Wednesday NBA Picks
Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their NBA picks and predictions for Wednesday, January 21.
Boston Celtics at Miami Heat, 7:35PM ET
Coming off a stunning midseason stumble, the Boston Celtics finally have their swagger back after punctuating a five-game winning streak with a blowout victory over a perennial contender in their last game.
If they hope to continue their run, they'll have to bring that confidence on the road, as the defending NBA champions begin a difficult two-day, two-game trip to Florida on Wednesday against Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
The Celtics' league-record 27-2 start and franchise-best 19-game winning streak came to a crashing halt on Christmas Day, when their 92-83 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers opened a 2-7 stretch that was the team's worst since it acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen before last season.
But Boston (34-9) has responded emphatically, comfortably winning the last three games of its five-game run. After two wins by an average of 26.0 points over New Jersey last week, the Celtics routed Phoenix 104-87 on Monday, opening up a 30-point halftime lead before cruising.
Toronto Raptors at Detroit Pistons, 7:35PM ET
The Detroit Pistons have made many lineup changes over the past four years. But no matter who has been on the court, they've always managed to beat the Toronto Raptors at The Palace.
With coach Michael Curry considering sending one of his star guards to the bench, the Pistons look to win their 11th straight home game against the struggling Raptors on Wednesday night.
Detroit (23-17) hasn't lost to Toronto (16-27) at home since falling 89-78 on April 2, 2003, beating the Raptors by an average of 11.0 points during the run.
Regardless of whom Curry decides to put in his starting five, this will be the sixth different lineup the Pistons will use against the Raptors at home since that 2003 loss.
Guards Allen Iverson, Rodney Stuckey and Richard Hamilton are all in Detroit's starting lineup, but according to the Pistons' official Web site, Iverson and Hamilton are being considered as candidates to come off the bench as early as this matchup.
Stuckey, a second-year player, has become a starter due to his outstanding play, but it has left Detroit vulnerable to bigger teams.
Dallas Mavericks at Milwaukee Bucks, 8:05PM ET
The Dallas Mavericks have already gotten off to a better start on their current road trip than their previous one, thanks in large part to Dirk Nowitzki, who has come up big in their last two games.
Nowitzki and the Mavericks continue their four-game trip Wednesday as they go for their third straight win in a matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Dallas (24-17) lost all three games of a road trip against Western Conference foes from Jan. 9-13 as part of a four-game losing streak. It opened its current trip against the East - a swing that includes games against Detroit and Boston - with a 95-93 victory over Philadelphia on Monday.
Dallas and Milwaukee split their two meetings last season with each winning at home.
Posted: 1/21/09 9:41AM ET