A couple quick thoughts from around the NBA before we get into today’s free pick:
** We kind of got hosed on last night’s Memphis game. That was a wild finish to the game with missed free throws, game-tying shots rimming out, and a really bad missed travel call on the Blazers. Alas, when the game is that close, you should have bet a game with a better line, so shame on me, and I take my loss with only slight grumbling.
** Don’t tell me emotion doesn’t matter in the NBA. You don’t think Jimmy Butler’s 1 for 13 abomination last night had ANY thing to do with being benched and the stench of drama that hovers over the Chicago Bulls?
** Who will be the fifth player on the floor with the Warriors in the All Star Game when Coach Kerr plays all four Dubs together (as he has said he will). And how much would you pay for it to be Russell Westbrook? OMG that would be freaking fantastic television.
** LeBron has been whining. A lot. The media has been covering with bated breath. And none of it matters. The Cavs are winning the East if you or I are their backup point guard. It literally makes no damn difference.
We are overdue for a winner. We had a nice run with a perfect 7-0 week and an 12-2 two weeks. This week has been empty so far (including an off-day). Let’s remedy this situation pronto.
Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors -12.5
Little John might ask “turn down for what!!?” in the promo, and here’s the answer: “turn down for a great rivalry that is completely watered down tonight because Chris Paul isn’t playing and it is going to be a straight butt-kicking.” It doesn’t flow as poetically in the commercial, but it is the most accurate assessment.
I’d lay close to twenty tonight. The Dubs are going to pummel them tonight. They are markedly better, they are at home, and they enjoy the spotlight of ABC primetime. And do not underestimate the animosity that has simmered between these two teams over the years. I doubt the Warriors will feel bad for the shorthanded Clippers tonight and pump the brakes.
A lot of the advanced metrics are less relevant tonight because the Clippers stats include Chris Paul for most of the positive successes. Stats aren’t really needed to make the simple analysis; with Chris Paul the Clippers are really good. Without him, they are pretty lousy.
Tonight they play the best team in the NBA, and I don’t expect it to go well.