Top 5 Bold Predictions for Week 21 in the NBA

Photo of the pickswise logo
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

NBA

Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

My first bold prediction is that nowhere in this piece will I mention a certain team from Los Angeles—and I can tell you right now that prediction is going to be correct. While every other piece of NBA literature bloviates about those guys, this one won’t fall into the trap. What (or “what else” would perhaps be more accurate) will transpire throughout the upcoming week in the association? Let’s touch on some other pretenders and also some very real contenders in order to find out. Here are 5 bold predictions for week 21 in the NBA.

Miami will make its move

Dwyane Wade and company are currently tied with Charlotte for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference (the Hornets hold the tiebreaker with a 2-0 lead in the head-to-head series)—a half-game ahead of Orlando. The two teams collide again on Wednesday for an absolutely crucial contest in the Queen City. Although the Hornets are solid at home (20-13), the Heat are actually better on the road (15-16) than they are in Miami (14-18). With Wade producing heroics on a nightly basis and his team having won two in a row, look for a minor upset to take place. The Heat follow that one up with a friendly schedule in the form of Cleveland on Friday.

Denver will take over the West’s No. 1 seed

The Warriors often go through regular-season doldrums, but this is bad even by their standards. They are 3-5 in their last eight games after getting humiliated at home by a struggling Boston side 128-95 on Tuesday. That has kept Denver just 1.5 games out of first place in the Western Conference heading into Friday’s head-to-head showdown. Don’t be surprised if the Nuggets win, while also taking care of Minnesota and some other lowly opponent that I’m not going to mention on their upcoming schedule. Home-court advantage out West might slip away for the Warriors…but they also might not care.

Trae Young will go for 40—this time without four OTs

Young went wild to the tune of 49 points in Atlanta’s quadruple-overtime loss to Chicago last Friday. His team faced Chicago again two days later and he had 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting (3-of-4 from three-point range) midway through the third quarter before being ejected for staring down Kris Dunn following a three (they each had one technical already stemming from a prior skirmish). The rookie out of Oklahoma endured an off night—finally—on Monday, so for multiple reasons he will have a chip on his shoulder this week. Count on Young heating back up, especially against one of the worst defensive teams in the league (New Orleans) at home on Sunday.

Dallas will find a way to keep losing

As predicted, the Mavericks found the win column last week to end a five-game losing streak (beat visiting) Indiana. But they promptly lost to Memphis by 30 at home and fell at Brooklyn by 39. This team is in shambles—and it doesn’t care that it is. Dallas, which must give its first-round pick to Atlanta as part of the Luka Doncic-Trae Young trade if it isn’t in the top five, won’t become one of the five worst teams in the NBA no matter what happens down the stretch. But with each place it falls in the standings, the percentage of landing a top-five selection grows. Even with Washington and Orlando coming up on the schedule, expect the Mavs to continue losing…and losing big.

Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard will have an epic duel

Oklahoma City vs. Portland on Thursday could be a 4-vs.-5 Western Conference playoff preview, and it won’t disappoint. Westbrook has delivered two straight triple-doubles against the Trail Blazers and in the first head-to-head meeting this season he went for 31 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists during a 111-109 road victory. Paul George just returned from a shoulder injury and looked rusty in Tuesday’s loss at Minnesota, giving Westbrook every reason to take matters into his own hands and go off. Lillard is averaging 29.6 ppg in three outings against OKC.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
FanDuel Sportsbook

$3000

No Sweat First Bet up to $3,000 - Guaranteed

Sign up for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account and make your first deposit of $10+

Place your first bet up to $3,000!

Get refunded up to $3,000 in bonus bets if you lose

Must be 21+. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as non-withdrawable free bets that expire 14 days after receipt. See full terms at fanduel.com/sportsbook.

Unibet

$100

Virginia Bettors- Get a $100 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $100 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $100

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

bet365

$200

Bet $1 and Get $200 in Free Bets at bet365!

Register for a new bet365 account

Place qualifying bets of $1 or more

Get $200 in free bets - no matter if your bet wins or loses

New Customer Offer. Deposit required. Free Bets added to Free Bet Credits balance. Free Bet risk excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits, and exclusions apply. Must be physically located in VA.

BetRivers

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make your first deposit & get up to $500 in free bets

To get $500 in free bets, wager $500

Must be 21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

DraftKings

$200

Bet $5, Get $200 in Bonus Bets Instantly

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Make your first deposit and bet $5 on any sports market

Receive $200 in bonus bets instantly, no matter what!

Gambling Problem? Call 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (CO/IL/IN/LA/MD/MI/NJ/PA/TN/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (KS), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA). 21+ (18+ WY). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/KS/LA(select parishes)/MD/MI/NJ/NY/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Void in OH/ONT. Eligibility restrictions apply. Valid 1 per new customer. Min. $5 deposit. Min. $5 bet. $200 issued as free bets that expire 7 days (168 hours) after being awarded. See terms at sportsbook.draftkings.com..

PointsBet

$500

Get $100 in Free Bets, for 5 Days Straight starting

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,250

Your First Cash Bet Is On Caesars Up To $1,250

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account and Place your 1st wager of $10 or more

If you lose, you get 100% of your stake back as a Bet Credit - up to $1,250.

AND win or lose, you’ll also get 1,000 Reward Credits® and 1,000 Tier Credits.

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get $1,000 Paid Back in Bonus Bets, if you Don't Win

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000!

Get refunded up to $1,000 in bonus bets if you don't win

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$2,000

Get up to $2,000 in Free Bets

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim Instant Deposit Match up to $100 + Free $5 game

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$200

Get Your First Single-Horse Win Wager Back Up to $200 if you don't win

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $200

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your TwinSpires.com account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

Underdog Fantasy

$100

First deposit is 100% matched up to $100 with Underdog Fantasy

Sign up for a new account with Underdog Fantasy

Make your first deposit

Every dollar (up to $100) will be matched! Deposit $25, get $50; deposit $100, get $200, etc

Must be 21+ to play. Terms & conditions apply