It’s time to take the Cleveland Cavaliers seriously (just in case you are still in the stubborn minority still waiting to see more evidence). They won their 12th straight last night (and notched a winner for us) and they did so in dominating fashion against a very good Western Conference team. The Clippers didn’t play their best (or most composed game) getting down big early and racking up four technical fouls in the process. The final score doesn’t do this game justice. Cleveland led by 20 to 30 most of the game and got some valuable rest for all their starters (and many key reserves) for the entire fourth quarter.
The rest should come in handy tonight on the backend of a back-to-back in Indianapolis. After tonight there next two games are home against the Lakers and Heat, so they could very well be sitting on a 15 game winning streak heading into February 12th’s trip to Chicago…
Meanwhile, under the radar are the Memphis Grizzlies and their eight game winning streak. This team is scary now that they’ve added the offensive punch of Jeff Green – and done so without sacrificing their defensive identity as Green is a plus-defender. It’s really premature to leap this far ahead, but a Western Conference Finals between them and Golden State would be such a delightful contrast of styles it would be a blast to watch…
Let’s string together some wins and build on last night’s easy Cavs winner.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Cleveland Cavaliers -6 at Indiana Pacers
The Pacers have been tough and resilient all year, and have arguably done more with less than any other team in the league. If they can tread water for three or four more weeks and legitimately get Paul George back in the lineup, it isn’t inconceivable they somehow slide into the playoffs.
But Paul George ain’t suiting up tonight, and Lance Stevenson is in Carolina, so I don’t see any answers for LeBron, who will enjoy a much less stressful trip to Bankers Life than in previous seasons. The Cavalier are simply cruising right now. They aren’t just winning games, they are beating the hell out of people. That Clippers game was an absolute decimation of a Top 5-10 team in the NBA. They have covered 8 of 10, and the two non-covers were by a few points in easy wins against Phily and Detroit with huge lopsided lines to surmount.
I think Cleveland rolls tonight. The Pacers would be an easy team to overlook on short rest but I think LeBron has a vivid enough picture of how tough this arena has been for him to let his team sleepwalk away an easy win. Don’t be surprised if LeBron and Kyrie are relaxing on the bench in the fourth quarter again tonight.
I don’t like picking the same team in the column on back to back nights, but I am to win wagers more than to entertain… so once again, we are drinking from the Cavs well until it shows some signs of running dry.