NBA picks for July 30
It looks like Zion Williamson is good to go after returning to practice this week. The Pelicans’ stud rookie had to leave the bubble to handle some family issues and missed all three exhibition games and all but two practices this month.
Zion has been in and out of the lineup for New Orleans this season, missing the start of the schedule due to injury and then sparking the team upon his return. And while he does look like he’s in good shape – considering the extended break from basketball – he’s nowhere near game shape.
Alvin Gentry runs one of the fastest offensive paces in the NBA and Zion could be left sucking wind and possibly playing limited minutes. On top of that, he’ll face the ire of one of the better defenses in the NBA. Williamson was averaging 23.6 points per game before the shutdown and we don’t see him getting past that bar Thursday.
PREDICTION: Zion Williamson Under 23.5 points (-110)
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The Lakers offense has looked great in the exhibition games, exploding out of the gate for big scores in the bubble.
LeBron James & Co. have scored 29, 35, and 39 points in opening quarters in those tune-up tilts and were one of the better first-quarter attacks in the NBA before the COVID-19 shutdown, averaging 29.4 points in the first 12 minutes.
The Clippers offense has hit its snags during exhibition games, scoring 21, 30 and 26 points in first quarters this month. With some key contributors and dependable defenders either out or working they’re way back from quarantine, we like the Lakers to set the pace early.
PREDICTION: Race to 25 – Lakers (-148)
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Paul George could be the primary weapon for the Clippers offense Thursday night.
Lou Williams is still in quarantine after his now-infamous chicken wings run and Kawhi Leonard hasn’t quite looked right in exhibition matchups, shooting just 24 percent the past two games. George, on the other hand, is fully healthy after the long layoff and it shows.
He’s put up scores of 18, 11, and 19 in L.A.’s three bubble scrimmages and has found his stroke from beyond the arc, shooting a collective 10-for-19 from 3-point range in those games.
On the season, George was attempting nearly eight 3-pointers per game, averaging a little over three makes. We feel like he has the green light from deep Thursday night.
PREDICTION: Paul George Over 3.5 3-pointers made (+112)
Top NBA consensus for today
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NBA betting card for July 30
- Zion Williamson Under 23.5 points (-110)
- Race to 25 – Lakers (-148)
- Paul George Over 3.5 3-pointers made (+112)
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