NBA Preview and Predictions

Happy Halloween to all of you! There are four games on the NBA schedule for tonight, here is a look at each of them!

Nuggets (1-1) @ Raptors (1-1)

NBA Preview and Predictions
(USA TODAY Sports)

Both teams in tonight’s game look to bounce back from losses in their previous games.

The Nuggets may have lost their last game against Portland, but it is hard to be upset about it. After all, Damian Lillard had ice in his veins as he not only sent the game into overtime with a late shot, but then hit the game winner in overtime.

The Nuggets have averaged 110 points through their first two games, and have gotten a lot of well-rounded contribution.

All five starters are averaging 14 or more points per game. On top of that, they have three players in or near double-double territory. Those players are Jusuf Nurkic (17.5 PPG, 9.0 RPG), Nikola Jokic (14.0 PPG, 12.0 RPG), and Kenneth Faried (8.0 PPG, 11.5 RPG).

They have collected 119 rebounds through two games which has contributed to their “success”. Where they are floundering is at ball distribution.

They average 18.5 assists, and turn the ball over 20.5 per game. The assist to turnover ratio needs to change if they can build themselves towards a playoff run. Emmanuel Mudiay is the biggest culprit right now as he is averaging 3.5 assists and 5.5 turnovers.

On the opposite side of the ball, the Raptors last loss was also not one to scoff at. They lost by three points to the Cavaliers.

DeMar DeRozan has proven thus far that he could be worth every penny the Raptors threw at him. He is averaging 36 points per game while only  playing 36.5 minutes a game.

Jonas Valanciunas has also shown how big of a role he can play when healthy. He is averaging 21 points and 14 rebounds.

Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry will be the key to the matchup tonight. If Valanciunas can keep the Nuggets from some rebounds and Lowry makes Mudiay’s night difficult, the Raptors will emerge victorious.

Prediction: Raptors 107 – Nuggets 95

 

Bulls (2-0) @ Nets (1-2)

(USA TODAY Sports)
(USA TODAY Sports)

Chicago looks to continue their push as an Eastern Conference elite against the Nets tonight.

The Bulls have to be impressed with what they are getting out of their two main additions from this offseason in Wade and Rondo.

Wade is averaging 18 points per game and is coming up with some big shots. It is a small sample size, but Wade is shooting 67 percent from three. It seems that as the question about his driving ability has grown over the years, he has continued to improve his shooting range.

Rondo on the other hand is doing what they expected him to do. Rondo is not a scorer, but a facilitator. He is averaging just five points, but 11 assists. This high assist number has led to the Bulls having six players scoring in double digits.

The Nets record is rather deceiving. Their two losses have been by a combined seven points (Celtics by five, Bucks by two). The loss to the Bucks on Saturday came because of a tip in at the buzzer.

They are touting an extremely well-balanced offense this year as well.

Bojan Bogdanovic and Jeremy Lin are each averaging 17 points. Brook Lopez is averaging 16. While Sean Kilpatrick, Justin Hamilton, and Trevor Booker also are in the double-digits.

Lin is also having a very good season so far distributing the ball with 7.3 APG.

This could be a high scoring affair as both teams have had games where they have scored over 115 points.

The Bulls will come away with this one tonight though as they have the experience and a superstar caliber player.

Prediction: Bulls 112 – Nets 106

 

Kings (2-1) @ Hawks (2-0)

(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

Both of these teams are off to impressive starts this year and will look to continue that tonight.

The Kings only loss this season was to the Spurs in their second game. They won on Saturday against the Timberwolves despite a close game and Cousins fouling out in a critical moment.

DeMarcus Cousins is still showing that he is one of the best in the game at the center position. He is averaging 30.0 PPG and 9.7 RPG. The downside is that he is still a foul finding machine. He has already fouled out once, and is averaging 4.3 fouls per game.

The Hawks have proven so far that letting some of their top players go won’t change the results they get.

They have six players scoring in the double digits per game. They also have a new look Dwight Howard averaging 13 rebounds.

Unfortunately, this could be just a mirage as their wins have come against the 76ers and Wizards, neither of whom have a win.

As well-rounded as the Hawks are, they won’t be able to keep pace with the Kings tonight.

Prediction: Kings 103 – Hawks 95

 

Suns (0-3) @ Clippers (2-0)

(USA TODAY Sports)
(USA TODAY Sports)

Phoenix still looks to get their first win of the season as they head to L.A. to face the Clippers.

The Suns have had tough losses their last two games as they have faced the Thunder and the Warriors. They lost by a combined nine points in those games. Tonight’s game has to feel almost relieved that they are playing the Clippers.

I say almost because they still need to improve tonight if they want to avoid going 0-4.

They are shooting 44 percent from the field and 25 percent from three. The only way shooting stats that bad can win is if you have good defense and a lot of possessions. The defense is there, but the possessions will be limited compared to their last two games.

Thus far this year the Clippers look like a team that could contend in the West. This is an interesting situation for them.

We know the Clippers are a good team, but the way their team is contributing is hard to figure out.

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are putting up numbers that are usual for them, but the rest of the starters, outside of DeAndre Jordan’s rebounding are underperforming. The next two scorers after Griffin and Paul are both bench players (Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford).

It is hard to believe that a team could be shooting worse than the Suns, but the Clippers are doing just that. They are also 25 percent from three and shooting 41 percent from the field.

This could be a very low scoring game that proves nothing for either team.

Prediction: Clippers 92 – Suns 87

Current Record to-date: 13-5

Malachi David is an NBA contributor at MFST, you can follow him on Twitter: @SportReportMD

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