Welcome (back) to The Coin Toss, where I make bold and unlikely predictions about your favorite professional sports!
Your favorite bold predictions column is back for the spring semester! The Super Bowl is in the past, so we’re in full-fledged basketball prediction season. Let’s get right to it; here are my NBA picks for this week…
Today (Feb. 8): Bucks snap Heat’s 11-game win streak
The Heat are absolutely on fire (pun intended) going into tonight’s game against the Bucks in Milwaukee. This is thanks to some lights-out shooting from Goran Dragic. Dragic was 7-9 from three on Monday, and he’s shooting 45 percent from three on the year. Any team to beat Miami would need a scrappy, perimeter-defending point guard to stop Dragic. Cue Matthew Dellavedova. He’s an important piece of the puzzle, but not the only one that will aid the Bucks in stopping the Heat’s streak. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker and John Henson are all capable of holding down the fort defensively. If the defense does its job and Giannis continues his exceptional production on offense, “the deer” should be able to defeat Miami and halt the 11-game winning streak.
Saturday (Feb. 11): Russell Westbrook records 40-point triple-double in KD’s return
Picking a Russell Westbrook triple-double probably doesn’t seem too bold, especially this season. A 40-point triple-double against a bonafide superteam is a different story. The Warriors are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, as they lead the league in defensive efficiency. They also have a likely Defense Player of the Year candidate in Draymond Green, who can guard any position. I’d be worried if I were Russell Westbrook, but I know that he isn’t. Westbrook has been a triple-double machine all season, and he’s at his best when he’s angry. This game will be Kevin Durant’s return to Oklahoma City to face his former team. Westbrook has been feuding with Durant all year, and this matchup will be the culmination of that feud. Expect Westbrook to put numbers on the board in this game. Specifically, at least 40 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.
TRADES: Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel are both moved before trade deadline
Both of these centers appear to be on the trade block for Philadelphia, but most believe they’ll only move one. However, the Sixers have their center of the future in Joel Embiid. I believe the 76ers will ‘trust the process’ enough to go all in on Embiid, trading both Noel and Okafor for either picks or young talent at other positions. A trade that would send Okafor to the Pelicans looks to be in the works, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a deal for Noel gets reported soon as well. All in all, I predict they’ll both be on different teams come the Feb. 23 trade deadline.