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One of our expert hoops handicappers gives his best picks for today's games

On Thursday night, Luka Doncic took over in Mexico City by posting a monster 40-point triple-double as the Mavericks defeated the Pistons 122-111.

Tonight, LeBron James returns to Miami where he won two NBA championships as the Lakers take on the Heat.

Here’s a look at today’s NBA picks:


Los Angeles Clippers (-5.5) @ Minnesota Timberwolves, 9:30 PM:

  • Minnesota has a 914-1 ATS record this season, the third worst in basketball.
  • Los Angeles has a 124-1 ATS record in night games at Minnesota since 2010-11. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The Clippers (19-7) won a third consecutive game by double figures after blowing out the Toronto Raptors 112-92.

Kawhi Leonard returned to Toronto and picked up where he left off last season, scoring 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting with six assists, five rebounds and two steals.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves (10-14) are heading in the opposite direction after losing a sixth straight game (four of which were by double digits), falling to the Utah Jazz 127-116.

Jeff Teague was a spark for Minnesota off the bench, scoring a game-high 32 points with six assists and four rebounds.

The Timberwolves have struggled this season, especially at home where they have a poor 3-8 record. Based on the trends alone, Los Angeles should take care of Minnesota and cover the spread (-5.5).

2u - Los Angeles Clippers (-5.5) @ -110

Los Angeles Lakers (-3.5) @ Miami Heat,7:00 PM:

  • The Lakers have won five of the last six meetings since 2017.
  • Los Angeles has a 54 ATS record against Miami since 2015-16. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

Both the Heat and Lakers head into Friday’s matchup on winning streaks - Miami has won three in a row, Los Angeles five.

These teams met in early November at the Staples Center which resulted in a 15 points win for the Lakers. Miami scored a season-low 80 points in that outing after shooting 35 per cent from the field and a horrible 17 per cent from three-point range.

Los Angeles (22-3) defeated the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night 96-86. LeBron James put together his sixth triple-double of the season, totaling 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

The Lakers have been impressive on the road this season, posting a 12-1 record.

Miami (18-6) fought back to outscore the Atlanta Hawks 18-4 in overtime for a 135-121 victory. Both Jimmy Butler and big man Bam Adebayo posted triple-doubles. Butler contributed 20 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists, Adebayo going 30, 11 and 11 by the same criteria.

Miami remains as one of only three undefeated teams at home this season with an (11-0) record, but after barely beating the Hawks, I can’t see them getting past the dominant Lakers.

1u - Los Angeles Lakers (-3.5) @ -110

Charlotte Hornets (+6.5) @ Chicago Bulls, 8:00 PM

  • The Hornets have a 1915 ATS record against the Bulls since 2010-11. Stats courtesy of Statschecker.

These teams have met twice in Charlotte this season with both matchups being decided by one point. The Hornets won the first meeting 126-125 and the Bulls won the most recent encounter 116-115.

Chicago (9-17) snapped a three-game losing streak in a big way, blowing out the Atlanta Hawks 136-102.

Zach LaVine knocked down all seven of his three-point attempts for 35 points, four assists and two rebounds.

Charlotte (11-16) overcame a 20-point deficit and picked up a second consecutive win after edging out the Brooklyn Nets 113-105.

Devonte’ Graham exploded for a career-high 40 points on 12-of-21 shooting with five assists and five rebounds.

Judging by how closely matched these teams have been this season, I’m taking the points any way I can. Roll with Charlotte to narrowly edge out the Bulls and cover the spread (+6.5).

1u - Charlotte Hornets (+6.5) @ -110


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