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Jonathan Macri shares his three favorite plays from the Saturday NBA slate of games.

Brooklyn Nets vs Phoenix Suns Prediction: NBA Finals Preview?

Brooklyn Nets vs Phoenix Suns Prediction

Nets vs Suns Odds

Following their throttling of the struggling Knicks on Friday night, the Phoenix Suns will now go into Brooklyn with a 15-game winning streak. If they can win tonight, they move into a tie with nine other teams for the 24th longest winning streak in NBA history. If they can get two more, they’ll tie the 2006-07 Suns for the longest streak in franchise history, and if they can get three more, they can tie the 2019-20 Milwaukee Bucks for the longest streak of the last five years. Beyond that, they’ll find themselves in the top 10 all time and on the verge of something truly special.

And all that can easily end tonight. Phoenix is an underdog in this game for a reason, and that’s because the Nets, while not on a winning streak, have put together a pretty impressive last month in their own right. Brooklyn is 12-2 in their last 14 games with a net rating of positive 8.4, third in the NBA over that stretch just behind second place Phoenix and first place Golden State. They’re also coming off a pounding of the improved Celtics in Boston.

Perhaps most importantly, for as much as they’ve had a successful season on the whole, the Nets are probably still stinging from getting blown out by the Warriors five games ago in what was supposed to be the game of the year. It’s hard to see them laying a similar egg tonight.

Phoenix was clearly on their toes for last night’s matchup in MSG, perhaps to avenge their coach who lost out on last season’s Coach of the Year award to Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau. They played like a team with a point to prove, and Devin Booker was hitting everything in an arena he acknowledged is his favorite place to play.

In other words, they’re due for a letdown tonight. Give the points and take the home team tonight.

Brooklyn Nets vs Phoenix Suns Pick

Philadelphia 76ers vs Minnesota Timberwolves Prediction

76ers vs Timberwolves Odds

Is it possible that losing Joel Embiid was the best thing to happen to the Philadelphia 76ers?

Yes, the team lost seven of nine games with the big guy sidelined, and are now in a tie for 8th in the Eastern Conference standings as a result. Not ideal.

At the same time, they’re a mere two games back of third place, and none of the teams ahead of them save for Brooklyn, Milwaukee and maybe Chicago feel like they’re going to run away and hide. Home court in the first round is still there for the taking.

More importantly, the Sixers have discovered something with Embiid watching from the sidelines. Tyrese Maxey has gone from intriguing but largely unknown rookie afterthought to a genuine scoring threat at point guard, averaging 24 points in the games Embiid has missed. Tobias Harris, who himself has missed four of the last nine, has also reminded everyone why he’s consistently in the All-Star conversation. After that, supporting players like Furkan Korkmaz and Georges Niang have emerge as real rotation pieces on a good team.

And now they’re getting their centerpiece back. Perhaps there is an adjustment in order, and the Wolves – winners of five straight before losing by 20 in Charlotte last night – are no longer a pushover. Still, this line is small enough and Philly is dangerous enough on its home court to feel good about what lies ahead. We know Embiid takes matchups with big time centers personally. This is no exception. Take the home team.

Philadelphia 76ers vs Minnesota Timberwolves Pick

Atlanta Hawks vs New York Knicks Prediction

Hawks vs Knicks Odds

Last year’s playoffs in Atlanta is where is all started to go haywire for last season’s feel good story of the NBA. The Knicks were throttled by the Hawks, who wrote the book on how to defend Julius Randle, and since then, New York has still been finding its way.

That process hit its largest speedbump yet with their first blowout loss of the season last night at home against the streaking Suns. Phoenix was excellent and Booker was Kobe-esque in the game, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Knicks are facing an identity crisis on offense.

Ever since their 5-1 start when they were briefly the league’s top offense, they have the 23rd ranked offense in basketball. That unit has looked even worse in the last two games without Derrick Rose, who we don’t know the availability of for this one.

Atlanta, meanwhile, has a streak of their own going, and has won seven straight after beating the Grizzlies by 32 on the road last night. They have the best offense in the NBA over their hot stretch.

This is bad timing for Thibodeau’s troops and while New York has often surprised when the chips are down this season (see: Tuesday’s largely impressive performance against the Lakers in the Garden), their showing against elite competition last night had to be unnerving. Go with the Hawks at home.

Atlanta Hawks vs New York Knicks 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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