Portland – LA Lakers
After a hiccup heading into the All Star break, the Portland Trail Blazers are red-hot again and back in the mix for the Western Conference crown.
And they’ll look for a sixth win on the bounce on Monday when they host the Los Angeles Lakers.
With LaMarcus Aldridge notching a team-best 23.8 points per game, the Blazers have returned to the top of the NBA’s scoring tree, averaging 107.8, and during their current burst, they’ve only conceded 92.4.
Portland are also 26-4 against sub-.500 opponents and 23-7 at home, hinting at a tough night for the Lakers who have won just six times all season against opponents with a positive record.
LA, giving up 106.5 per game, have maintained their offense even without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash but they’re awful defensively so look at the hosts on the match handicap of -13.5 at 2.14. But look under the total points of 206.5 at 4.00 for a possible steal.
Brooklyn - Chicago
The Chicago Bulls will hope the second leg of their Big Apple trip is as easy as the first as they take on the Brooklyn Nets 24 hours after demolishing the New York Knicks at the Garden.
After leading 26-9 inside the first quarter, the Bulls were on cruise control and they’re 2.02 to be the first to 10 points once again.
Much of the spark in their 9-1 run has come from Joakim Noah, who is on track to be the first centre since David Robinson two decades ago to lead his team in assists. And that surge includes a 92-76 victory in the Windy City three weeks ago.
But on a back-to-back, Chicago might figure to slip a little offensively with Brooklyn at -5.5 on the match handicap at 2.25 or going under the total points line of 181.5 at 2.45 worth a punt.
Best bet: Take under the total points of 206.5 in Portland-LA Lakers at 4.00