It’s a sad day in the NBA with the news that Kevin Durant will likely not play the rest of the 2014-2015 season. Russell Westbrook had gamely kept the Thunder in the final playoff position, but it now appears even if he IS able to help them hold on it probably won’t matter too much. Perhaps the Thunder realized the best-case scenario even with Durant was sneaking into the 8th spot, as #7 seemed too far away, and from the eighth spot it was unlikely they’d beat Golden State and EVEN IF they did… it would be a really long dangerous postseason to push their young star and reigning MVP.
So they decided to pull the plug completely.
Hopefully it is simply cautionary and not the start of the sad and tragic early decline of one of the league’s best talents and people…
Meanwhile, we have reeled off two NBA winners in a row under the radar of the NCAA Tournament. Let’s make it three tonight.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Portland Trailblazers at Memphis Grizzlies -3.5
If you need a break from the college kids tonight, this is the game to flip over and catch. Two of the West’s best square off tonight in Memphis. The Grizzlies have dominated this rivalry, winning eight of the last nine matchups, regardless of location. They’ve won three in a row and every matchup this season and now they get to play in the friendly confines of the home arena they are 26-7 inside.
Portland made the splashy move to land Aaron Afflalo but the loss of Wesley Mathews is still hurting them tremendously. They are just 3-4 without their best shooter and perimeter defender. The OVER is 6-1 in those games as well, largely an indication of Portland’s lesser defense. The Blazers have dropped three straight road games and lost four of five overall, dropping them from the third sport in the west to the fourth with seventh just one and a half games away. It’s a sad demise, but one that I don’t think stops tonight.
Memphis is in a tight battle with Houston for the second spot and can hold position one loss ahead in the L-column and can all but vanquish the Blazers with a win tonight. It’s hard to see Portland, who has struggled so mightily on the road lately, rebounding at Memphis.
The Grizzlies are rolling at home and despite playing last night, I think they’ll find enough legs to beat Portland. If they were on the road, I’d be concerned, but at home, I am not as worried. Portland also played last night, losing their third straight road game, this one at Orlando. Yuck.
Give me the Grizzlies at home to win and cover with some comfort.