Content provided by Associated Press. Picks by Covers.com staff.
Portland Trail Blazers at Orlando Magic (-7, 192)
Orlando (4-2) opened the season by scoring 85 and 84 points in losses to Atlanta and Memphis, respectively, but has since averaged 105.3 points while winning the first four games of this homestand.
Dwight Howard had 31 points and 16 rebounds - both season highs - in a 106-81 victory over Washington on Saturday. The center shot 11-for-13 from the field and also had three blocked shots, bringing his season total to a league-leading 24.
"I've seen him have numbers like that before, but I'm not sure he's played a better game since I've been here," said coach Stan Van Gundy, in his second season with Orlando.
"On top of being dominant physically, which he always is, he was just so patient. He wasn't forcing anything, just letting the game come to him. He looked like a more mature, professional guy down in the low post."
Howard, who is averaging 22.0 points and 13.7 rebounds, said his teammates are making it possible for him to put up the big numbers.
While the Magic seek to complete an unblemished homestand, the Trail Blazers have dropped all three of their road games while winning all three of their contests at home - a pattern they'll seek to change as they open the first of three five-game road trips they'll take this season.
They defeated Minnesota 97-93 at the Rose Garden on Saturday, as LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Brandon Roy added 24 points and nine assists.
Injured center Greg Oden (foot) will join the Blazers on the road trip, but it hasn't been decided whether he will play in any of the games. He's been out since injuring himself during Portland's season opener, and was originally expected to miss four-to-six weeks.
Toronto Raptors at Boston Celtics (-8, 183)
If the Boston Celtics were planning on displaying any complacency as they begin defense of their NBA championship, it hasn't showed up yet.
Playing the same outstanding defense that paved the way to the franchise's 17th NBA title in June, the Celtics will look to extend their winning streak to five games on Monday when they host the Atlantic Division rival Toronto Raptors.
Even with the offensive talents of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, Boston's hallmark last season was a defense that held opponents to 90.3 points per game. The Celtics (6-1) led the league in field-goal percentage defense (.419) and 3-point percentage defense (.316).
Their latest impressive defensive effort came Sunday on the same floor where they clinched the Eastern Conference title last season. Boston limited Detroit to just 34.7 percent from the field and used a 30-10 second quarter to coast to an 88-76 win over the Pistons.
Toronto (4-2), on the other hand, has been carried by Chris Bosh. The three-time All-Star is third in the league in scoring, averaging 26.7 points - 10.5 more than any other Raptor.
Bosh has led the team in scoring in five of six games, and turned in his best overall effort on Sunday at Charlotte. Bosh scored 30 points - 14 in the fourth quarter - and grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds in Toronto's 89-79 win over the Bobcats.
The lack of productivity coming from center Jemaine O'Neal hasn't hurt the Raptors yet, but the Raps need more production from their other big man against a good teams like the Celtics.