5 Bold NBA Predictions for Week 10 of the 2018 season
There’s a logjam at both the top and the bottom of the NBA standings, with no team pulling away but also no one that is clearly the worst of the result. The result should be another intriguing December in the association. With the biggest day on the NBA’s regular-season schedule—also known as Christmas—less than a week way, it’s time for our holiday edition of weekly bold predictions.
Merry Christmas to the Bucks
Milwaukee will lead the Eastern Conference by the time Christmas comes. Giannis Antetokounmpo and company are currently 1.5 games behind first-place Toronto but tied in the loss column (20-9 to the Raptors’ 23-9). Toronto is in the midst of a two-game losing streak and faces upcoming dates with Indiana and Philadelphia. The Bucks, on the other hand, have won two in a row. They’ll have to win at Boston on Friday, but it’s not out of the question. The Celtics have already lost at home this season to Orlando, Utah, and New York.
Gold, Frankincense, and Murray
Nuggets guard Jamal Murray will deliver his first triple-double of the season against the Clippers on Saturday. He poured in 22 points to go along with 15 assists and seven rebounds during a 126-118 win over Dallas on Tuesday. Murray (17.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 4.5 rpg) is capable of reaching the double-digit mark in boards; he has done it once this season and has corralled at least eight on four other occasions. Both he and Denver (21-9) as a whole are playing with a ton of confidence at the moment, so L.A. better watch out this weekend.
The ghost of NBA past
The curse of Dirk Nowitzki’s comeback appears to be a real thing in Dallas. It’s certainly no fault of Nowitzki, because has not logged more than eight minutes in any game since returning from injury for the first time this season; but the Mavericks are 0-3 with the 40-year-old on the floor after previously going on a three-game winning streak. Expect the skid to continue for Dallas, which was certainly overachieving behind rookie Luka Doncic while starting the 2018-19 campaign 15-11. The Mavericks’ next three contests are at the Clippers, at Golden State, and at Portland.
‘Tis the seaon for giving
No club is more generous than Atlanta when it comes to playing defense. The Hawks are dead last in the NBA at 119.0 points allowed per game; no other team is surrendering more than 117.0 (Washington). They are also fond of handing out wins to other teams—23 to be exact (compared to seven victories of their own). Atlanta is a horrendous 2-14 on the road this season and plays its next two away from home (at New York and Detroit on Friday and Sunday).
O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion
The Bulls will gain sole possession of last place in the NBA from Phoenix, thus putting themselves in temporary position to win the lottery and get Duke’s Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick. Almost entirely thanks to the Suns, Chicago suddenly finds itself tied for last in the league with a 7-24 record. Phoenix had been saddled with a laughable 4-24 record, but it has somehow managed to win three straight at the expense of Dallas, Minnesota, and New York. The Suns get to play Washington and Brooklyn back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday. Although the Bulls have an easy upcoming schedule, too, they are more dysfunctional right now.