December 29: Milwaukee Bucks @ Oklahoma City Thunder
- This should be a good one as both teams sport pretty good offenses. The defensive-minded Bucks will look to use their lengthy guards in Middleton and MCW to bother Westbrook and Durant. The matchup I am looking forward to is the one between Serge Ibaka and Greg Monroe. Ibaka is the shot-blocking maestro, while Monroe is an old-school post player that likes to play with his back to the basket. My pick is the Thunder, but don’t count out the feisty Bucks.
December 30: Indiana Pacers @ Chicago Bulls
- Yes! A good old-fashioned defensive game. The kind that I love and want every game to be. My favorite battle here will be Jimmy Butler against Paul George. Both teams are capable of putting up a lot of points, which they might do, but something tells me this will be a lower scoring game. I may be wrong, but hey, nobody’s perfect. I’m going with the Bulls in this one. I’ve really liked their new offense and ball movement under coach Hoiberg.
December 30: Denver Nuggets @ Portland Trailblazers
- Most likely going to be a high-scoring battle that should have plenty of highlight reel plays. There are not too many big names in this one on the Nuggets side, but keep an eye on Kenneth Faried, who should cause plenty of issues for the Blazers. For Portland, they are hoping that Damian Lillard can go for them, but if not, expect increased minutes for both CJ McCollum and Allen Crabbe, who have both shined in his absence. My pick does depend on Damian, but I’ll take the Nuggets in the Rose Garden.
January 1: Charlotte Hornets @ Toronto Raptors
- The new and improved Hornets team is been fun to watch this year as their offense has sometimes been unstoppable. The addition of Nicolas Batum has been huge for them and Kemba Walker is playing like an All-Star. This Raptors team (who I could rave about all day), also has some All-Stars in Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan. I am excited to see how Al Jefferson does being defended by a revamped Bismack Biyombo, who has been a beast in the absence of Jonas Valanciunas. I’m going with the Raptors in this one.
January 2: Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs
- A nice little rematch of the Christmas Day upset that saw Houston shut down this usually explosive Spurs offense. If the Rockets can bring that same intensity on defense, they have a chance. Something tells me though that Pop, Timmy D, and the boys have other plans. Expect a big game from Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge. I think they will look to take advantage of the Aldridge matchup on Montiejunas or Jones. I have the Spurs winning this one.
If you have any games that you would like to highlight or have discussed on here, please comment and I will be happy to talk about it!