Welcome to “The Coin Toss,” where I make some bold and unlikely predictions about your favorite professional sports.
Last week’s picks were all duds. Call them ‘alternative predictions.’ I had Kristaps Porzingis putting up 30 points against the Cavs. He went out with an injury in the second quarter and finished with eight points. I had the Pelicans winning their first game with Demarcus Cousins, and they got blown out by the Rockets. The Warriors ONLY scored 112 on the Nets, where I had them getting to 140.
On to the next week. Let’s get to this batch of NBA picks …
Washington Takes Two-of-Two from Toronto
The Raptors and Wizards, who are both fighting for the second seed in the Eastern Conference, will face off twice this week. The Raptors have to be the favorites to win at least once. They have the better record and more talent. However, Kyle Lowry is injured, which will give John Wall and Bradley Beal an advantage against a depleted backcourt. In the Raptors’ first game without Lowry, DeMar DeRozan led his team to a one-point win over the Knicks with a game-winning jump shot. However, DeRozan can’t carry the team like that every night. Plus, they needed a game-winner to beat the Knicks. As a Knicks fan, I know how unimpressive that is. Long story short, I’m taking the Wizards to beat the Raptors twice.
Celtics Upset Cavaliers in Boston
We all know who the favorite is in this one: the defending NBA Champions. The Cavaliers are the best team in the East, and they’ve beaten the Celtics twice this season. Additionally, Avery Bradley is injured, so Boston will be missing some valuable defense on the wing. However, I still like Boston in this game. Their two losses to Cleveland were on the road, and this game is at TD Garden. Even without Avery Bradley, the Celtics have strong perimeter defense, with Jae Crowder containing LeBron James. Also, Jaylen Brown has been playing great recently. He’s hot off a 13-point, five-rebound performance in which he sunk a game-winner over the Pistons. The stars will really have to align for the Celtics to get a win tonight, but I think they will. I have them beating the Cavs at home.
The Nets Win a Game!
Not bold enough for you? Take a look at the last 16 games for Brooklyn; you won’t find the letter W. The Nets are on a 16-game losing streak, but I think they’ll break it this week. They have games against the Kings, Trail Blazers and Grizzlies. But don’t think think any of these games will be easy. All three teams are in the mix for a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference, and the Nets are the worst team in the much weaker East. Still, I think the Nets will win at least once. They traded away a lot of talent at the deadline, but they kept Brook Lopez, who is quietly having a nice season with 20 points and 1.8 blocks per game. The Nets have no motivation to lose. They don’t have their draft pick this year. That hasn’t stopped them, but I think they’ll be eager to break the losing streak. The pick is in: the Nets will win a game this week.