NBA EZ Pick Preview 03/06/19
Take a look at the matchups set for this Wednesday’s EZ Pick.
Anthony Davis vs LeBron James
Star big man Anthony Davis (15 points in 22 minutes on Monday) is seeing diminished playing time. It all coincide since he demanded a trade. New Orleans has chosen not to play Davis in both games of back-to-back sets and has restricted him to about 20 minutes when he does play.
LeBron James said that despite the Lakers’ fading playoff chances, he does not plan to sit out any games. Following Monday’s bitterly disappointing loss to the Clippers, the Lakers are now 4.5 games out of the eighth seed. As a result, there has been some speculation that L.A. may choose to shut down King James in order to reduce the wear-and-tear on the 34-year old’s body. However, speaking with reporters after Monday’s game, LeBron refuted those rumors. “That would take a lot of convincing from Luke [Walton] on up,” said James. “Unless I’m hurt, I’m not sitting games.”
Joel Embiid vs Karl-Anthony Towns
All-Star center Joel Embiid is expected to miss his seventh straight game when the Philadelphia 76ers visit the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. Embiid has been ailing with a sore left knee, and the 76ers are 4-2 in his absence.
Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 41 points and 14 rebounds on Tuesday as the Timberwolves pulled within 5 1/5 games of eighth-place San Antonio. Towns is averaging 36.4 points on 60.4 percent shooting and 16 rebounds in five games since returning from a layoff following a car accident.
Nikola Jokic vs Andre Drummond
Nikola Jokic scored 22 points (10-of-14 FGs) with ten rebounds, six assists, two 3-pointers and three turnovers in 39 minutes on Monday against the Spurs. The Joker’s value has been down a bit of late due to an increase in turnovers, but he’s still a top-10 player on the season.
Andre Drummond, has become a defensive force, leading the club in steals and blocks along with being the league’s most prolific rebounder. He has 1025 points, 102 blocks and 100 steals this season, giving him four seasons with 1000+ points, 100+ blocks and 100+ steals. Only two other active players have more than one, as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis have two each.
Bradley Beal vs Kemba Walker
Washington SG Bradley Beal is averaging 32.6 points on 53.2 percent shooting in five games since the All-Star break.
Hornets All-Star PG Kemba Walker handed out a season-high 12 assists on Sunday.
Kyrie Irving vs Jrue Holiday
Kyrie Irving has been the focal point of the Celtics’ dysfunction but had his attitude in check as he and his teammates dismantled the two-time defending champions. Irving hit 7-of-15 shots and two 3-pointers for 19 points, five rebounds, 11 assists and two steals in 30 minutes as the Celtics crushed the Warriors 128-95 in Oracle Arena on Tuesday night.
Jrue Holiday scored 30 points in Monday’s victory as he continue to lead the offense with All-Star Anthony Davis seeing less action on the court.
Ben Simmons vs DeMar DeRozan
Ben Simmons has stepped up his game in Embiid’s absence as well and was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 16.7 points, 13.3 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and one blocks over three games last week. In his most recent game in Chicago on February 22, 2018, Simmons scored a career-high 32 points on 72.2-percent shooting (13-of-18). He has posted 32 career games with a field-goal percentage of 70.0 percent or higher, sixth most in the NBA since last season (min. 5 FGA).
Guard DeMar DeRozan and forward LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 46 points and 15 rebounds in the victory, hitting 20-of-36 shots from the field on Monday. DeRozan, the Spurs leading scorer at 21.5 points per game, finished 11-of-19 from the field Monday and in his past nine games is shooting 51.2 percent.
Devin Booker vs Jimmy Butler
Devin Booker ran the show for the Suns in Monday’s win over the Bucks, scoring 22 points (8-of-18 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs) with seven assists, five rebounds, one steal and two 3-pointers. Booker played well in both games against Milwaukee this season, as he accounted for 29 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals in Phoenix’s November 23 win in Milwaukee. The sharpshooting guard has improved his percentages over the last two games after going through a stretch of three straight in which he failed to make at least 40% of his shots. Booker’s shooting 44.4% from the field over the last two games.
Jimmy Butler played through his minor back problem again on Tuesday. and hit 5-of-10 shots for 14 points, two rebounds, four assists and three steals in 34 minutes of a 114-106 win over the Magic. This was a pretty disappointing stat line for Butler, who had back-to-back 20-point games coming in, along with a bunch of rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. He just wasn’t a huge factor on offense tonight, as the Sixers entire starting five scored in double figures, and Mike Scott also hit the mark off the bench. Butler will bounce back, not that he was bad tonight. He shot it well, but just wasn’t that involved on the offensive end.
LaMarcus Aldridge vs Rudy Gobert
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points and had key block in the final seconds to help preserve the victory for the Spurs on Monday.
Gobert scored 19 points and had 19 rebounds on Monday
Zach LaVine vs Donovan Mitchell
Zach LaVine scored 27 points against the Pacers on Tuesday and is averaging 29 over his last four games.
Shooting guard Donovan Mitchell was just 8-of-24 shooting with six turnovers on Monday. Mitchell scored 19 points and missed a late jumper that could have put the Jazz ahead as he failed to reach 20 points for just the second time in the past 25 contests.
John Collins vs Tobias Harris
The Hawks lost on Monday for the second time in three games without forward John Collins (flu-like symptoms). Collins, who traveled with the team to Miami, averages 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds. He has been upgraded to probable for Wednesday’s game against the Spurs.
Philadelphia SF Tobias Harris scored 21 points Tuesday against Orlando for his seventh straight 20-point performance.