Wasn’t it just a week ago that the NBA world was simple and we could all settle in and wait for Cleveland vs. Golden State?? Not that the West was ever simple, but it seemed the growing consensus from more and more NBA pundits was that the Dubs were the clear favorite. The recent play of San Antonio and the fierce resurgence of the champs has made that far, far less clear. San Antonio knocked off another elite team by double digits last night – this time on the second day of a back to back, and has now held a 20+ point lead in ten of their last twelve games and a 25+ point lead in seven of them.
They aren’t just winning. They are destroying good teams with a vengeance.
Elsewhere, Victor Oladipo spoiled the fun with a game-winning basket, but aside from the loss, it is a very good sign in Chicago to see Derek Rose back in uniform and on the floor. Personally, I don’t think this makes them legit threats to the Cavaliers, but it does at least make things a lot more interesting…
We’ve been insanely hot since the All-Star Break, but the last three nights haven’t gone well. Let’s snap the three-game slide (our first in two months) and get back to the winning ways we are accustomed to.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Portland Trailblazers at Golden State Warriors -9.5
The Warriors haven’t had a three-game losing streak this season, and you can bet they aren’t interested in entertaining one now. They’ve faced back to back motivated opponents on the road, but tonight they return home and have a wounded squad limping into the Bay Area. The Trailblazers are secure in the fourth spot in the West, but thanks to an odd seeding loop-hole, they are not guaranteed home court advantage should the fifth seed have a better record. So, tonight’s game means something to both teams, even if it isn’t life and death.
The Warriors are ridiculous at Oracle Arena. They are 35-2 this season and are averaging112.9 points per game and shooting 41.1% from behind the arc. The Blazers have turned things around lately, winning seven of nine and they do have Alderidge and Batum back in the lineup. But just because they are playing it doesn’t mean they are in peak condition. The bumps and injuries have piled up in Portland, and despite their high talent level, they have become the first-round matchup that every other team in the West is hoping for.
Golden State has won 15 straight home games and has won 15 of 18 against Portland. Add in the motivation factor of wanting to snap a potentially doubt-casting losing streak and I expect Golden State to come out firing tonight. Nine and a half is a fairly steep price, but I think they’ll get just over it tonight and win by 14-18. The Warriors are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against the Blazers. I like them extending that mark tonight.