We made it 10 of 12 with NBA picks, thanks in no small part to LeBron’s struggles from the free throw line. LeBron was otherwise awesome in his personal quest to vanquish all potential MVP rivals, but Jams Harden matched him step for step and got one additional step on him, the all-important win. Houston continues to roll along, despite an injury nearly as prominent as some other team’s whose health woes are foremost in every mention of their team; Thunder, Clippers, etc – woe is me! But the Rockets lose Howard? They don’t even miss a beat. I’m not sure I’m ready to put them alongside the Warriors and Grizz quite yet, but there can be no denying James Harden’s MVP validity after yesterday’s performance.
Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook missed yesterday’s game with one of the most disgusting sunken cheek injuries I’ve ever seen. The Thunder still beat the Lakers in LA, but its good no that despite how gross that injury looked that Westbrook will be back quickly to resume his all-out assault on the NBA.
Let’s start this week like we ended the last, with some winners.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Clippers -4.5 at Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves have been a different team since Ricky Rubio got healthy and Andrew Wiggins started looking like one of the most promising rookies in a while. They are 5-5 over their last ten games straight-up and have covered six of their last nine games.
Meanwhile, the Clippers are still without Blake Griffin. But is it that big of a deal? They won again yesterday, this time in Chicago, and have now won six of their last eight games with wins over the Bulls, Grizzlies, Spurs, Rockets and Mavs. Are they better without Blake? Of course not. But they can certainly survive and even hold their playoff position.
I’ve been big on the Wolves lately, seeing them as a team with an undervalued Vegas line. However, if you look at their 5-5 record over their last ten games, aside from the odd win over the Grizzlies, their only win over a legit playoff team was against the bottoming-out Wizards. They have lost three of their last four and have shot just 40.7% from the floor. If they shoot that poorly tonight against LAC, they won’t be able to sneak out the win or the cover.
I’m going to ride with the Clippers, even on the backend of a back to back. The game yesterday was nice and early, so they have a hidden half-day of rest. They are strong defensively on the interior with DeAndre Jordan owning the paint and the boards.
I’ll take the Clippers to not overlook an improving Wolves team and get the win on the road.