Minnesota Timberwolves (-3.5) at Washington Wizards
Washington’s defense, absent Emeka Okafor, has not yet approached last year’s potency, while John Wall and Bradley Beal have struggled offensively. They face the Timberwolves, who, after a season of three point ineptitude, rifled the barrels of their once useless muskets, adding Kevin Martin and a healthy Kevin Love. Now, the Minnesota offense is among the best in the league. While Minnesota’s lack of rim protection remains an issue, they rebound well enough to muster a respectably efficient defense. The John Wall-Ricky Rubio matchup will be fun. Both point guards are creative passers -Rubio especially so- and pesky defenders.
Detroit Pistons (-4) versus New York Knicks
Though Tyson Chandler is considered the anchor of the Knicks’ defense, it is their offense that has suffered most dramatically in his absence. New York has taken threes at a much lower rate compared to last season, and is embroiled in typical Knickerbocker dysfunction. Carmelo Anthony will have many opportunities to score against Corey Brewer and Minnesota, however it is unlikely that he or the rest of the Knicks can overcome a more talented, less dysfunctional Minnesota team.
Atlanta Hawks (+9.5) at Miami Heat
Houston Rockets (-11) versus Boston Celtics
Phoenix Suns (+1.5) at Sacramento Kings