The reality of injuries is part of professional sports, and multiple NBA games on Thursday night involve changes to rosters due to injuries. Expect results to flow accordingly from these developments.
Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors
Thursday, 7:05 PM ET
NBA Basketball Betting Odds: Toronto -4.5
This is one of the injury-affected games on the slate. Washington’s main man in the middle, Nene, is expected to be out for six weeks, meaning that if the Wizards do make the playoffs, they’ll get him back just in time for the postseason, but not much earlier. In the meantime, Washington has to figure out a way to win with Nene out of the mix. That’s going to be very difficult against a Toronto team that has risen to third place in the Eastern Conference and shows no real sign of deteriorating as the season goes forward. Everything about this game sets up well for the Raptors. Toronto should be able to get to the rim on a consistent basis with Nene not there to block traffic or cause problems near the rim with his length and athleticism. Take them to cover the point spread.
Pick: Toronto -4.5
New York Knicks @ Miami Heat
Thursday, 8:05 PM ET
NBA Basketball Betting Odds: Miami -11
The Knicks are a mess – everyone around the NBA knows that – but it can be said that New York definitely regroups and plays with a lot of added emotion against Miami. The Knicks can’t stand the Heat and regard Miami as a central rival. Carmelo Anthony wants to shine in the spotlight the same way LeBron James has already managed to do over the course of his career. The Knicks bring an edge and an anger to the court when they play Miami; they have been looking up at the Heat in the standings this season and want to have the prosperity that the two-time defending champions are currently reveling in. It does need to be pointed out, though, that Miami did beat the Chicago Bulls this past Sunday without LeBron. The Heat are resourceful enough to win this game, even against one of the Knicks’ more inspired efforts of the regular season. The compromise to make here is that Miami probably won’t cover on the NBA betting lines.
Pick: New York +11
Brooklyn Nets @ Denver Nuggets
Thursday, 10:35 PM ET
NBA Basketball Betting Odds: Brooklyn -2
The thing to realize here is that Denver’s best player, point guard Ty Lawson, suffered a broken rib earlier in the month of February and will miss this game. Lawson is so central to what this team does at both ends of the floor, but especially on offense. His absence from the Denver lineup is why a not-that-good Sacramento team was able to go into the Mile High City and win by 14 points, 109-95, a few days ago. With the Nuggets in a state of crisis due to the Lawson injury, the Nets should be able to take advantage of this opportunity and get a win in a city where it has been difficult for a lot of Eastern Conference teams to win over the years.
Pick: Brooklyn -2