If the NBA Playoffs were to begin today, the respective top seeds would look exactly the same as last year; Golden State/Houston in the West, Boston in the East. But from there, things get very interesting. Detroit and Orlando occupy the next two spots in the East while Minnesota occupies the third slot in the West. It will be fascinating to see how many of the new emerging upstarts can retain their places over the next few months…
Last night, a team on the other end of the spectrum – the disappointing end – snapped a four game losing streak as the Thunder downed the Clippers. Paul George netted 42 points, easily his best output as a member of the Thunder. Will this be the start of their climb back towards Western Conference contender??
Let’s see if we can become contenders again as well. It’s been a tough week after a really strong one as my hot/cold opening month continues. Time to get cookin’!
Today’s NBA Pick:
Los Angeles Clippers at New Orleans Pelicans -6
I hate to say I told you so, but… This Clippers team isn’t very good. They were one of my strongest fades before the season, and I caught some early flack for it with the Clippers superb start. Yet the early optimism has receded into the reality that their starting backcourt consists of Patrick Beverly and Austin Rivers. They are each shooting under 41% from the field with a combined turnover to assist ratio of just 1.5. It is one of the least efficient, least productive backcourts in the entire NBA.
They have lost four straight games and six of their last seven to fall to 5-6 overall and outside the early playoff picture. Yes, they have lost to some good teams; Golden State, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Detroit, Memphis. But the margin of defeat has been comfortable in many of the games, losing by nine or more in five of the losses.
Now they have to go on the road on the back end of a back-to-back to face a New Orleans team that is playing good basketball. NOLA had won three games in a row, all on the road, before falling 122-118 at Toronto. Now they get a day to rest to return home to face a tired team that can’t shoot. Those are pretty compelling factors in the Pels favor tonight.
I’ll eat the points. I liked this game better at the 4.5 it opened at, but even at 6, I’ll take the rested home team more often than not in most NBA matchups.
Today’s NBA Pick: NEW ORLEANS PELICANS -6