The NBA All-Star break isn’t just a time to celebrate the very best in basketball but it also gives teams a much-need hiatus from the court. Some NBA teams need the break more than others, as they struggled with injuries in the first half of the season.
Here are some teams to watch coming out of the break, now that they’ve had time to heal up. They could provide some added value in the NBA Sports Betting Odds over the next two weeks.
Denver Nuggets (38-7 SU, 26-25-4 ATS)
Could the Nuggets get any better? Denver is second overall in the Western Conference and leads the competitive Northwest Division after a strong start to 2019-20. However, those efforts took their toll in recent weeks with a number of key players missing time or playing through injuries.
Jamal Murray and Will Barton are the two biggest contributors benefitting from the All-Star break. Murray recently returned from an ankle injury and Barton entered the break sidelined with a knee injury that benched him in the Nuggets’ four games before the All-Star weekend. He’s expected back later this week, giving Denver back a 15 point-per-game scorer and top defender. The Nuggets kickoff the second half of the schedule at Oklahoma City on Friday.
Phoenix Suns (22-33 SU, 25-29-1 ATS)
For a while at the start of the season, it looked like Phoenix was going to pull itself out of the Western Conference basement. But injuries started thinning the roster and the Suns stumbled into the All-Star break with only two wins so far in February. They scored just 108.6 points per game over those seven contests – a significant drop from their scoring average of 112.4 on the season.
Phoenix got very thin up front, losing big men Deandre Ayton and Frank Kaminsky, who combined to average almost 30 points and 17 rebounds per game. Ayton could return from an ankle injury this coming week while Kaminsky is slated back in the next two weeks. That injection of size will help the Suns on both ends of the floor. They get back to business with back-to-back road games at Toronto and Chicago this coming weekend.
Portland Trail Blazers (25-31 SU, 23-31-2 ATS)
The Blazers backed into the All-Star break with a number of players dinged up, none more important that Damian Lillard who was forced to pull out of the weekend festivities due to a groin injury. He’s projected to sit out one or two weeks, but this extended pause will help speed up recovery.
On top of some injured role players like Mario Hezonja and Nassir Little, who are important due to Portland’s lack of scoring support – ranked second last in the NBA with an average of only 27.3 points off the bench – the Blazers are holding out hope that standout center Jusuf Nurkic will suit up soon.
He’s missed the entire season recovering from a broken leg suffered last March, and averaged 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists last season. While no official date is set, rumblings could have him back on the court by the end of February. Portland starts back up again versus New Orleans next Friday but should be a wait-and-see bet until Lillard returns.