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Teams now have a game or two under their belt after the All-Star break and we will start to see teams begin to separate themselves from the field. Miami has been on a roll, pushing themselves up the Eastern Conference winning nine of their last ten. The Nets, Bucks, Suns, and 76ers have won 8+ in their last ten games. For the play-in seeds, there are really going to be some battles. The second half of tonight's slate is more appealing with the Mavericks-Clippers, Pacers-Nuggets, Grizzlies-Suns, and Warriors-Lakers playing.
San Antonio Spurs -141 Vs Detroit Pistons
Factoring in LaMarcus Aldridge likely parting ways and DeMar DeRozan questionable for personal reasons, the Spurs are just slight favorites. San Antonio has been surprising this year as they are in a playoff spot at the moment. They face a hapless Pistons team who plays hard and competes but are still 10-28 on the season. Detroit has only won six of their last 20 games at home and two of their last 11 overall.
Detroit will rely on Mason Plumlee and Jerami Grant, while the Spurs will rely on Derrick White and Dejounte Murray in the backcourt. Keldon Johnson has also taken a major step forward this season. While the Spurs might not be a premium team in the Western Conference, they deserve a point or two more over the Pistons.
Denver Nuggets -4.5 Vs Indiana Pacers
Indiana has not played well of late, losing seven of their last ten games. In that span, they rank 26th in defensive efficiency against centers and 24th against point guards. Those are not great numbers when you have to step into Denver to face Jokic and Murray. Indiana is 6-16 against teams over .500 this season and 7-9 against the West. Denver has dominated Central teams going 5-1 this season and taken care of business against lesser teams. The Pacers have some notable names but there has been a major fall-off since the early stages of the season.
Denver is 7-3 over the last ten games and we have seen a shift in the play of Jamal Murray. Michael Porter Jr. is also looking more and more what we expected from him this season. Add that into Jokic having an MVP-like year, Denver is hitting their stride. I am catching two teams heading in opposite directions as the Pacers are 1-7 ATS over the last eight games and the Nuggets are 4-2 in their last six and 9-1 over their last ten home games against them.
Nikola Jokic Over 7.5 Assists (-129)
Staying in this same game, one of my favorite player props tonight is Jokic hitting the eight assist mark or more. With Indiana's defense scuffling and Jokic being a focal point on the offensive side, I like him to hit this mark. The addition of a healthy MPJ back is also a plus. Jokic is averaging 8.6 assists per game this season, and has averaged 9.2 over the last five games, where he failed to hit 8 or more just once. Jokic is also averaging nine assists at home and dished out eight in a prior meeting against Indiana.
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