The Miami Heat (22-8) are set to play back-to-back home games against the top teams in the East, including the Philadelphia 76ers (23-10) and Indiana Pacers (21-10). Miami is the toughest place to play in the NBA this season, where the Heat are 13-1. The Heat recently spoiled an unbeaten home streak by the Sixers, who are now seeking to avenge that loss.
On Friday evening, the best team in the East squares off against the worst team when Giannis “the Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks head south to Atlanta to battle Trae Young and the defensively challenged Hawks.
On Saturday, the defending champion Toronto Raptors head to Boston to take on the Celtics, who boast the second-best home record in the NBA with a 12-1 clip at TD Garden.
Friday, Dec. 27
Oklahoma City Thunder at Charlotte Hornets
Milwaukee Bucks at Atlanta Hawks
Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat
Saturday, Dec. 28
Toronto Raptors at Boston Celtics
Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat
Utah Jazz at LA Clippers
Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets
Sunday, Dec. 29
Dallas Mavericks at LA Lakers
LeBron James tweaked his groin on Christmas (for a second year in a row). He’s listed as day-to-day, but expected to miss the Portland Trail Blazers game on Friday. James would love to suit up for a big game against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, but you’ll have to wait until Sunday for his status.
The Denver Nuggets (21-9) faded their slow start, and propelled themselves into second place in the Western Conference with a 7-1 clip over their last eight games.
NBA Friday: OKC Triple Guard
Oklahoma City Thunder (15-15) at Charlotte Hornets (13-20)… If you’re not an OKC Thunder fan, then you’re probably not aware about OKC’s three-guard lineup: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (19.1 ppg), Dennis Schroder (18.2 ppg), and Chris Paul (16.3 ppg, 6.5 assists). CP3 played in all 30 games for the Thunder this season. Since relying on the three-guard lineup, the Thunder went 9-4 in their last 13 games. The Thunder are 12-7 ATS over their last 19 games. The Hornets are 7-13 over their last 20 games, including a current three-game skid.
Milwaukee Bucks (27-5) at Atlanta Hawks (6-25)… The Beast from the East versus the worst in the East. The Bucks run the top offense in the league, averaging 120.3 points per game, while the Hawks allow the second-most points in the NBA. Atlanta has zero home-court advantage with a 3-11 record in A-Town, while the Bucks are one of the best road teams in the NBA at 12-3. The Hawks are bogged down in an eight-game losing streak, and they dropped 19 out of their last 21 games. The Hawks are 4-8 ATS over their last 12 games. Trae Young, ranked fourth in scoring with 29.1 ppg, dropped 47 points in a loss against the Brooklyn Nets.
Indiana Pacers (21-10) at Miami Heat (22-8)… Two top teams from the East square off in the Game of the Day. The Heat boast one of the best home records in the NBA at 12-1, while the Pacers hold a .500 record on the road (7-7). The Pacers are 14-4 in their last 18 games. They’re also 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games. The Heat are 10-3 over their last 13 games, and 5-2 ATS in their last seven. Malcolm Brogdon leads the Pacers with 18.3 ppg, but he recently injured his groin and will be a game-time decision. Jimmy Butler leads the Heat with 20.4 ppg. Big man Bam Adebayo (15.7 ppg and 10.6 rebounds) has been the biggest surprise of the season thus far in Miami, along with Kentucky rookie Tyler Herro (14.0 ppg).
NBA Saturday: Boston and Miami Home Court Edge
Toronto Raptors (21-10) at Boston Celtics (21-7)… The Celtics have one of the best road records in the NBA at 12-1. The Raptors are barely above .500 away from Canada. The Celtics won four in a row, and eight out of their last 10 games. They’re 8-2 ATS during that same span. Kemba Walker (22.6 ppg) had one bad game in December, but luckily, the Celtics blew out the Pistons and they didn’t need Walker’s six points. Pascal Siakam leads the Raptors (25.1 ppg) and Kyle Lowry is averaging 20.4 ppg. After starting out a sizzling 15-6 to begin the season, the Raptors struggled over their last dozen games with a 6-6 clip.
Philadelphia Sixers (23-10) at Miami Heat (22-8)… The Heat host back-to-back home games. The Sixers are 3-3 SU, and 3-3 ATS in their last six games. Joel Embiid and the Sixers would love to avenge a loss from a couple weeks ago when the Heat snapped the Sixers unbeaten home streak. The Sixers are 16-2 at home, yet have a losing record on the road at 7-8.
Herro ball! 🦸♂️ pic.twitter.com/eoSqLs2ZdC
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) December 24, 2019
Utah Jazz (19-12) at LA Clippers (23-10)… The Jazz are one of those teams that are nearly unbeatable at home (12-3), but they seriously struggle on the road with a 7-9 away record. They face the Clippers, who are one of the toughest home teams in the West (14-2). The Jazz are 6-1 over their last seven games. The Clippers are only 3-3 over their last six games, after starting the season 20-7. Donovan Mitchell (25.1) leads the Jazz in scoring. He’s coming off a 35-point game against the Trail Blazers. He’s scored 29-plus in five games in December. For the Clips, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George average a combined 50 points per game. Meanwhile, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell both average 19 points off the bench, as they lead one of the most powerful second units in the NBA.
Memphis Grizzlies (12-20) at Denver Nuggets (21-9)… Ja Morant leads the Griz in scoring. He’s also the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year averaging 17.9 points and 6.4 assists per game. The Nuggets have a legit home court advantage thanks to the thin air of Colorado. The Nugs are 13-4 this season, and they recently saw an eight-game wining streak snapped by the New Orleans Pelicans on Christmas.
NBA Sunday: Luka Goes to Hollywood
Dallas Mavericks (20-10) at LA Lakers (24-7)… Luka Doncic returned to action after a wicked ankle sprain. He looked gassed by the end of the fourth quarter, but he almost posted a triple-double. Even a dinged-up Doncic is still awesome. LeBron James suffered a Christmas groin injury reprise the other day. He’s listed as day-to-day. The Lakers are mired in a three-game skid, which they hope they can break against Portland on Friday. If not, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma will be tasked with ending the Lakers’ four-game skid.