Saturday’s main NBA slate features three games. The action starts at 7:30 p.m. ET with the final game kicking off at 8:30 p.m. ET. Let’s take a look at the slate and choose the best bets for Saturday night.
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Who needs Ben Simmons when you have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving? Brooklyn has just enough room around its two superstars that a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals can’t be ruled out. Of course, that will require Durant and Irving to carry the team every night, but it’s a load they’re both capable of handling. The Nets have won eight of their last 12 games and covered eight in that span. The ATS number is much more impressive, but the direct number is promising given the direction they were headed in early March.
In mid-January, Atlanta looked like a .500 team at best. Since then, they have been in better health and their defense and offense have improved. Their record since mid-January is 23-12, but their ATS record is 19-16. They were 12-6 ATS on that run before the start of March, but failed to cover 10 of 12. In the past week and a half, the Hawks have won and covered four straight as favorites, but on Saturday night, the Hawks are the house dogs. The Hawks have won 9 of their last 10 home games but are just 6-4 ATS at home. This game is going to be close, and if it is, then Durant and Irving are the game.
Bulls +2 (-110)
The Bulls have won six straight in late February and looked like a real threat to the Bucks’ repeat chances. Since then, the Bulls are 6-11. March wasn’t kind to the Bulls, but they ended the month with two wins and two covers. Once the Bulls regain their core strength, they could once again pose a threat in the East. The trends are on their side on Saturday evening. Chicago is 25-12 ATS at home (best in the NBA).
A few days off may be just what the Heat need. They last played on Wednesday, and the 106-98 win at Boston was a great way to bounce back from losing four straight. Three of those losses came in Miami, and the final loss capped a seven-game uncovered streak. The trends are also on their side tonight. Miami is 23-14-1 ATS on the road (third).
In the end, it comes down to the Bulls winning Thursday night. Paul George returned for the Clippers, but the Bulls won OT 135-130 behind stunning performances from their stars. Zach Lavine scored 21 points, Nikola Vucevic added 22 and DeMar DeRozan dropped 50 points to the Clippers. It was a defining match for the season and probably a turning point. If those three are blocked, Miami loses by double digits.
Jazz -1.5 (-110)
Golden State isn’t even the Bronze State. The condition of the aluminum is perhaps too flattering. Since early February, the Warriors — calling them Warriors is a bit of a stretch — are 7-16. Willing fighters don’t fight much without Steph Curry, and it doesn’t help that Draymond Green would rather be a television personality than a leader on a struggling team. Over the past 15 games, the Warriors have ranked 20th in offensive efficiency and 16th in defensive efficiency. That’s a hell of a drop. In the first three months of the season, they placed in the top 5 in both categories.
The Jazz have also struggled relative to their early season form, but they still have a legitimate shot at making the Western Conference Finals. However, they will have to step up their game if they want to have a chance against the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix is healthy, hungry and wants to avenge the loss in last season’s Finals.
This line is disconcerting, but the Jazz have lost five of the last six games. Their No. 1 ranked attack of the season has fallen to 14th place during this span. Their 12th-ranked defense fell to 27th. However, they were fine in their last game and beat the bottom Lakers by 13. Moreover, this tough time was part of a six-game road trip. They’re back on the road Saturday night, but they haven’t played since Thursday and won’t play again until Tuesday. This line gives Warriors role players the respect they don’t deserve and the respect they haven’t earned.
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