Blazers vs. Lakers Pick NBA – Jan 11th

There’s something unsavory about a whiner. It’s why the media is piling on John Harbaugh today. No one likes to hear an excuse for why you lost, they just wanna see the W. So with that in mind, this is NOT whining. I’m pretty pleased to have gone 12 NBA picks with just a single loss. But yesterday’s push was an all-timer. The Pistons led by seven with six seconds on the clock and Brandon Jennings going to the line. Keep in mind, the Pistons were laying just five. Jennings misses BOTH free throws and then Jarrett Jack scores a meaningless layup with a second left on the clock and no one attempting to stop him to force the tough-luck push. Who even shoots there?? And a point guard missing two spread-icing free throws??? Uggh. That one was pretty bad.

Um, yeah, back to the “no whining” rule.

Alas, it stole a winner away but at least it didn’t cost us anything. So with the bankroll intact, let’s get back after it today and try to find a winner with a little more breathing room…

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By the way – quick fun fact.  ANSWER: The Grizzlies, Cavaliers, Nets, Heat — QUESTION: Who are teams with equal or worse records than the 76’ers over their last ten games.

Today’s Free Pick:

Portland Trailblazers -6 at Los Angeles Lakers

Part of me wants to cover the battle of the miserable; Cleveland at Sacramento to see which team’s gravity-accelerating freefall continues, but I don’t know that I have any good insight on which team stinks worse right now. Instead, I’ll focus on a team I know stinks, the Lakers, hosting one we know does not; Portland. The Blazers have the second-best record in the West and have emerged as the sole team that is really keeping heat on the Warriors heels as Dallas, Memphis and Houston have all shown some fallibility.

Portland has had some struggles with the Lakers historically, losing 11 of 12 with Kobe Bryant in the lineup and six in a row at home with The Mamba. But will Kobe be dressed today? I suppose that is becoming a nightly mystery with the aging veteran getting the Coach Pop treatment and sitting out sporadically. There is no word officially, but I expect him to play after resting in the last game and this pick is based in him in the lineup. At 2-3 without him, there isn’t that tangible of a difference in the Lakers results with or without Kobe, though his die-hard fans would surely object.

I’m more interested in two stats; first, Portland is 11-5 on the road while the Lakers are just 6-12 at home. Secondly, Portland is 6-1 ATS on the back-end of back-to-back, eschewing the usual logic that NBA teams struggle. They’ve not won in LA in a while, but they are 4-1 ATS in their last five trips and tonight has all the markings of a nice chance to get some comeuppance against a team that has traditionally foiled them.

Plus, can you really see Jeremy Lin slowing down Damian Lillard tonight?? Plus it looks like Steve Nash might not play and… JUST KIDDING Lakers fans. That was an unnecessary jab, but you get the point. The Lakers are an old, injury-depleted, and at times, just flat out overmatched collection of bench guys and role players. Just look at tonight’s starting lineups and tell me a single Laker would START for Portland (please please don’t say Kobe)? There just isn’t enough talent in Laker gold and purple to beat elite teams. I’m ready to put Portland in that elite category. I think the Blazers have some fun and exercise some demons tonight and get an easy win.

Free Pick: Portland Trailblazers -6

Chris Scheeren / Author