How well do you remember the 2008 NBA Draft? There were two clear favorites to go No. 1 overall that year: Memphis freshman point guard Derrick Rose and Kansas State freshman forward Michael Beasley. You have to remember, big men were still somewhat preferred then with all things being equal. And some scouts definitely would have taken Beasley No. 1. But the Chicago Bulls improbably won the lottery and didn't think twice about taking the hometown Rose. Sadly, it looks like neither player's career will live up to expectations. Rose was Hall of Fame-caliber great for a few years but can't stay healthy (as it turns out, Bulls should have taken Russell Westbrook). Beasley was never very good and out of the league for a while but is back after signing with Houston on Thursday fresh off being named MVP of the Chinese Basketball Association. So maybe we will see Rose and Beasley for a rare time on the same court Saturday night.
Celtics at Cavaliers (TBA)
Cleveland hosted Washington on Friday. Keep in mind that Coach Tyronn Lue has said he will rest LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and/or Kevin Love when possible going forward. Not saying he will do so with one here in the second of a back-to-back especially at home against a good team. But maybe -- early reports are Love will sit out Friday's game instead. Boston hosted New York on Friday. This is the final regular-season meeting between the Celtics and Cavs. They have split the first two, each winning at home.
Key trends: The road team is 5-0 against the spread in the past five meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in the past five.
Early lean: Wait and see which Cavs play.
Pistons at Knicks (+4, 198.5)
New York was in Boston on Friday. Detroit's four-game winning streak ended with a 97-81 loss at San Antonio on Wednesday. The Pistons' Andre Drummond was held to nine points -- but did have 14 rebounds -- to see his NBA season-high streak of 13 straight double-doubles end. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was held to four points. The Knicks and Pistons have each won at home against one another this season. Detroit has lost 10 of the last 12 games on the road against New York.
Key trends: The Pistons have covered only six of the past 21 in the series. The over is 4-0 in the past four.
Early lean: Pistons and over.
Pacers at Wizards (-2.5, 208)
Washington was in Cleveland on Friday, while Indiana was in Charlotte. This is the final meeting of the season between Indiana and Washington and thus could prove an important playoff tiebreaker. They have split the first two, each winning on the road. In the Pacers' win in D.C., they set a franchise record while making 19 3-pointers and shooting 73.1 percent from long range, an NBA record for a team that made at least 19.
Key trends: The Pacers are 6-0 in their past six in D.C. The over is 6-0 in the past six meetings overall.
Early lean: Wizards and over.
Jazz at Pelicans (pick'em, 199)
Utah was in Memphis on Friday. New Orleans lost a third straight Thursday, 94-86 at home to San Antonio. It was the third straight game the Pelicans blew a fourth-quarter lead. New Orleans missed its final six shots in this one. Anthony Davis finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Omer Asik (sprained right ankle) and Alexis Ajinca (fractured sternum) both sat out, and Ajinca is out weeks. New Orleans leads the season series against Utah 2-1.
Key trends: The Jazz are 4-1-1 ATS in their past five at New Orleans. The over is 8-2 in the past 10 meetings.
Early lean: Pelicans and under.
Nets at Timberwolves (-4.5, 214)
Brooklyn was in Denver and Minnesota in Milwaukee on Friday. The Timberwolves won in Brooklyn 100-85 on Dec. 20. Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Gorgui Dieng added 20 points with 10 boards. Brook Lopez topped the Nets with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Minnesota has won nine of the past 13 meetings overall. It did lose at home last season to Brooklyn, however.
Key trends: The road team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over has hit in eight of Minnesota's past 10 in the second of a back-to-back.
Early lean: Timberwolves and over.
Rockets at Bulls (+1.5, 216)
This is the Saturday night ABC game of the week and should have live betting at sportsbooks. Probably not the matchup ABC was hoping for when the schedule came out. The Rockets and Bulls were both fringe title contenders last year but are fighting for their playoffs lives this year. Houston ended a two-game losing streak with a 100-95 win over New Orleans on Wednesday despite shooting a ridiculous 3-for-34 from 3-point range, an NBA record for futility. James Harden led Houston with 39 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Chicago's free-fall continued with a 102-89 loss in Orlando on Wednesday, the Bulls' fourth straight defeat. They played without an injured Taj Gibson, and he's questionable here. Cameron Bairstow actually started. That's how bad things are right now in the Windy City. But there is some good news coming: All-Star guard Jimmy Butler is likely to return Saturday after missing 11 games with a knee injury. This is the first meeting of the season. Houston has lost five of its past seven in Chicago.
Key trends: The home team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 5-0 in the past five in Chicago.
Early lean: Rockets and over -- even if Butler plays, he's not 100 percent yet.
Kings at Spurs (-12.5, 209.5)
Sacramento ended a four-game losing streak with a very surprising 104-101 win in Dallas on Thursday. Rajon Rondo had 18 points and 12 assists in his first game back in Dallas after last season's debacle, and DeMarcus Cousins also had a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Sacramento had lost 22 straight regular-season games in Big D. San Antonio won a seventh straight Thursday, 94-86 over New Orleans. Kawhi Leonard had 30 points and 11 rebounds as the Spurs clinched a playoff spot for the 19th straight season. The Spurs have blown out the Kings twice this season and have won six in a row in the series at home.
Key trends: The Kings are 0-4 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 6-2 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Spurs and under.
Hawks at Clippers (-4.5, 204.5)
Atlanta won't even have to switch locker rooms as it was at the Lakers on Friday. The Clippers won their third in a row Wednesday, 103-98 over Oklahoma City. Los Angeles was down 22 at one point and closed the game on a 26-5 run. Chris Paul had 21 points and 13 assists for Los Angeles, and DeAndre Jordan had 20 points and 18 rebounds. It was only the second time in Clippers history that they won a regular-season game in which they trailed by at least 17 points entering the fourth quarter. The Clippers won in Atlanta 85-83 on Jan. 27. The Hawks' Paul Millsap missed a good look in the final seconds. Atlanta turned it over 23 times.
Key trends: The Hawks are 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 6-0 in the Clippers' past six at home.
Early lean: Clippers and under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/15/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/13/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/8/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/6/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/1/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/30/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 12/25/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/23/2020 and Opening Line Report
- 2021 NBA Championship Odds and Expert Predictions
- NBA Basketball Picks Season Special 3 Handicappers for the Price of 1