We notched an easy NBA winner last night with Milwaukee cruising at home, easily beating the Detroit Pistons who shot a dreadful 34% from the floor including 6 of 28 from distance. I’ve written it a bunch this season, but sooner or later, regardless of how other-worldly Andre Drummond is on the glass, you have to be able to score efficiently to win NBA basketball games. Until Detroit figures that out, it is hard to see them as a legitimate playoff team.
I messed up yesterday and had the line backwards; it seemed baffling that Detroit would actually be favored in Milwaukee by two – so in my column I was giving away four too many points. As it turned out, it was an easy winner at any price, but still my apologies for the oversight. I wasn’t even a typo. I think my brain just refused to see the line as posted out of disbelief…
Alas, let’s keep it rolling tonight and grab another winner. Two of the league’s most pleasant surprises hit the road tonight as slight underdogs facing underachieving conference foes when Indiana head to Washington and Dallas heads to Memphis. Can either keep the good times rolling? I’m not taking either, but either winning would be a HUGE statement about their legitimacy – both games are worth a watch.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Chicago Bulls -3 at Portland Trailblazers (Total: 200.5)
The Bulls have been very good this season. They are 8-4 and one of their losses was a late capitulation at Golden State. Prior to that, they had reeled off four straight victories and have held opponents under 100 points in seven straight games. They aren’t the vintage clutch and grab Bulls, but they are beginning to defend more willingly and the wins have predictably followed.
Meanwhile, Portland’s overall record is decent at 6-9, but after a 4-2 start, they are just 2-7 in their last nine games. They have regressed to the expected, and as I wrote preseason, I still expect this team to be one of the two or three bottom teams in the West. They have won two straight games, an impressive won over the Golden State-hungover Clippers and a win over the Lakers. Tonight they get a rested and healthy top-tier team, so I expect they will find a much stiffer challenge tonight.
The Blazers have won seven straight home games against the Bulls dating back to 2007, but this is probably the biggest talent disparity between the two teams in that time frame, and certainly the most lopsided it has been in the Blazers favor. I like Chicago to get the road win tonight and am happy to lay just a slim three points.