We got back on track with an NBA winner last night as the Kings held the depleted Bulls to just 88 points and their first road loss of the season. The point total stayed under with some room to spare as the Kings notched a much-needed home win to keep their slightly unexpected hot start rolling. Meanwhile, the Clippers appear to finally be playing the kind of basketball their fans (and I) expected, notching back-to-back blowout road wins in Orlando and Miami. With they and the Spurs both rounding into form and the Grizzlies, Mavs, Rockets and Warriors looking awesome, the West is getting better and better every day.
It’s a packed Friday night slate of action highlighted by the Wizards and the return of Bradley Beal hosting the 5-5 Cavaliers in an important statement game for both teams. Are the Wizards really ready to contend for the Eastern Conference crown? Or will the King simply smack them back down? Also worth watching is Milwaukee vs. Toronto. The Bucks have been WAY better than expected and Jabari Parker is starting to look like a possible franchise guy (no, his numbers aren’t there yet, but his play is getting better every game). It’s a great chance for the Bucks to signify they are a playoff contender ahead of schedule.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Boston Celtics at Memphis Grizzlies -6.5 (Total: 199)
The Celtics have been decent for second-year coach Brad Stevens, but are they really ready to go into Memphis and hand the Grizzlies their first home loss of the season? I don’t see it.
The concern for Memphis is a nasty stomach flu that has been ripping through the entire team. There are no fewer than seven players listed as “questionable” for tonight’s game with flu symptoms. The good news is that none of them are named Conley, Randolph or Gasol. The bad news is that their depth could be suspect and that elite defense spearheaded by Tony Allen could be severaly limited, bot in depth and energy.
Memphis has won every matchup against Boston dating back to 2012 but only one win was by more than seven points (10 point margin). Also, none of those wins have come with their entire team sick and being hospitalized for dehydration and vomiting their guts out. Look for Boston to keep it close tonight. I’ll take them with the 6.5 point cushion.