LeBron James should have brought rent money last night, because it seems the San Antonio Spurs own him. He is one Ray Allen-miracle away from having been thrice vanquished by the “boring” troops from San Antonio, and though not always the fault of James, the Spurs got him once again last night in Cleveland. San Antonio edged the Cavs 92-90 in what many predict to be a Finals preview, though it is fair to say the Cavs have a LONG WAY to go still and San Antonio has an insane minefield to manage in the West – IF that was a preview, we should be in for a really enjoyable Finals.
It hasn’t been the start I’m, or you all, have been looking for to my 2014 NBA campaign. It’s been one of my rougher stretches in five seasons, but alas it is a long season and there will be some more peaks and valleys. However, it is time to get a nice positive run to level the early season results.
It’s a slim slate tonight with only the two TNT national games to choose from, so which one has an advantage to exploit? Let’s dive inside some numbers for today’s free pick.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Chicago Bulls at Sacramento Kings -1 (Total: 196)
Something has to give tonight. The Bulls are perfect on the road this season, boasting a 6-0 record with impressive wins at the Clippers and Toronto. Sacramento is 7-4 ATS and already owns wins against the Clippers, Spurs, Suns and Blazers.
The Kings have been a tricky team to wager so far this season. They snapped a 14-game winless streak against the Spurs despite being home underdogs. Then, in a great national showcase game, the stumble through a 15-point third quarter in a home loss to the Pelicans. So which team do we get tonight against Chicago?
I can see the Kings struggling with their offense for two main reasons. One, they are not the most efficient team to begin with. For all of the splendor of Rudy Gay, he is still a career low-40’s FG% guy whose shot selection and focus have come into question for most of his college and NBA career. Secondly, outside of Gay and Cousins, the Kings don’t have a bonafide reliable third scoring option. Their third scorer is Darren Collison, a nice player, but not a guy you can/want to count on for 15.1 ppg. especially shooting at a 42% clip. Outside of that, it is a hodgepodge of Ben Maclemore, Omri Caspii, Carl Landy and Jason Thompson.
The last, and most important reason their offense could sputter tonight is the Chicago defense. They haven’t smothered teams in the points department as much as in years past, but their 42.9% FG allowed is better than league average, and on the road they’ve been even better at 41.4%.
I lean Bulls tonight, but I like the UNDER 196 even more. The Bulls jump shots may not travel all the way west, but you can bet their tough defense will. Both teams have rest, so expect effort to be high, especially in a nationally televised game. But with the status of Derek Rose, Pau Gasol and Rudy Gay all suspect for tonight’s game, I expect both offenses to take a hit.