Celtics vs. Magic Pick NBA – January 31st

The three best teams in the NBA all had interesting nights yesterday. The Golden State Warriors needed a Draymond Green three pointer with a second remaining to get past the lowly Sixers in Philadelphia. The oddest part of the game was that Philadelphia, who was getting routed, outscored the Dubs 33-16 in the final frame to make things FAR more interesting than anyone expected.

Meanwhile, things are also getting interesting in San Antonio and Cleveland, for very different reasons. The Spurs, who just a week ago were flirting with the greatest plus/minus differential in the history of the NBA, have now been blown out of the gym twice this week after Cleveland’s destruction last night. Yes, the Spurs miss Tim Duncan, but getting housed by the other two title contenders in the same week is a sign of unexpected vulnerability for the four-time champs. For the Cavaliers, the blowout win and the hot start for Kevin Love were good signs that things may be looking up under new coach Tyron Lue. They are now 4-1 under the new leadership and back to obvious Eastern Conference front runner status.

We notched a winner last night, though having a big underdog extended to overtime is always nerve-wracking (see last night’s college tough-luck losing pick). However, the Nuggets still covered the spread with room to spare despite the extra frame. Let’s see if we can end the week with a second straight winner.

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Today’s Free Pick:           

Boston Celtics -4.5 at Orlando Magic

Talk about two teams heading in opposite directions. Brad Stevens Celtic’s have surged, despite a less-than-dominant roster, winning five in a row and eight of their last ten. They have recorded wins over the Bulls, Pacers and a pair of road wins over the Wizards and the two losses were close, at Toronto and at Dallas. They enter tonight at 27-21, and 4-1 ATS in their last five contests.

Orlando, on the other hand, enters ice cold. The once-promising season now looks headed for their annual ping-pong ball postseason dreams thanks to their current eight game losing streak which includes four losses to non-playoff teams and a home loss to Philadelphia. They have failed to cover in their last five games and have failed to cover in five of six recent home games. In short, it’s gotten really bad in Orlando and I don’t think they snap out of it tonight.

Boston is a good road team at 13-11 and are on the same amount of rest as Orlando, as they played each other last two nights ago, a decisive home win for Boston. Home court has a funny way of swinging the pendulum in NBA games, but with so many other factors of rest and health even, I like Boston to continue their winning ways and for the Magic to keep sputtering.

Free Pick: Boston Celtics -4.5