I suppose it is only fair, as often as I’ve buried the Lakers, to give them some well-earned praise. They trailed Golden State (who has been fantastic this season) in Oakland by 13 midway through the fourth quarter last night. Game over, right? Not for the “new-look” Lakers and their youthful 39-year old point guard making his return, Steve Nash. The Lakers stormed back to force overtime, and eventually won the game 118-115.
One game doesn’t cure a season full of ills, but it certainly will fuel the optimism and sense that things are going to be just fine in LA. What a difference a game makes…
Speaking of one game, yesterday’s NBA win pulls us to 60% on the month at thesportsgeek.com with our NBA picks – so let’s keep it going tonight with one more winner before tomorrow’s all-quiet NBA Christmas Eve.
Los Angeles Clippers -6.5 at Phoenix Suns (Total: 196)
The Los Angeles Clippers have already established a new franchise record for consecutive wins and will be try to extend that record to 13 straight games tonight in Phoenix. The team is saying all the right things; the streak is nice and we are pleased, but we are not satisfied. Tonight will be a good litmus test if that in fact is true when they go on the road to play a team they SHOULD beat in a game it would be easy to sleepwalk through; a bad team the day before a little Christmas vacation… it’s a potential trap game for sure. But I am NOT sure that the Clips fall into it.
During their win streak the Clippers have led the league with 10.7 steals per game and are holding opponents to a league-low 88.7 points per contest. It is always a good sign when a winning streak isn’t predicated on hot shooting or an offensive spurt, but rather predicated on a hard-nosed, concerted team defensive effort. With Chris Paul, Eric Beldsoe and Jamal Crawford they have one of the quickest, ball-hawking backcourts in the NBA. The most impressive factor to me is not that this team is getting steals, but the maturity and defensive effort they have gotten all season from former-gunner Jamal Crawford.
This Clipper team is legitimately GOOD. Quite possibly the second best team in the West, behind only OKC. I know they are going to lose some time, but I don’t think it is tonight in Phoenix. Yes, the Suns have won four games in a row at home, but wins over Charlotte and Sacramento are not enough to get me off the Clipper bandwagon.
I like LAC to get the win, as well as cover the six and a half on the road.
Free Pick: Los Angeles Clippers -6.5