After a week off, the NBA is finally back in action tonight, and we hit the court running with a pair of excellent matchups between the Cavs and Bulls and Spurs and Clippers. But the talk of the day and morning will all be focused around things happening OFF the court, namely the rapidly approaching trade deadline.
Rumors have been flying for weeks; Kevin Love, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin. And so far…. Tobias Harris and Brandon Jennings have been traded. Now it is possible that after hitting “post” I will look like a fool when a blockbuster deal gets consecrated, but quite possibly, this trade deadline will be like most in the NBA; a lot of bluster about what turns out to be very little…
Let’s see if we can start off the stretch run in the NBA in style, by picking up a nice win to launch us into the weekend and into the final two months of the NBA regular season.
Today’s Free Pick:
Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers -12
The rumors around Kevin Love have the potential to be dividing and distracting, but there is a really good chance that by the time this game tips off, all the drama will be in the rear view mirror and Kevin Love will still be a Cavalier with nothing immediately looming to change that fact.
Meanwhile, who KNOWS who will be suiting up for Chicago tonight. Jimmy Butler, Nicola Mirotic and Joakim Noah definitely won’t. All are injured. And, likely partially because of the rash of injuries, Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson are both on the trading block. Is it possible you will see a lineup without ANY of the five previously mentioned players in uniform? If so, it’ll be interesting – but likely ugly.
Even if the Bulls stand pat on roster moves, they are dreadfully shorthanded and will have a tough time competing with a healthy and rested Cavaliers squad. Chicago has given up over 110 points per game in their last seven outings, and I imagine they will have trouble defending an improved Cleveland offense with their very thin bench tonight.
I am not generally wild about laying double digit spreads, but this game has blowout written all over it. Look for Cleveland to run all over Chicago and start the stretch run to the playoffs with a loud notice they are the overwhelming favorite and the team to beat in the East.
Free Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers -12