The Quickie Preview returns for the final weekend of basketball in January. Two of the top teams in the West square off on Friday night when Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies host Donovan “Spida” Mitchell and the Utah Jazz. James Harden and the Brooklyn Nets head to the Bay Area on Saturday to play Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Sunday’s action features the Joker vs the Greek Freak when Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets visit Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending-champion Milwaukee Bucks.
Seriously, the month of January flew by and the NBA trade deadline and All-Star Game are two huge events that are circled on the calendar for February.
With 30 or so remaining games, the playoff hunt is heating up with the elite teams jockeying for the top seeds and a slew of bubble teams clawing their way into contention for a playoff berth while hoping to avoid the play-in tournament.
NBA Friday: Spida vs Ja?
Detroit Pistons (11-36) at Orlando Magic (9-40)… Welcome to Friday Night Bum Fights in the NBA. The two worst teams in the league will wrestle in the muck and someone has to win this battle of ineptitude. The Magic are stuck on nine wins and smell #10 with the Pistons coming to O-town. The Pistons lost three in a row and don’t get many soft spots on their schedule, so they don’t want to squander an easy win in Disneyworld.
Utah Jazz (30-19) at Memphis Grizzlies (33-17)… The Jazz dropped three straight games because Spida Mitchell has been out with a concussion. If Mitchell returns to the lineup on Friday evening, it will be a fun game between two of the NBA’s young stars — Spida vs Ja Morant. The Grizzlies are 32-18 ATS for with the third-best betting record in the NBA.
Minnesota Timberwolves (24-24) at Phoenix Suns (38-9)… The Timberwolves took advantage of injuries to key players on both LA teams and they find themselves with a chance to qualify for the playoffs for only the second time since 2004. The Suns have won eight games in a row and have a shot to extend their winning streak to double digits with two games this weekend.
New York Knicks (23-26) at Milwaukee Bucks (30-20)… The New York Knicks are on the verge of flushing their season down the toilet. Julius Randle is slumping, Kemba Walker got benched, and Thibs is wondering if the Knicks will make him sleep with the fishes at the end of the season. The Knicks don’t have too many chances left to turn around their dismal season, and the future looks grim with Antetokounmpo in Gotham this weekend.
NBA Saturday: Harden vs Splash Brothers
Sacramento Kings (18-32) at Philadelphia 76ers (29-13)… The Kings and 76ers have been the subject of heavy gossip and trade rumors involving Ben Simmons. The Kings are in the middle of a five-game skid, but will be on their best behavior in this game. The young Kings have a chance to impress GM Daryl Morey and scouts for a shot to get out of exile in Cow Town. Joel Embiid has been unstoppable in January and he doesn’t want the month to end. We smell another 40-plus point performance from Embiid in this layup for the 76ers.
Toronto Raptors (23-23) at Miami Heat (31-17)… The Raptors are stuck on the playoff bubble, but the lackluster Celtics are only one game ahead of them in the standings with the #8 seed. The Raptors will see where they really stand when they visit the Heat in Miami. The Heat are 29-19 ATS and seized the #1 seed last weekend. They boast the best home record in the East with a 17-5 clip. The Heat are the top totals betting team in the NBA and hitting overs at 29-15.
Brooklyn Nets (29-19) at Golden State Warriors (36-13)… A month ago, the Warriors and Nets looked like they were on course to meet in the NBA Finals. Everyone would eat up a championship series with Kevin Durant versus his old squad. Steph Curry is still stuck in a shooting slump, but Klay Thompson has slowly been getting his sea legs after a lengthy hiatus. Too bad Durant (knee) and Kyrie Irving (not vaxxed) will miss this made-for-TV matchup in San Francisco. The Nets are the worst betting team in the NBA at 18-29-1. The under is 29-18-2 in Golden State games this season.
NBA Sunday: Jokic vs Greek Freak
LA Lakers (24-25) at Atlanta Hawks (22-25)… LeBron James heads to Hotlanta to take on Trae Young and the Hawks, who won five games in a row. After a crappy first half of the season, the Hawks attempt to string together a strong run to qualify for the play-in series. Anthony Davis is finally back in the lineup after missing 17 games with a sprained knee.
Denver Nuggets (26-21) at Milwaukee Bucks (30-20)… Joker vs Greek Freak is the marquee matchup of the week. Too bad there are two huge NFL playoff games on Sunday because you don’t want to miss two of the NBA’s elite big men battle in Beer City. Nikola Jokic has been on a tear the last two weeks and a triple-double machine. Antetokounmpo is also heating up at the right time. The Bucks are in the thick of a three-way race to win the Central Division, while the Nuggets are stuck in the middle of a stacked Western Conference. The Nugs are 19-28 ATS for the third-worst betting record in the NBA.