting at 1:30 p.m. ET when the Bucks take on the Nets.
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Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Game Result
The Bucks won the only previous meeting between these two teams by 10 points on January 18 in Brooklyn and are 16-3 in their past 19 contests against the Nets. They missed a chance to clinch the No. 1 seed on Sunday when they lost to the Rockets, but they should be ready to take care of business and wrap that race up with a win in this one. The Nets will continue to be short-handed due to injuries and opt-outs. Given the current standings, this is likely a preview of the first round playoff series between these teams, and I don’t think the Bucks will let this one slip away.
Choice: Milwaukee Bucks
Dallas Mavericks vs. Sacramento Kings: Game Result
It hasn’t been a great restart for either one of these teams and they’re both badly in need of a win in this contest. Sacramento has lost both their games in Orlando and likely lost any shot at the postseason. There could be a motivation issue as a result. The Kings did beat the Mavs in one of their three meetings earlier this season, but Dallas took each of the two most recent contests. The Mavs have also dropped a pair of tough games since the restart, losing to the Rockets and Suns. They’re fairly locked in as the No. 7 seed and will face a tough first round opponent, so they’ll need to get some momentum and find their rhythm quickly. The matchup between Luka Doncic and De’Aaron Fox should be a fun one to watch.
Choice: Dallas Mavericks
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Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Game Result
The Suns have somewhat surprisingly pulled off a pair of wins since the restart but will face a tough test against Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Clippers. Los Angeles is coming in off a franchise-record 25 three-pointers in their win Saturday over the Pelicans. The key matchup will be Kawhi on Devin Booker, who is the focus of the Suns’ offense. Booker has struggled badly in the matchup against Leonard in the past, and with the Clippers finding a nice rhythm on offense, they’re going to be a very hard team to beat for anyone. The Suns need to continue picking up wins to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, but I don’t think this is a game that they have much of a chance.
Choice: Los Angeles Clippers
Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers: Game Result
The Pacers took both games against Orlando earlier in the season and will look to improve to 3-0 in the bubble after knocking off the 76ers on Saturday and the Wizards yesterday. They will be playing for the second day in a row but will also get Victor Oladipo back after he rested the first game of their back-to-back for load management. The Magic won their first two games after the restart as well, knocking off the Nets by 10 points and the Kings by 16 points. Orlando holds a narrow lead over Brooklyn for the No. 7 seed and will continue to try to play out of that tough matchup with Milwaukee. The Pacers have multiple options on offense, especially with T.J. Warren catching fire and Oladipo returning. The Magic will be playing their first game since Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL Sunday, which will be a test of their depth, especially against the Pacers. This one should be one of the closest games of the day, but I think the Pacers will be able to pull it out.
Choice: Indiana Pacers
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat: Game Result
In another promising Eastern Conference matchup, the Celtics and Heat meet at 6:30 p.m. ET. Both teams come in 1-1 since the restart having played close games in each contest. This matchup, like most of the Celtics’ games, comes down to which version of Jayson Tatum they get. In the first game back, Tatum struggled in Boston’s loss to the Bucks, but he looked electric and like a true rising star in the NBA in their second game back, which resulted in a win over the Blazers. Tatum and the C’s catch Miami at a good time since they’ll be playing for the second day in a row after losing a close one to the Raptors on Monday afternoon. Boston is 2-0 against Miami this season, and they should be able to get another win here if they get the good version of Tatum and take advantage of some potential fatigue for the Heat.
Choice: Boston Celtics
Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Game Result
The best game of the day is the nightcap between the Rockets and the Blazers. Portland played Boston very tough in their most recent game after beating the Grizzlies in overtime. Damian Lillard looks healthy and ready to carry the Blazers in the playoffs, and the team has also welcomed back Jusuf Nurkic, who has looked sharp. They’ll face a big challenge in the Rockets, who knocked off the Mavericks in a thrilling, high-scoring overtime contest and then beat the Bucks. Houston has averaged 136.5 points in those two wins but could be in danger of a letdown game after their big win over Milwaukee. Portland took two-of-three from Houston earlier in the regular season and needs this win to stay in the race for the final spot in the Western Conference. Lillard and Nurkic both looked very good especially in the second half against Boston and Gary Trent Jr. had big contributions off the bench. I think the Blazers can pull off a little bit of an upset here and get the win.
Choice: Portland Trail Blazers
Which team will score the most points on August 4?
The choices here are the Bucks, Mavs, Rockets, Clippers, any other team or a tie. The any other team option is attractive especially since I think Portland will pull off the upset. However, I’m ultimately going to go with the Mavs over the Kings, who have little to play for while Dallas desperately needs to get going. There should be plenty of pace in that contest, and the Kings should do enough to keep it close so Dallas keeps scoring. I’m a little worried that the Bucks and Clippers will open up big leads and coast to easy wins, which could keep them from scoring as many points.
Choice: Dallas Mavericks
Who will score the most points in this group of players on August 4?
This is definitely a star-studded slate today, and this prop takes advantage of putting all these stars head-to-head in a most points prop. While Dame, Harden and Doncic are all strong considerations as well, I’m rolling with Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has posted 36 points in each of Milwaukee’s two games in the bubble. None of the rest of these players have scored more than 30 in both their matchups to this point. The only fear with this pick is that the game turns into a blowout and the Bucks don’t need Antetkounmpo much late. He did have a costly turnover in their loss to the Rockets, though, which should keep him motivated to make a statement with a monster game on Tuesday.
Choice: Giannis Antetokounmpo
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