NBA Preview and Predictions: October 27
Yesterday marked the first night of a full slate of games. We have now seen all but four teams face play so far. Tonight we see those four: Wizards, Hawks, Bulls, and Clippers. They occupy three of the four games on tap for tonight. Let’s take a look!
Wizards @ Hawks 6:30 CT
Both of these teams finally get their seasons started in Atlanta.
The Wizards come into tonight with that same backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal that has both helped and hindered them. Once considered one of the best guard duos in the league, they have been criticized for not being able to get their team to the next level.
The hope in Washington is that a new coach, Scott Brooks, and a few additions from the offseason, Ian Mahinmi and Trey Burke can help move this team forward.
On the opposite side of the court, the Hawks have quite a new look than we are used to from them.
Gone are the days of Jeff Teague and Al Horford. Insert Dwight Howard, and give the keys to the newly extended Dennis Schroeder.
Howard figures to be a key addition, especially with Tiago Splitter currently out. Howard will have to prove that he can be that dominant inside force on both offense and defense to really help this Atlanta team.
Schroeder brings youth and speed to the point that Jeff Teague didn’t have. The question is will that youth be a hindrance to running this offense.
This game is tough to call because the Wizards can be difficult to figure out, and the Hawks are running a very new lineup.
The Hawks have a decent veteran presence and an advantage down low which leads me to think they will come out on top.
Prediction: Hawks 95 – Wizards 92
Celtics @ Bulls 7:00 CT TNT
The Bulls open their season at home tonight hosting the Boston Celtics.
Boston comes off of a high scoring win over the Nets. They put up 122 points, but only won by five.
They did get incredible play out of their starting guards, Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley.
Thomas scored 25 points and added nine assists. Bradley put up 17 points and led the team with nine rebounds.
The Celtics had a good night defensively with 13 steals, but they countered that with 19 turnovers of their own. They will have to limit this if they want to keep this game from being as close.
Chicago begins the era of Jimmy Butler tonight. There no longer has to be the debate of whether there is hostility between Butler and Rose.
The Bulls added veterans with championship experience with Rajon Rondo and Dwayne Wade, and also gained depth at the guard spot.
In addition to those two, they traded for Michael Carter-Williams and acquired Jerian Grant.
The real test of their offseason moves will be how Robin Lopez anchors the middle of this team both offensively and defensively.
The match-ups at all positions should be good in this game on paper. This should make for a good game. The main decider will be between Thomas and Butler. Which ever can lead their team will decide this game. I give the edge to Butler.
Prediction: Bulls 105 – Celtics 101
Spurs @ Kings 9:30 CT
The Spurs continue their California tour with a visit to Sacramento.
As they have so often been labeled as too old, or even “The Walking Dead”, the Spurs evidently didn’t get this memo.
They were supposed to just be a middle of the road playoff team. Then they went to Golden State and won by 29 on opening night.
Kawhi Leonard played like the MVP player we have been waiting for him to become. LaMarcus Aldridge played well. Some guy named Jonathon Simmons put up 20 points and did LeBron proud by blocking a Steph Curry layup.
This team isn’t as old as you think, and just as good as you didn’t think. You can’t teach great team play… you coach it. Just like Popovich has done over and over.
The Kings are 1-0 on their side as well. They took a page out of the Spurs playbook against the Suns and played great team basketball.
All but one player scored, all but two players had multiple rebounds, and all but three players had at least one assist.
Cousins put in 24 points, and Rudy Gay added 22. The bench added another 48 points as well.
Unfortunately for the Kings, they do not have the same caliber team as the visiting Spurs, nor do they have quite the chip on their shoulder.
Cousins will probably put in 30 or more points, but the Spurs will still emerge victorious.
Prediction: Spurs 112 – Kings 97
Clippers @ Trail Blazers 9:30 CT TNT
Lob City heads north to open their season in Rip City against Damian Lillard.
This matchup let’s us get our first look at the teams that are stuck in the mud in terms of developing into contenders.
The Clippers have faced injury and underwhelming performances come playoff time, and the Trail Blazers have just been short on star power.
They both look to change that this year.
The Clippers didn’t make a ton of moves this offseason, but a key add is Marreese Speights. He provides the same kind of interior presence that Griffin and Jordan do, but also gives them another shooting threat from the post position.
The Trail Blazers may have only played one game, but they got the exact same performance out of their guards that they got all last year. Lillard put up 39, McCollum added 25, and Allen Crabbe gave them another 18 from the bench.
They also shot an incredible 13 of 19 from the 3-point line.
Their post players could be what holds them back against the Clippers tonight though. They accounted for only 31 of their 113 points and 15 of the 34 rebounds.
This game is a tough decision, as it is based on whether the Clippers’ frontcourt or the Trail Blazers’ backcourt steps up.
In the end, the guards of Portland should be able to carry them to a narrow victory.
Prediction: Trail Blazers 106 – Clippers 103
Current Record: 5-3
| Malachi David is an NBA contributor at MFST, you can follow him on Twitter: @SportReportMD |