The Fighting Russell Westbrook’s made a valiant stand last night in New Orleans, staging a nice second half comeback to get a potentially season-saving 101-93 win over Anthony Davis and crew to close their lead to just one game. The Suns also fell yesterday, making the eighth playoff spot race in the West increasingly interesting. No Durant? No problem. Westbrook just scored enough for the pair, dropping 45 dominating points to overwhelm the Pels. We took another loss last night, dropping our second in a row for NBA. Losing streaks are never any fun, but hopefully we can right the ship and get back to our winning ways tonight.
First, a quick kudos to the NBA for making the entire Atlanta Hawks starting five the January Eastern Conference Player(s) of the Month. It is an unprecedented move, but so is going 17-0 in a single month. I’m looking forward to seeing if they can maintain this torrid pace for the last three months. Forget the streak, they are 34-3 since Thanksgiving, showing this could very well be more than a nice run and a true Spurs-ian champion.
It’s a light slate in the NBA tonight, but there are a few good watches for sure on TNT. Let’s dive in with today’s free pick and start a new winning streak.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Clippers at Cleveland Cavaliers -4.5 (Total: 207)
It’s been a long time on the road for LAC, who will play their fifth straight road game tonight. They are just 2-2 on the road trip and 1-3 ATS. They have dropped two of their last three including a loss to the lowly Brooklyn Nets.
Meanwhile, Cleveland enters scorching, winners of 11 straight games and absolutely thrashing teams. As great as the Hawks run has been, gun to my head, I think I’d, gasp, lean Cleveland. All things equal, it’s hard to bet against the King. They have beaten Portland, Chicago, OKC and @ Clippers already in the streak, and they should be well-rested tonight having been off for two nights (and their last game was against Philly, so does that even count?).
The key to Cleveland’s run has been a good balanced attack, surprising given their early season woes with sharing the basketball. And they’ve done most of this without Kevin Love playing decent basketball. It’s hard to believe he won’t eventually figure it out and start contributing. When he does, watch out.
This should be a fantastic game tonight; superstars everywhere, two high-level teams from opposite conferences. With the crazy depth of top-tier teams this season – the most I can recall in the modern NBA era – it’s hard to call anything a “Finals Preview.” But with the talent level of both of these respective teams, it isn’t beyond the pale to consider it possible.
For tonight, give me the home team with the momentum. I don’t think the Cavs can stretch it out too too far tonight, but I like them to get just over the five point line tonight to win and cover.