It’s no coincidence, despite what Lakers coach Luke Walton says, the Dallas Mavericks scored a season-high 130 points in Isaiah Thomas’ debut game for Los Angeles. The Cavs allowed 10.1 more points per 100 possessions with Thomas on the floor and the Boston Celtics went from 12th in defensive rating last year to first this season after they traded away IT3.
Thomas is heading into free agency and he knows whatever contract offers he gets will be because of his offensive talent. He put up 22 points and six assists off the bench and his agent is, no doubt, telling him to keep up the numbers to help his future payday.
The Lakers announced Lonzo Ball won’t return to action until after the All-Star break which means Thomas should continue to share point guard duties with rookie Josh Hart. The Purple and Gold are a good Over bet as long as Thomas is getting major minutes.
Pick: Over 227.5
Dubs' head coach Steve Kerr is finding creative ways to get his players engaged during a period of the regular season where many defending champions hit the snooze button.
After he complained about not being able to reach his players for weeks, which finally spilled into a stretch where the club lost three of four, Kerr elected to let his players coach themselves during a few timeouts in the second half of a blowout win over the Phoenix Suns.
Some might quibble with his methods but Golden State is back in the winning column with three straight victories and covers, including a 17-point win against the San Antonio Spurs last Saturday. Draymond Green is expected to play despite missing the Suns game with a sprained finger, meaning the Warriors will have all four of their All-Stars in the lineup against the Blazers.
Pick: Warriors -5.5
Yesterday’s picks: 1-1
Season record: 107-124
*The under is 5-1 in the Sixers’ last six games.
*The under is 6-1-1 in the Pacers’ last eight road games.
*The under is 8-1 in the Knicks’ last nine games.
*The under is 8-0 in the Clippers’ last eight games.
*The over is 8-1 in the Raptors last nine road games.
*The over is 4-0 in the last four meetings between the Thunder and Grizzlies.
*The over is 6-2 in Utah’s last eight games.
*The over is 21-8 in the last 29 games between the Warriors and Blazers.
Injury of Note
Kris Dunn is expected to make his return to the Chicago Bulls lineup after sitting the last 11 games with concussion. The second-year point guard was showing significant promise before taking an ugly spill in a game against the Warriors last month.
He’s averaging 13.7 points, 6.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 40 games this season and the Bulls went 3-8 against the spread while he was out. Chicago is a 6.5-point home underdog today against the Raptors.
Ref to Watch
The Charlotte Hornets are 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 games with Haywoode Workman holding the whistle. The NBA referee is the third official in tonight’s game at Orlando. The Hornets are 5-point road chalk in the contest.
*The Pistons are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games.
*The Hornets are 0-5 ATS in their last five games.
*The Magic are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games.
*The 76ers are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 home games.
*The Knicks are 0-5 ATS in their last five games.
*The Bulls are 1-8 ATS in their last nine games.
*The Pelicans are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games.
*The Suns are 0-4 ATS in their last four games.
*The Jazz are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games.
Nearly 80 percent of Covers contest players are backing the Warriors to cover as 5.5-point favorites at Portland tonight. You can see all of today’s NBA consensus picks here.