The Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks weren’t that far from playing one another in the 2021 NBA Finals as the Suns got there but the Hawks lost in the East Finals. They meet Thursday on national TV and as one leg of our parlay on the NBA odds.
The best NBA bets for Thursday
Phoenix at Atlanta (TBA)Tip at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT. This spread is TBA because it’s not clear if Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young will play. He was scratched from Monday’s game vs. Toronto with a right shoulder contusion suffered Sunday – perhaps that the Hawks were playing a second game in 24 hours played a role. He’s questionable for this game. Young did not take contact in practice on Wednesday, but he did do some shooting. He ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring with a 27.7 average, third in assists with a 9.3 average and fifth in free-throw percentage at 89.5%.
Delon Wright would start again if Young can’t go. Atlanta had its seven-game winning streak snapped in Monday’s loss to the Raptors. Wright was just 1-for-7 shooting.
Phoenix won its 11th in a row Tuesday, 121-111 over Brooklyn. Chris Paul had 20 points, 14 assists and just two steals. CP3 has now racked up 61 points, 47 assists and six turnovers over his last three games. Devin Booker had 35 points. Deandre Ayton had 12 points and six rebounds. It was Ayton’s first game since Jan. 16 due to injury.
The Suns’ 41-9 record is the best in franchise history through the first 50 games of a season. This is Phoenix’s second winning streak of at least 10 games and marks the 2nd time in franchise history (2007-08 season) the team has done that.
These teams played on Nov. 6 in Atlanta and the Suns won 121-117. Devin Booker scored high 38 points, and Frank Kaminsky added 16 and the Suns rallied from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Kaminsky is currently out injured. Young led Atlanta with 31 points and 13 assists. John Collins added 26 points and 10 rebounds. Atlanta scored just 19 points in the fourth quarter.
The Suns have not had a season sweep over the Hawks since 2013-14, also their last time recording consecutive wins. Since a home loss to Atlanta on November 12, 2003, the Suns have won 12 of the last 15 meetings on their home court. The losing team has scored exactly 112 or 110 points in 6 of the last 8 meetings.
Chicago at Toronto (+3.5)
Tips at 7:30 p.m. ET with no national TV. The Bulls are without guards Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso with long-term injuries but in pretty good shape health-wise as are the Raptors. Chicago leads the season series 2-0 and beat the visiting Raptors last Wednesday 111-105. DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, and Zach LaVine added 23 for Chicago. Nikola Vucevic scored 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Gary Trent Jr. led the Raptors with 32 points, while OG Anunoby added 23 points. Raptors star guard Fred VanVleet didn’t play.
At 32-18 (.640), the Bulls own the best record in the East. Before this current campaign, the last time the Bulls were 32-18 was January 20, 1974. DeRozan and LaVine have scored 20+ points in the same game an NBA-best 27 times. The Bulls have shot .500 or better from the field an NBA-best 18 times this season. The Bulls have also shot .500 or better from the field and .400 or better from three in the same game an NBA-leading 15 times this season.
Thursday is the first of a back-to-back for Chicago. All-in-all the Bulls have 17 back-to-backs this season. So far they’ve won eight of 10 openers and six closers.
VanVleet is averaging career highs of 21.5 points, 7.1 assists and 4.7 rebounds this season. He leads the NBA in minutes per game (38.6) and has logged 40+ minutes 16 times this season – the most by a Raptor since Kyle Lowry (19) in 2016-17. The Raptors rank second in the NBA in both offensive rebounds per game (13.1) and second-chance points (16.3).
Pascal Siakam is currently averaging 21.1 points, and career highs of 8.3 rebounds and 5.1 assists. He is one of just five players in the NBA averaging 20.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists this season, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, James Harden, and Nikola Jokic. Siakam has 10 double-doubles.
- Suns on moneyline and Raptors +3.5
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