We notched our third straight NBA winner last night with Brooklyn easily beating the Spurs at home. But… before we start throwing a parade in Brooklyn, the Spurs were missing their top four scorers last night in Parker, Duncan, Ginobili, and Kwahi Leonard. It’s not a new situation for the Spurs, who seem to be in a similar predicament every year for the last decade… and always end up OK. It’ll be interesting to see if they can survive even a round in the West, let alone two or three.
Meanwhile, kudos to the NBA for landing a big-time roster for the NBA Slam Dunk contest for the first time since the good old days. Paul George, John Wall and Damian Lillard are all REAL All-Stars, add in Rising Stars Harrison Barnes and Ben McLemore and defending champ Terrance Ross (who became the first player in the NBA to score 50 points in a game in a season where he was averaging under ten points…) and you have a REALLY interesting field. I’m not sure if we’ll have a column on any of the Skills Challenges, but I’ll take an early flyer on John Wall to win it.
It’s Friday night, and that means a big packed slate of NBA action. There are some excellent games on the board, so let’s dig in and see if we can build on a three-game NBA winning streak and 8-3 ATS run.
Today’s Free Picks:
Portland Trailblazers at Indiana Pacers -6 (Total: 196)
I was beginning to worry the well was running dry. We fanned on the Pacers and Suns a few times recently, and it was as if the ATM machine was finally tired of spitting out free money. However, the Pacers, after a brief three-game ATS slide, appear tp be back on track. They have covered two in a row, won three in a row overall and still sit with the NBA’s best actual record as well as a 31-17 mark ATS.
Portland is really good. It feels silly to try and shoot holes in this team because they are beginning to look more like a Conference Semi-Finalist than Title contender. They aren’t as good as OKC, and will probably struggle a bit to edge out Houston, Golden State and the Clippers. But this is still a really good basketball team. They have lost three of their last five and five of ten overall, and are beginning to show some particular road vulnerability. They have dropped four of their last five on the road, including losses to Washington, a team they should be better than.
Tonight they visit a team they should NOT be better than. Indiana has been a beast at home, posting a dominating 23-2 record. They are well-rested (something they were not in the two home losses) and primed for a good effort tonight. The Pacers are 17-8 at home ATS, despite often laying double-digit points. Tonight is a manageable 6, and I think they’ll be just fine. If you’re looking for a bonus wager, the 196 total feels a little high as well. I’d lean UNDER, but am taking the Pacers with my official pick.