We squeaked out an overtime cover last night as the Pacers came to life in the extra period and finally vanquished the visiting Mavericks. But the biggest story of the night HAD to be the opening night performance for the ages from Anthony Davis. If you had him in a daily fantasy league, you are probably counting your money this morning as the fourth-year star went for 50 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists, 7 steals and 4 blocks. Simply ridiculous. Even MORE ridiculous?? The fact that despite quite possibly the best statistical game any person will record this ENTIRE season, the Pelicans still lost at home to a team (Denver) that probably won’t even make the playoffs…
A few others shined last night across The Association. Joel Embiid’s long anticipated and delayed debut was an excellent one. He went for 20 and 7 with a pair of blocks in just 22 minutes of action. Philadelphia was competitive to the final minute against OKC before Russell Westbrook, who was just an assist shy of a triple-double, took over and closed the game. Meanwhile James Harden was excellent with 34/8/17 assists in a somewhat surprising road loss to the Lakers who got excellent games from the young trio of Russell, Randle and Clarkson who combined for 63 points on 24 of 39 shooting.
Let’s see if we can make it a 3-0 ATS start to the NBA season.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Boston Celtics -1.5 at Chicago Bulls (Total: 210.5)
It is a little early in the season to start worrying about schedule and fatigue, but it is still worth noting that this is the back-end of a road back to back for the Boston Celtics while the Bulls will be making their season debut and are at home, well rested.
The Bulls will look far different this season without Pau Gasol and Derek Rose and the additions of Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo. I’d weight the trades as fairly neutral. Gasol is the best player of the four, but losing Rose is probably a blessing, and I’m not sure Rondo will have a large impact on the season. The loss of Gasol hurts, but it does open up minutes for Nicola Mirotic, a promising offensive stretch-four that fits the new up-tempo offense that Fred Hoiberg hopes to employ.
I’m not sure the Bulls are built for the long haul with the age and injury history to their new additions, but Jimmy Butler is fully healthy and ready to make the leap to Top Ten player. IF he can do that successfully, I think the Bulls have enough shooting in McDermott and Mirotic to stretch the floor and be an above average offensive team on most nights.
Boston looked good in their opener. Isaiah Thomas was fantastic, and continues to be perhaps the most underrated point guard in the NBA and the Celtics have great depth an balance and are finally anchored on the interior with the signing of Al Horford. The Celtics could very well be the second best team in the East this season, but I am still not ready to lay points on the second game of a back-to-back and on the road against a competent opponent. It should be a good game tonight, but I’ll take the Bulls on their home floor providing DWade with a nice welcome to Chicago.