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NBA Who’s Hot and Who’s Not: Pacers Backcourt on Fire, Bane Slow to Get Going in Memphis

The New Year beckons, and with it, the meat of the NBA calendar. It’s a point in the season where we have a pretty solid understanding of things related to basketball and NBA betting. With that in mind, let’s do our weekly spin around the league to see who’s performing well and who isn’t, which should help you at the sportsbook.

Let’s check the latest NBA picks, stats, injury reports, and NBA predictions. We’ve plenty of NBA expert picks for you to consider.

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts during the first half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns
Christian Petersen - Getty Images - AFP

Eastern Conference Who’s Hot

  • Tyrese Haliburton – He’s not mentioned in many MVP discussions, but perhaps he should be, especially if the Indiana Pacers are a factor in the East. The NBA leader in assists per game (10.2) is also averaging 28.0 points over his last five games. He’s made at least six 3-pointers in three of those, including six in eight tries in Thursday’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • Buddy Hield – Haliburton’s running mate seems to be benefiting from his buddy’s hot streak, as he’s finding open space as well and making the most of his opportunities. Hield buried a 3-pointer three seconds into Thursday’s game and finished with 25 points while making 5 of 6 from the arc. He now leads the NBA in made 3’s (137) and is hitting at a 71.0% clip (22-for-31) over the last four games.
  • Rui Hachimura – The Wizards went 3-13 while Hachimura was sidelined with an ankle injury. They’re 3-1 since he returned, as the fourth-year forward has been excellent off the bench. He’s averaging 21.7 points per game during the squad’s three-game winning streak, including 30 to help Washington get past Phoenix on Wednesday without Bradley Beal.

Western Conference Who’s Hot

  • Luka Doncic – We try to give lesser figures some space here, but this one’s obvious. He’s just on another level right now. Starting with a game against Houston on Dec. 23, Doncic is averaging 44.3 points over his last four games, which includes his 60-point triple-double in an overtime win against the New York Knicks. That set a franchise record for scoring and tied the NBA record for most points scored in a triple-double. Oh, and it involved one of the more wild game-tying scenarios in recent history. Doncic followed that up with another triple-double against Houston on Thursday as Dallas extended its winning streak to five games.
  • Zion Williamson – Well, this is no “lesser figure.” Just the opposite, for nobody is as imposing as Williamson is right now with his relentless power and physicality combined with remarkable skill. As Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell recently put it, Zion is “playing football, we’re playing basketball.” Of course, Russell meant it to imply that Williamson is getting away with too much on the court, but it sounds like sour grapes. Zion came back from a recent three-game layoff to score 43 points in a win over Russell and company, averaging 30.5 points over his last 11 games.
  • Trey Murphy III – Williamson’s teammate Murphy doesn’t have nearly the same impact in the box score. But he’s making the most of his scoring chances, putting up 44 points while making 10 of 14 3-pointers over his last two games. Murphy, who ranks 9th in the NBA in free-throw percentage (91.0), averages 14.6 points while hitting 46.2% from the arc in New Orleans’ wins.

Eastern Conference Who’s Not

  • Gordon Hayward – It’s been a rocky season for Hayward, who has endured two lengthy injury absences (one of which saw his wife complain about Charlotte’s treatment of her husband’s ailments) and is struggling to make shots for a 10-26 team. Since returning from the shoulder injury that caused the controversy, Hayward is averaging 12.3 points while hitting 7 of 32 3-pointers (21.9%).
  • Bojan Bogdanovic – We’ve had him in a Who’s Hot slot before, as this veteran 3-point specialist has – at times – carried a young Pistons squad. However, he’s hit a bit of a lull, averaging 17.0 points (nearly four below his season mark) on 35.7% shooting over the last four games. That includes a 10-point effort in a loss at Philadelphia in which he failed to even attempt a 3-pointer for the first time in over five years.
  • Chris Duarte – Continuing our Pacers edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not, we find Duarte struggling to find his stroke off the Indiana bench. He made 4 of 5 3-pointers in a big win at Boston on Dec. 21 in his second game back from a long injury layoff, but since then has hit 1 of 12 triples. He hasn’t been much better inside the arc during that span, going 4-for-13 on 2-point shots.

Western Conference Who’s Not

  • Desmond Bane – It’ll come for this 3-point specialist, but he’s yet to find that groove since returning from a toe injury. A career 43.0% shooter from long range, he’s 5-for-26 from out there in his four games following the absence. He did make 3 of 7 his last time out, so perhaps that inevitable hot stretch is coming.
  • Lonnie Walker IV – Walker has been a consistent source of points behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the Lakers, but he’s fallen off a bit in the past couple of weeks. He’s scored in single digits in four of his last nine games, including his first scoreless effort of the season (on 0-for-4 shooting) in Wednesday’s loss at Miami.
  • Anfernee Simons – This emerging star in Portland scored at least 20 points in a recent stretch of 18 out of 23 games. He’s since gone four straight games finishing under 20 points while shooting 35.9%, including a 4-for-18 showing from 3-point range over the last two contests.

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