New Orleans Hornets @ Phoenix Suns -10.5
Phoenix has very quietly been a solid basketball team this season, and is still in contention for the eighth playoff spot out West. The ageless Steve Nash is turning in another elite season, though all attention focuses on the new breed of hyper-athletic scoring point guards, Nash’s ability to distribute and get the absolute most out of his teammates is still at its best. He is averaging 11.2 assists this season, and he is doing it with the two leading scorers on his team being Martin Gortat and Jared Dudley (Nash is second in the team with 12.7ppg). That’s a pretty impressive feat.
However, as solid as Nash remains and as impressive as the Suns have been going 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games and 8-2 in their last ten home games against the number, 10.5 points remains a pretty aggressive line to cover even against New Orleans.
The Hornets have had a disastrous season; losing Chris Paul hurt but the sting has really been amplified by the fact that the player they received in the trade, emerging offensive star Eric Gordon, has been sidelined since the third game of the season with an injury. The wake of that injury leaves a team that is led in scoring by Jarrett Jack, Chris Kaman and Carl Landry. Not exactly a Big Three to make the Heat or Thunder take notice. Jack has been excellent finally getting an opportunity to play big minutes on a regular basis, but the overall talent in NOLA is just not at a competitive NBA level.
However, personel-wise, this is a pretty good matchup for the Hornets. Jack is an excellent and physical defensive guard who should be able to bump and somewhat contain Nash. Kaman is a fairly close physical matchup for Gortat, and Trevor Ariza and Grant Hill somewhat mirror each other stylistically (at least at this point in Hill’s career).
The Hornets may not win many ball games, but they’ve been doing a good job hanging around recently. They’ve covered in three straight and in five of their last six. This tells me you have a young team that is still fighting and playing hard. Usually with a little effort in the NBA you can keep the game around single-digits. And that’s all they have to do tonight to steal a nice easy cover.
I like Phoenix to win, but love the Hornets getting a big fat ten and half points at a team with a medicore home record just a shade over .500. Give me NOLA with the points.
Free Pick: New Orleans Hornets +10.5