- The Nuggets have lost three straight games, and they now host a Rockets team that appears to have found their footing in a blowout win over the Pacers on Sunday.
Three at 3 went 2-1 again last night, which means it’s currently on a 23-7 ATS run. Here are the picks for Tuesday night’s NBA action:
1. Charlotte Hornets at Cleveland Cavaliers (Total: 215)
7:00 pm ET
When the Hornets hosted the Cavaliers on Nov. 3, Charlotte came away with a 126-94 victory as a 10-point home favorite. The Hornets shot 56.5% from the field in that game, carving up a Cleveland defense that is last in the league in defensive efficiency rating. Seven Charlotte players scored in double figures in that one, with the new-and-improved Kemba Walker only adding 18 points. Walker could have easily poured in more if needed, and this Hornets team should have no trouble scoring again on Tuesday night. Watch for Walker’s matchup with rookie point guard Collin Sexton here. A few Cavaliers veterans recently came out and said that the youngster “doesn’t know how to play,” which was specifically seen as a critique of Sexton's pick-and-roll defense. Meanwhile, Walker’s 1.15 points per play in the pick and roll is third in the league amongst ball handlers that run it at least five times a game. Walker is capable of drilling the three if given too much space, but he is just as willing to take the ball to the rim or find a teammate. Also, Cleveland should be ready to play a bit better offensively at home. So while last game saw 220 total points scored, it’s hard to imagine there being any less here with the Cavs doing more to hold up their end of the bargain.
Pick: Over (215)
2. Houston Rockets at Denver Nuggets (-4)
9:00 pm ET
The Carmelo Anthony situation is messy in Houston, but the Rockets blocked it out and earned an impressive 115-103 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday. They played that game without Melo—which is something they should apparently get used to doing—and it actually ended up providing Mike D’Antoni with an answer at the forward position. After losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute to free agency, the Rockets have been trying to find somebody that could step up and provide some solid two-way play on the wing. That somebody appears to be undrafted free agent Gary Clark, who added six points, eight boards, a block and a steal in 33 minutes of action against Indiana. D’Antoni praised Clark’s play after the game, and it’s likely that he has earned himself more minutes moving forward. When he was on the floor, the Rockets looked a lot like the team that ran through the Western Conference last year. With that being the case, there’s some real value in taking Houston here. Over the last three seasons, the Rockets are 7-0 straight up and 5-2 against the spread versus the Nuggets. Three of those games were played in Denver, where Houston won and covered in all three. And while this Nuggets team got off to a hot start, Denver has lost three straight entering this one. The Nuggets picked a bad time to start slipping, as the Rockets are going to be hungry for a win here. Even if Denver were to win this game, it’s hard to envision it being by more than one possession. The Rockets’ backcourt is simply too much for Denver to handle, and Clint Capela has the profile to keep Nikola Jokic in check.
Pick: Rockets (+4)
3. Atlanta Hawks at Golden State Warriors (-12.5)
10:30 pm ET
Since the start of the 2015-16 season, the Hawks are 17-11 against the spread when facing teams that score at least 110 points per game. Meanwhile, the Warriors are just 5-10 against the spread versus teams that commit 16 or more turnovers per game in that span. Golden State is also just 19-23 against the spread when facing teams that are outscored by their opponents by three or more points per game in that time frame. What these numbers suggest is that the Hawks are capable of playing up to their competition, and the Warriors are just as likely to play down. One thing working against Golden State is that the team is coming off a tough overtime loss against the Los Angeles Clippers last night. With Stephen Curry out—which will also be the case tonight—Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson each played at least 39 minutes against the Clippers. And oft-injured reserve Andre Iguodala also had to come in and play 33. The Warriors are obviously capable of beating this Hawks team by 20+ on any given night, but they might be a little tired when they hit the floor tonight. Golden State coach Steve Kerr could even opt to play them a little less in order to prevent any of his stars from getting injured. Golden State is also not nearly as good without Curry on the floor, so last night’s performance against the Clippers might not have been as out of character as people think. And Hawks rookie Trae Young will be looking to put on a show against the league’s best team.
Pick: Hawks (+12.5)