NBA on TNT picks: Celtics vs. Bucks and Nuggets vs. Warriors
Unlike some so-called contenders, Coach Bud's crew doesn't just do one thing well, they do everything well. The Bucks rank in the top three league-wide in offensive rating, defensive rating, points, pace, and true shooting percentage, and have only lost three games since Nov. 10. That's a nearly unprecedented level of dominance, and yet few people outside of the Midwest seem to fully appreciate just how special this team truly is.
Milwaukee will face a formidable foe tonight when they take on the Celtics for the second time this season. Boston won their first matchup back on Oct. 30, 116-105, behind a game-high 32 points from Kemba Walker. The three-time All-Star was one of five Celtics to score in double figures as Boston shot 41.5% from deep and harassed Milwaukee into committing 15 turnovers.
As impressive as that victory may have been, the Celtics are still a tier below the Bucks. Boston has lost four of its last six games and is coming off a shameful 116-103 letdown against the Pistons on Wednesday night. Kemba and Co. will have their moments, but tonight will belong to the Bucks.
NBA free pick: Bucks moneyline
Golden State Warriors
Golden State's flaws have been especially apparent lately. After showing some signs of life in late December, the Warriors have folded like a cheap deck chair in January. Steve Kerr's squad is currently mired in a nine-game losing streak and is coming off an embarrassing 124-97 defeat to the Mavericks in which they coughed up 14 turnovers and were out-rebounded 62-44.
Things are far sunnier in Denver, where the Nuggets are 28-12 and second in the crowded Western Conference. Michael Malone's men looked especially sharp on Sunday as they handed the Clippers a 114-104 loss. Denver was led, as usual, by All-Star center Nikola Jokic, who stuffed the stat sheet with 20 points, 15 boards and six assists in just 31 minutes.
Nikola #Jokic had 20 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists as the Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 114-104. Denver bounced back from embarrassing loss against the Cavaliers yesterday. Nuggets are now 27-12. #Joker #Milehighbasketball #JokicMVP pic.twitter.com/rOULtb5yTr— Daily Nikola Jokic Dose (@JokicDose) January 13, 2020
Many pundits had concerns over Jokic's play following a sluggish start to the season, but the Serbian big man appears to have found a new gear since the calendar turned to 2020. Jokic is averaging 25.8 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists in January and is back to being one of the game's most versatile performers. Golden State will have its hands full trying to slow him down tonight.
The Nuggets should have this one wrapped up by midway through the third quarter.