Milwaukee Bucks at Charlotte Bobcats +5 (Total: 197.5)
Portland handled their business last night, dispatching the Chicago Bulls as predicted here, and got the easy win and cover. That pushes out win streak at thesportsgeek.com to three straight, and pushes the overall NBA season record against the spread to well over 70%.
Let’s see if we can keep things rolling tonight with the breakdown of a very interesting game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats.
Milwaukee enters tonight at 6-2 and in first place by several games in the Central Division. This is the best start for the Deer since they began 9-1 back in 2001. That team featured a young Ray Allen, as well as some of the most hideous home jerseys in the history of basketball (google it after you read the column and make your pick for the game…). Buoying that record is their perfect 3-0 start on the road, something that is generally a hallmark of legit teams. Most NBA teams play well at home, only elite teams tend to finish above .500 on the road.
Charlotte was the laughing stock of the NBA the last few seasons, and their miserable futility didn’t even yield them the opportunity to grab Anthony Davis in the draft. Suffice it to say expectations were still abysmally low entering this season for the Bobcats. However, through eight games, they are 4-4 and have looked pretty good in the process. They have close losses against Memphis (who might just be the best team in the NBA), as well as a tough loss on the road at New Orleans. They own wins over Indiana, Dallas, and a road win at Philly, and have fans thinking, maybe…just maybe… this team could contend for a Playoff berth.
It isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound. Tonight will be a nice litmus test for the young Bobcats. They will struggle with some of the quickness and shooting of Milwaukee. Their backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monte Ellis has been spectacular, averaging a combined 38.8 points. They have gotten a big contribution from third leading scorer, another perimeter oriented guy, Mike Dunleavy. Milwaukee has already beaten Boston and Philly on the road, yet the rest of their schedule is a bit soft.
There are two things that trouble me about Milwaukee; first, their guards shoot a low percentage, especially Monte Ellis at 40.5% (though he takes a lot of 3’s, which lowers the percentage and shoots 85%+ from the line, which improves his overall efficiency). The second is, do they have ANYONE who can get a bucket inside? Larry Sanders is averaging 8.8 ppg, and he is theie leading scoring big man. They have gotten surprisingly little from Ersan Ilyasova and next to nothing from Samuel Dalembert and rookie John Henson. I am not convinced this team is balanced enough to be a legit playoff team.
Meanwhile, Charlotte has been getting great balance and sharing the ball far better than imagined. They have six guys in double figures and Brendan Haywood averaging close to 8 ppg. Michael Kidd-Gilchrest has added some defensive toughness and unselfishness and Byron Mullens has developed into a quality NBA bigman.
I’m looking forward to watching two of the most gifted young point guards in the NBA tonight in Brandon Jennings and Kemba Walker. I am giving the edge to Charlotte at home tonight. I never thought I’d be writing a “Charlotte looks great, I love them!” column, but here it is. They are every bit as good as Milwaukee and they are getting five points at home. Give me the Bobcats with the points, and I like them straight up as well if you want to get a little better payout.
Free Pick: Charlotte Bobcats +5