Brooklyn Nets vs Miami Heat Prediction: Will the Kevin Durant Return Matter?

Brooklyn Nets vs Miami Heat prediction and pick for Thursday's game. Handicapper Jonathan Macri breaks down Nets vs Heat plus Mavs vs Warriors in his best picks for Thursday's NBA action.
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Brooklyn Nets vs Miami Heat Prediction: Will the Kevin Durant Return Matter?

  • When: 7:30 pm ET
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Brooklyn Nets vs Miami Heat Line Movement

Brooklyn Nets vs Miami Heat Prediction

Let's start by pointing out the obvious: this is one of the tougher games to forecast in this NBA season.

That's because while Kevin Durant is back, we don't know what version of KD we're getting, nor do we know how much of him we're getting. Other than the game in which he was injured, he's only played under 30 minutes twice this year, and those were in blowouts of the Magic and Pistons. When Durant has been on the court, the Nets have also outscored opponents by 4.5 points per 100 possessions.

Get 150/1 Odds on the Heat Winning

Put those two stats together, and there's some logic to the thought that Brooklyn deserves to be favored in this game. Except we don't know the answers to those two questions, and if we use last season as precedent - when KD took his time in ramping things back up following an extended injury absence, playing 18 then 23 then 27 minutes - the smart money says he'll only be on the court for between a third and a half of the game tonight.

If we add in KD's home on-court net rating this season (a negative 1.3 in over 700 minutes) and the fact that Brooklyn has by far the worst home record against the spread at just 6-23-1, it becomes much harder to justify a Brooklyn pick. The best evidence for supporting the Nets is that Miami is playing on the second night of a road back to back after blowing a 14-point fourth quarter lead in Milwaukee last night.

But this Heat team is resilient, and has only lost consecutive games twice since early December. Don't let KD's return sway your common sense. Take the Heat on the road.

Brooklyn Nets vs Miami Heat Pick

  • PICK: Heat -2.5 (-105) (Bet $105 to win $100)

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Dallas Mavericks vs Golden State Warriors

  • When: 8:30 pm ET
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Dallas Mavericks vs Golden State Warriors Line Movement

Dallas Mavericks vs Golden State Warriors Prediction

Let's do a quick blind comparison of two teams since January 11:

Team A: 15-7 record, 13th ranked offense, third ranked defense, positive 5.2 net rating

Team B: 13-10 record, 14th ranked offense, 11th ranked defense, positive 3.1 net rating.

Both teams have played the same number of home games during this stretch, and while Team A is 9-3 at home with a positive 9.3 net rating in their own building, Team B is just 5-6 on the road with a barely positive 0.2 net rating.

Team A, in case you haven't figured it out by now, is the Dallas Mavericks, and they are hosting the Golden State Warriors tonight. January 11 is the first game they played without Draymond Green, and he's still missing. Worse yet, Andrew Wiggins is slumping to the tune of 13 points per game on 41 percent shooting in his last 10 games, during which the Warriors only have wins against the Kings, Thunder, Lakers, and Blazers.

In other words, there's no reason the Warriors should be giving points here, especially not with Klay Thompson coming off an illness. Take the points and run.

Dallas Mavericks vs Golden State Warriors Pick

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insightpicks

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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