We got back on the winning track last night with Memphis dispatching an injury riddled-OKC team playing without Kevin Durant. The game went almost exactly as prescribed, except for the startling efficiency of Russell Westbrook against Mike Conley. Defending a guy like Westbrook isn’t any one person’s responsibility, but I was surprised to see him score as efficiently as he did last night (40 points on just 19 FG attempts). Thankfully Mario Chalmers was there to provide offense (not a typo) for Memphis, notching 29-points in just 23 minutes off the bench. Could he be poised for a career-transition into more of a Jamal Crawford role as opposed to a borderline starting point guard?
In the meanwhile, we will try to keep things rolling tonight on a good NBA slate. Between the Tip-Off College Hoops Marathon and the NBA slate tonight, it is enough to make any good hoops fan call in sick to work tomorrow and to spend a bleary-eyed 24 hours in front of four televisions…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Cleveland Cavaliers -4 at Detroit Pistons
It turns out being REALLY bad a shooting the basketball IS a detriment to NBA teams. I warned people about the fool’s gold that was Detroit’s 5-1 start, especially after they were 2-0 without shooting over 38% from the floor. It has come to ugly fruition. I think they are in store for more anguish tonight against a far superior and more efficient Cavaliers team. You simply can’t miss 60% of your shots and win consistently, even if Andre Drummond is on pace for the best rebounding season since Wilt Chamberlain’s 1971 campaign. (Though, Drummond does have a MILLION offensive bricks to collect).
Cleveland can best be described as “tangentially interested” so far in their 2015 season. Yet, they are still 8-2 and off to the best ten-game start in LeBron James’s career. The Cavaliers are a far more efficient offensive ballclub, fourth in the league in offensive efficiency to Detroit’s abysmal 27th. Their effective FG% is five full points higher than Detroit’s, and defensively, they STILL outrank Detroit at 7th to the Pistons’ 10th.
The game is in Detroit, which keeps the line tight, but I think Cleveland’s offensive efficiency earns them the win and the cover. Detroit started hot but has quickly regressed to the mean that can be expected for an NBA team that so struggles to score. Look for LeBron and a rested Cavaliers team to handle their business against a divisional foe and get the win and cover tonight in Motown.