This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Monday was the strangest day of the NBA season. The Spurs blew out the Nets without Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol. The Cavs lost the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans, and Dion Waiters' greatest career moment (so far) occurred, when he drained a game-winning three to defeat the Golden State Warriors.
Waiters LOVES to shoot the ball. It won't ever get better than that for him.
He might not be starting the All-Star game, but we are still unsure if Westbrook is even from this planet.
Last week: A solid bounce back 3-0 (18-15-1). This is what we strive for, people.
Rockets at Celtics (+3)
We are going where all the numbers are telling us to with this matchup. The home underdog Celtics are coming off a road loss to the Wizards (in what's a bizarre new rivalry). Multiple times throughout this season, the Rockets have been undervalued, but then they started to see tougher spreads for two reasons: strength of schedule and overpowering offense.
As for the numbers mentioned before, the Celtics are 9-12 ATS (4-6 against the West), while the Rockets are 18-8 on the road (7-3 against the East).
The pick: Rockets (-3)
76ers at Bucks (-11)
Joel Embiid has changed the culture in Philadelphia, by himself, and as his greatness on the court continues to grow, it is very possible the 76ers reach .500 by the end of the season. That's remarkable.
Having said all of that, we side with the Bucks, since they are not coming off a back-to-back, they are the home team, and Joel Embiid is still out with a left knee contusion.
The pick: Bucks (-11)
Gratuitous Super Bowl pick since I get to put it in writing: Patriots (-27).