We are three weeks into the NBA season, and a few trends are starting to emerge as the good teams separate themselves from the bad. The bad teams are tipping their hands more obviously. In the West, it’s going to be a long season for the Timberwolves (now without Rubio), Lakers (obviously), and the Nuggets who are an absolute defensive disaster. They gave up 130 points at home to Portland last night despite Portland calling off the dogs and scoring only 19 points in the 4th. They scored 84 points in the FIRST HALF and probably could have tallied 150 if they had any intention of embarrassing their opponent.
Meanwhile, the East is shaking out about as expected; Toronto and Washington appear to be worthy second-tier contenders, Miami has potential but is still inconsistent (how do you lose at home to Indiana??) and Philadelphia will win a game. At some point…
So will we. It’s be a nightmare week, but it is a long season, and our sixth covering NBA for thesportsgeek. It’s never fun to go through a winless stretch, so let’s get back to some fundamentals and try to couple a pair of winners tonight.
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Today’s Free Picks:
Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors -2.5 (Total: 195)
The Bulls reputation is built around their defensive identity; tough, gritty and sometimes ugly, the blue-collar Bulls will smother you on the defensive end. Or will they? They are allowing 98.4 points per game and the total has gone OVER in five of seven games and just missed by a single point in another. The point is, this team is good but not as dominant on the defensive end as their reputation indicates.
They will especially have their hands full tonight with the high-scoring Raptors. Toronto averages 107 points a game and outscores opponents by more than 10 points on average. The interesting thing is that they shoot 45.2% as a team yet they ALLOW 46% shooting. They are also similar on rebound margin. So where is the point discrepancy generated? With their turnover-causing defense which forces 17.2 T.O. per game.
I like both teams to get out and score some points tonight in a fun ballgame between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Is Toronto really a legit conference champion contender? We will get a nice glimpse tonight.
Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors -9 (Total: 206)
This game should have some points on the board as well. Both teams average a shade over 104 points scored per game. The Nets are on the back end of a back-to-back, so they could be a little sloppy offensively but if their shots are awry or their ballhandling sloppy, it should lead to run outs and open looks for the high-powered Warriors.
For my bonus pick, I’ll take this one to also hit the OVER on a high scoring NBA night.