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We would love to tell you that the top two teams in the NBA are leading off tonight’s TNT doubleheader as the Golden State Warriors visit the Brooklyn Nets, but that is not the case because of the curious case of the Washington Wizards, who won again last night after we told you about the Coach of the Year wagering opportunity available regarding Wes Unseld Jr.

We would also like to tell you that Ben Simmons’ actions on the bench in Utah will be closely watched in the nightcap as the Sixers play the Jazz, but Simmons is not with the team as they make their second stop on a six-game road trip and is being fined by the organization as that saga continues.

But this is still a nifty doubleheader.

Although the Warriors are in first place in the West with an 11-2 record, the Nets are tied for second in the East, a half-game back, but have been playing well lately, winning eight of nine (including five of six on the road). They are favored by three (up from 2.5 earlier today) but will not have Joe Harris tonight as he has been ruled out with a sprained ankle.

Still, James Harden, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green will keep this one interesting, and this is probably the best matchup TNT has had through the first month and a half of the season. The nightcap matches a team that has had all sorts of internal issues against a Jazz squad that looks very much like the Jazz team that posted the best regular season record in the West last year, and Utah is favored by 10 points (up from 9.5).

This TNT on Tuesday thing is taking some getting used to, but if 2021 has taught us anything it is that we all need to adjust. Nobody knows that quite like Doc Rivers, who has been without Simmons all season and has been missing Joel Embiid for the past week (COVID-19 protocols) and just got Tobias Harris back but may be without Danny Green (hamstring) tonight.

The absences in both games (Klay Thompson remains out until January for Golden State) mean that there will be opportunities for a bunch of backups, and the way we are going to approach this from a wagering standpoint is by looking at individual player props.

Let’s start with Curry, who is currently the +275 favorite to end up as the league’s Most Valuable Player. The second choice is Durant at +475, and we are likely to see him checked by former teammate Green, one of the league’s best defenders.

The over/under on Durant’s points is 29.5, while Curry’s is 30.5. Hmmmm.

Durant has eclipsed the 30-point mark seven times this season including in five of seven games this month. He will be playing at home in Brooklyn and will not have Harris alongside him firing away in the first quarter, as is often the case. So his shot opportunities will likely be up. He has been taking far fewer shots in the past three games (between 12 and 17) than he did in the first five games of November (between 19 and 24), but he reached 33 points in his most recent game at Oklahoma City by getting to the free throw line 14 times.

This is an alumni game for Durant, who left Golden State to sign with Brooklyn two summers ago, and we have no doubt he will be stoked, and will want to elevate himself ahead of Curry in the MVP race. So we expect to see him bait Green into foul trouble, shoot early and often, and get to 30 again.

As for Curry, the guy certainly likes the bright lights of the big city but usually has his best New York games at Madison Square Garden. Last season when he came to New York and played in a pair of empty arenas, he scored 20 against the Nets but 37 against the Knicks. The previous season (when Durant was sidelined), Curry was a DNP at the Barclays Center. In the 2018-19 season he came into Brooklyn early in the season and scored 35. But that was more than three years ago, so you could say that the NBA’s second-leading scorer is overdue for something special in Kings County. He has played seven games this month that have included a 40-point performance and a 50-point performance, but in the other five he has scored fewer than 30.

Curry is coming off a disappointing 24-point game in Charlotte two nights ago with several family members in attendance, and about all we can predict for sure is that he is going to jack up a bunch of threes tonight. He has taken 93 in seven games this month, and unless his arm falls off or his elbow snaps he will take a bunch more tonight.

The prediction here is a shootout, and we like the over for both superstars’ point totals. The trick with this game is finding another player prop that is more likely than not to hit, and for that we look to Patty Mills, who broke out of a slump in a big way last game by hitting nine 3-pointers and scoring 29 against OKC. Coach Steve Nash is going to need that type of shooting from Mills on a consistent basis if the Nets are going to be able to compete for a championship with somebody replacing the point production of the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving, and Mills is certainly capable but had been underperforming in the early part of the season (he was 0-for-4 and 1-for-7 in the previous two games).

Mills’ point total over/under is 12.5 and his made 3-pointers over/under is 2.5, and since Harris is on the shelf the thinking here is that Nash will be in Mills’ ear about becoming a consistent third scorer behind Durant and James Harden (who has strung together three consecutive double-figure assist games). Harden’s assist over/under is 9.5, and there is no reason to believe that he will be in single digits tonight.

So what we envision here is a high scoring game with a bunch of overs – everything we’ve mentioned: Points for Durant, Curry and Mills, 3-pointers made for Mills and assists for Harden. If you want to parlay all five, go for it. The NBA will want a super show on national TV tonight, and these two teams are fully capable of delivering. Golden State is 5-9-0 and Brooklyn is 4-9-0 on over/unders, but the line of 222 still seems low. Add an “over” to that parlay card, cross your fingers and perhaps you are looking at a 6-for-6 night.

In the nightcap, the matchup to watch is Andre Drummond vs Rudy Gobert at center. Drummond has been grabbing rebounds in bunches with Embiid out, grabbing 25, 20, 12 and 16 in his past four games. His over/under tonight is 13.5 (the same as Rudy Gobert’s), and the thinking here is another over, because Drummond has been rebounding so voraciously that he now ranks fifth in the league despite being limited to less than 20 minutes of playing time in 8 of his 13 games.

There are no sure things when it comes to the Sixers, but Tyrese Maxey has strung together three terrific games (31, 33 and 24 points) and is playing heavy minutes, so we like him going over his line of 16.5. In fact, we will close this column by saying if you want to disregard everything previously written here and go with just one thing, it would be Maxey and the individual over. It appears to be the one line where the oddsmakers missed most in looking at tonight’s three-game slate. Good luck!


Kevin Durant over 29.5 points (-115)

Steph Curry over 30.5 points (-115)

Patty Mills over 12.5 points (-115)

Patty Mills over 2.5 3-pointers (-170)

James Harden over 9.5 assists (+110)

Warriors vs Nets: Over 222 points (-110)

Andre Drummond over 13.5 rebounds (-105)

Tyrese Maxey over 16.5 points (-110)