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NBA expert Jonathan Macri is here with his prediction and picks for the Thursday night matchups between the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors and the Nuggets vs. 76ers.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors Prediction: Are the Books Flat Out Wrong?

When: Wednesday, November 17, 7:30 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: ESPN

Spread: Warriors -8.5

Total: 207.5

Click Here For Cavs vs Warriors Odds

Cavaliers vs. Warriors Prediction

It’s early, but we have a prime contender for “strangest line of the season” here in Cleveland.

Let’s go through some facts and figures:

  • Given the stage and gravitas surrounding the game, Steph Curry is coming off perhaps his most impressive performance of the season, draining 9-of-14 from deep (several of which were in the mug of his former teammate, KD) and ending up with 37 points in Brooklyn. He’s had a day off to rest.
  • The Cavs are at home, but on the second night of a back-to-back after losing to the same Nets team that Golden State beat the previous evening.
  • Cleveland is essentially without more than half of their normal starting five, missing Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, and Rookie of the Year frontrunner Evan Mobley. Jarett Allen is also day to day and may not play.
  • As a result of the injuries, the bench has been thinned out to the point that borderline NBA players like Denzel Valentine and Tacko Fall are getting time. Tonight, they face one of the top bench units in the NBA.

Oh, and then there’s the fact that the Cavs are facing the best team in the NBA bar none, while they only sport a 14th ranked 1.2 net rating over their last five after injuries have beset them.

This line clearly pays respect to Cleveland’s overall 9-7 record and the fact that they had several impressive wins, including against the Clippers and Nuggets on the road early on in the year. But the further we get into the season and teams begin to get their bearings together, we realize that many of the funky early results should be taken with a grain of salt when assessing teams moving forward.

The Cavs are a great story but are running into a buzz saw here, and the advanced numbers show that Cleveland is not all that much better in their own building. So give the points on the road.

Cavaliers vs. Warriors Pick

Denver Nuggets vs. Philadelphia 76ers Prediction

When: 9:00 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: NBA TV

Nuggets vs 76ers Odds

It seems, finally, as if the absence of Philadelphia’s stars is catching up with them.

When the Ben Simmons drama reached its boiling point before the season started and it was clear that a protracted stand-off was in store, no one was worried that the Sixers wouldn’t still be able to field a top team in the East provided they stayed mostly healthy. Instead, the concern, born from the fact that Joel Embiid had yet to play a fully healthy season, was over what would happen if the big guy went down. With no Simmons, would the bottom fall out of an otherwise strong roster?

We now have our answer. The Sixers still have not won since Joel Embiid was sidelined due to COVID-19. After feisty losses to the Knicks, Bucks, Raptors, and Pacers, they just got their doors blown off by the Jazz in Utah, losing by 35 points. So now, they go into the building of a team with one of the best home-court advantages in the league.

The Nuggets are 9-5 overall with a top-eight net rating, but they’re even better at home, with a 7-1 record in Denver and a 10.5 home net rating. Nikola Jokic is putting together a stealth MVP case, and Aaron Gordon is exactly the sort of weapon that can help neutralize Tobias Harris, Philly’s best offensive threat in the absence of their stars.

Denver had won five straight at home before going into Dallas and losing their last game. Don’t let that game throw you off the scent of a team that is shaping up to be a true contender when all is said and done. Instead, give the points at home.

Nuggets vs. 76ers Pick

Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.


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