The Australian new year gets underway with an exciting 7-game slate of NBA basketball. This New Year’s Day card is headlined by an exciting affair in San Antonio, as the 20-17 Spurs play host to the 21-14 Celtics. Memphis travel to Houston in a Southwest battle, whilst OKC and Dallas complete the second of their back-to-back in two more exciting matchups. Let’s take a look at our 3 best bets on the board today.
The Rockets appear to have turned their season around, winning 9 of their last 10 games to sit 20-15. James Harden has carried this team in Chris Paul’s absence, averaging 33 points, 8.2 assists, and 5.7 boards per game this season. Center Clint Capela has provided very solid support on the interior, averaging 17 points and 12.5 boards of his own.
The Grizzlies have dipped noticeably of late, winning just 2 of their last 8 games to sit 18-17. Point Guard Mike Conley is still enjoying a very solid campaign, averaging an impressive 20.5 points and 6.5 assists per contest. Rookie big man Jaren Jackson Junior has also shown flashes, averaging 13.2 points and 4.7 boards as he contends for Rookie of the Year.
Prediction: Grizzlies +5.5
With the recent form of these two sides, I believe the line value is on the Grizzlies here. The loss of Eric Gordon is a big one for Houston, who become even thinner in the backcourt. Through the key number of 5, I’m very happy to fade the public and take Memphis here.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs have been very strong of late, winning 7 of their last 8 home games to improve to 20-17 on the year. Shooting Guard DeMar DeRozan has been the main man for this Spurs side, averaging 23 points, 6.2 assists, and 5.8 rebounds on the campaign. Big man LaMarcus Aldridge has also improved his play of late, averaging 19.5 points and 9 boards to provide San Antonio with a solid interior presence.
The Celtics have rebounded nicely from a few slumps this season, winning 3 of their last 4 to sit 21-14. Kyrie Irving was excellent in the win over Memphis last time out, pouring in 26 points and 13 assists to get the job done. Marcus Morris also continued his improved play of late, adding an efficient 22 points and 4 boards in his complementary role.
Prediction: Spurs -1
Boston have struggled mightily in San Antonio of late, a trend which I expect to continue here. The Spurs have been playing some of the best basketball in the league of late, winning 7 of their last 8 home games. Expect a big night from DeRozan to power San Antonio to victory.
After a recent 4-game winning streak, the Suns have lost 4 of their last 5 to find themselves 9-28. Shooting Guard Devin Booker has been the star man for Phoenix all year, averaging 25.3 points, 7.2 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. Rookie big man DeAndre Ayton also continues to put up very solid numbers, averaging 16.8 points and 10.9 boards of his own.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors enter this one after an impressive road win over Portland that brings them to 24-13 on the year. Klay Thompson finally found form in that one, pouring in an efficient 32 points. Stephen Curry had a well-rounded night of his own with 25 points, 8 assists, and 5 boards, whilst Kevin Durant added his trademark 25 to round out the big 3.
Prediction: Suns +11
After an emotional win in Portland, I’m not sure how motivated the Warriors will be for this one. Especially on the American New Year’s Eve, I think they’ll be more focused on their party for the evening than playing the lowly Suns. Getting 11 points at home, I think there’s some value on Phoenix here.