Minnesota Timberwolves vs Sacramento Kings
At the moment Minnesota Timberwolves are sitting at 13th position in Western Conference with a record of 9-19. Prior to this match, they won their last 2 games against Phoenix Suns (115:108) and Atlanta Hawks (84:92). Looking at their latest fixture against Hawks, Timberwolves accumulated a 5 point lead by the end of 1st half, but the lead was soon lost in 3rd quarter, when Atlanta Hawks outscored Timberwolves by 7 points. In the final 12 minutes of the match Minnesota showed their worth by outscoring their opponents by 10 points (15:25). The final result was 84:92 for Minnesota, who shot 42.2% from the field with 17 turnovers and 6 steals. Their opponents, Atlanta Hawks shot 41.5% from the field, committed 10 turnovers and stole the ball 9 times.
In this season, Minnesota is ranked 25th in defensive efficiency, and 11th in offensive efficiency with 103.9ppg.
Sacramento Kings are ranked 9th in the West with a record of 12-17. Currently they are on a great run, with 3 wins in their last 4 games. I was surprised by their superb performance against Jazz, where they closed a margin of 20 points and in the end won by 1 point (93:94). On that occasion, Kings shot 45.9% from the field, committed 11 turnovers and stole the ball 5 times. Jazz shot 44.6% from the field with 10 turnovers and 7 steals. Sacramento are ranked 21th in ppg count with 102.1ppg and 22th in defensive efficiency.
Both teams have had good results in their recent games, but I must give an edge to Sacramento due to their great performance against Jazz, as mentioned before. Neither of the team comes off as a huge favourite in my eyes, as neither of them are exceptionally good. Morale will play a big part in this match as well as additional points. That is why I will pick Kings with +5.5 as those 5 points might be decisive.
Prediction: Sacramento Kings +5.5 points
Odds: 1.85 Pinnacle
Charlotte Hornets vs Chicago Bulls
Hornets are going to play their second home match in today’s fixture against Bulls. Their previous match against Lakers was quite close until the end of 4th quarter. By the end of 1st half, Lakers had a hefty lead of 14 points, but Hornets bounced back with strong 3rd (25:23) and 4th quarter (23:17). The final result was 117:113 for Charlotte. Hornets without the doubt deserved that win as they have not given up and played till the end. Charlotte Hornets are currently in 5th position in the East with a record of 16-13. In the league they are ranked 8th in defensive (letting opponents score on average 102.5 ppg) and 16th in offensive efficiency (scoring on average 104.3 ppg themselves).
Chicago Bulls have lost 4 out of their last 5 games and are coming into this fixture after a fresh new defeat against Wizards (97:107). Their form at the moment is nothing to be proud of, as they have lost 7 out of last 10 games played. Looking at away record, Bulls won only 1 out of last 5 games played. It’s clear they need to improve, but let’s take a look at how they performed in their recent fixture. Against Washington, Bulls went into 2nd half with 1 point lead. In 3rd quarter there was not much shown by neither of the team (21:22), but Washington managed to close the gap of 1 point, so everything would be decided in the last 12 minutes. Last quarter was terrible for Bulls as they only scored 20 points with 29.2% FG, whereas Washington took the opportunity and outscored their opponents by 10 points with 61.1% FG. Looking at NBA ranking, Bulls are 15th in offensive efficiency, with an average of 101.4 ppg and 7th in the league in defensive efficiency, letting their opponents score on average of 99.6ppg.
Statistics wise, these two teams come off as equals, but there is a completely different story when we take a look at recent form. Hornets have won 4 out of 5 last home games, whereas Bulls won only 1 out of last 5 road games. Hornets are on a run of 2 consecutive wins and will be eager to win 3rd in a row against poor performing Bulls. Tonight I predict Hornets will please their fans with another win.
Prediction: Charlotte Hornets -4.5 points
Odds: 1.95 5Dimes