It’s a sad day in the NBA with the passing of Knicks legend Anthony Mason. Anyone who grew up loving the NBA in the 90’s remembers Mase as an integral part of the great New York/Chicago and New York/Indiana rivalries. Mason was just 48 years old.
Elsewhere in the NBA, a few teams with designs on playoff runs snapped tough slides last night. The Wizards FINALLY got a win, this time over the Pistons and the Spurs let loose some pent up frustration in a complete embarrassment of the Phoenix Suns out in the desert. Is it a sign that things are going to get back to normal for these two talented ballclubs, or just a nice night?
And lastly, we took just our second loss (9-2 ATS) since the All Star Game with Atlanta winning in Miami but allowing the cover to slip away late by allowing 38 points in the fourth quarter. It’s still been a pretty good second half run, but it’s never fun to give away a close game that looked like it was going to cash in as a winner.
Let’s get back on track today and see if we can end the week with a Sunday matinee winner.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets +1.5
The Cavaliers had won 18 of 20 before giving LeBron the night off and dropping Friday’s game in Indiana. He should be well rested for his nationally televised showdown with another player on his MVP hit-list, James Harden. We saw how LeBron responded to the “Steph Curry is the MVP” talk in Thursday’s performance against the Warriors. All LBJ did was put up a 42/11/5 line in a double-digit win. Don’t be surprised if he comes out with a similar vengeance today.
The Cavaliers have won six straight games against Western Conference playoff contenders, but Houston has been a difficult place for them, having lost seven straight in Houston. Of course, LeBron wasn’t there for most of those, so take the stat for what it’s worth. The biggest factor for me this afternoon is the health of Kyrie Irving. He has been ruled out of Sunday’s game which removed a huge cog from the Cavalier offense.
Houston has won four straight games and has been very good at home this season, posting a 22-8 record. Cleveland has struggled on the road, just a game over .500 with a 15-14 mark. I think Cleveland may very well be the best team in the NBA right now. But going on the road without your second best player against another excellent team is a lot to ask. I’ll take the two points and the Rockets at home today.