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The NBA is putting on a high-stakes NBA Thursday night schedule, with five key matches planned for the evening.
In the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons clash. The Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors are both looking to climb up the standings. And the Philadelphia 76ers hope to maintain their hot streak against the Portland Trail Blazers.
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When: 3:00 PM EST
|Chicago Bulls||-6.5 (-110)|
|O 236.0 (-110)|
|Detroit Pistons||+6.5 (-110)|
|U 236.0 (-110)|
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The Chicago Bulls enter this match with the Detroit Pistons with the expectation that it'll help their efforts to get back into the playoff race. Detroit enter this game at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, owning a 12-35 overall record and a 6-16 home record. Chicago are currently 10th in the Eastern Conference, with a 20-24 overall record and an 8-14 road record.
The Bulls are coming off an impressive win in their last game over the Golden State Warriors. Even without DeRozan in the lineup, the Bulls were able to score 132 points on 50.5% from the field and 38.5% from three on 15 makes - their sixth-best shooting performance of the year. In their limited amount of victories, the Pistons perform best when their defense is in place. In victories, the Pistons allow just 112.3 points on 45.9% from the field and 35.1% from three-point range.
While the Pistons will see a vulnerable Bulls team without DeMar DeRozan in the lineup, Chicago's most recent game is sure to inspire their play. Given their paint dominance, they should be able to take the win against an ambitious Pistons team.
When: 8:00 PM EST
|Toronto Raptors||-2.5 (-115)|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||+2.5 (-115)|
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The Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves are both looking to climb up the standings with a win over the other. The Raptors are currently 11th in the Eastern Conference, owning a 20-25 record and a 6-14 road record. The Timberwolves are ninth in the Western Conference, owning a 22-23 record and a 14-10 home record.
The Raptors have alternated wins over their last four games, as they've continually struggled to defend the three-point line. Toronto's opponents have averaged 119.8 points, on 49.7% from the field and 40.0% from three-point range. The Timberwolves are similarly 2-2 over their last four games, also struggling to defend the ball but still finding success on the offensive end. Minnesota have shot 50.4% from the field and 40.8% from three, but they've allowed their opponents to shoot 52.5% from the field and 44.4% from three.
The Timberwolves are going to get up and down the court given their pace, but the Raptors should give them issues due to their impressive forced turnover rate. The Raptors will still need to improve on their own shooting, but Minnesota's defense should give their shooters some well-needed reprieve.
When: 10:00 PM EST
|Philadelphia 76ers||-2.5 (-110)|
|O 234.0 (-110)|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+2.5 (-110)|
|U 234.0 (-110)|
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While the Portland Trail Blazers are trying to get back on the winning track, the Philadelphia 76ers are looking to maintain their recent positive run of form. The Sixers are currently third in the Eastern Conference, owning a 28-16 overall record and an 11-9 road record. The Trail Blazers are 11th in the West, with a 21-23 record and an 11-8 home record.
The Sixers have found success through their recent two-way play. Over their three-game win streak, the Sixers have shot 49.4% from the field and 40.4% from three-point range while allowing just 51.0% and 31.9% from their opponents. The Trail Blazers aren't as capable of a two-way team, but they're much more successful when they can find their range. In victories, the Trail Blazers average 120.5 points per game on 50.8% from the field and 39.9% from three-point distance.
This projects to be a tough battle between two capable teams that seem to match up very well on paper. The Sixers are good at defending the three-point arc, but the Trail Blazers are a team that can open up any defense from deep. This projects to be a tight affair, but the Sixers should still come out on top.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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