Our five game NBA winning streak was snapped Monday, but we rebounded nicely with a pair of wins last night as Cleveland wore down the Pistons in the second half to win and cover on the road (their 17th win in 19 games) and Steph Curry gave the ankle a go – and dropped 32 points – to notch a win and cover at reeling Washington.
But the biggest story in the NBA, and in the sports world, was the sad news that Derek Rose would once again need (likely) season ending surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Rose, who has lost the better part of the last three season since his MVP Award-winning season, had just been approaching his former explosiveness and productivity. Now, he once again heads to the bench in a suit and tie, and the Bulls championship aspirations likely head to the bench alongside their former MVP.
I had some skepticism prior to the season about Chicago around this very concern. The analogy I often used with Rose was Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill – two players who looked like Hall of Famers in the first few years of their career, only to become role players for most of the next decade after debilitating injury after debilitating injury. I hope I’m wrong, but sadly, it looks like this is the same trajectory for Derek Rose…
Let’s move on to happier things and see if we can notch an eighth winner in nine tries.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets -3.5
Things just don’t get any easier for the Clips these days. Their four game winning streak was snapped by a resilient Memphis team two night ago, and now they head right back to the grind with a game at Memphis. They have maintained success even without Blake Griffin, but as they keep on facing top-tier competition, you have to expect an eventual regression to the mean and some struggles.
Meanwhile, Houston continues to be that team that remains right in the mix for home court in the first round of the Playoffs, but feels like the one team people aren’t quite sold on. I think this line is pretty indicative of that sentiment. A legit top-tier team playing at home facing a team without its best player would usually be a bigger favorite. Perhaps the fact that Dwight Howard is also out (though the Rockets are 9-4 without him) balances things in Vegas’s eyes.
Houston is 18-10 ATS at home. The Clippers are 10-16 ATS on the road. That’s nearly a 33% difference, which is pretty staggering considering most NBA teams fall within 5% points of .500.
The Rockets have dropped six of their last seven to the Clippers, but I think tonight they and the red-hot James Harden turn things around at home and notch the win.