We notched another NBA winner last night, albeit slightly assisted by the late afternoon scratch of LeBron James from the Cavaliers lineup. We had the Thunder early, so the line was a more advantageous -2.5. If you got in late after the LeBron announcement, the Thunder still were the victorious side even as the line widened to 7.5. Hopefully you had a winning night.
In other NBA action, the Kings slide without Boogie Cousins continued, this time in gut-wrenching fashion. The dropped a 113-109 game in overtime to the Houston Rockets who soared behind 44 points and 8 assists from James Harden. Makes jokes about his defense all you want (and Foot Locker has done is hilariously well with Harden’s wink-wink playing along) but Harden is a legit First Team All-NBA performer and should be a fringe MVP candidate with the Rockets at 17-5 and rolling along even without fellow All-Star Dwight Howard.
We are back to full-action tonight in the NBA after a light Thursday slate, so a ton of great action to choose from Let’s dive in and start the weekend off with another winning play.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Clippers -2.5 at Washington Wizards
There’s a pretty solid body of work for what happens this season when good teams from the East meet great teams from the West. To the West my brother, to the West. The Wizards are only 5-4 away from home, while the Clippers are a nice 9-2 when travelling. Not to mention the Clippers are on a nine game winning streak and are 7-2 ATS during that span. Oh, and they are also perfectly healthy and one of the most talented and balanced teams in all of basketball.
I like the Wizards. In the East. The Clippers are a legit Finals contender. I like them to go into DC tonight and continue their winning ways. The Clippers are averaging 106.9 points per game and over 111 during their winning streak. Expect some high scoring hoops but a Clippers victory.
Portland Trailblazers at Chicago Bulls -2.5
Same logic applies here. I’m going to go with the Western Conference team in nearly all situations. This matchup is remarkably similar to the one above. The Bulls are a very good team in the East. The Blazers are 17-5 and competing for the best record in the NBA. Just like the game above, the Blazers have a double advantage in margin per game, though both teams scores about the same rate.
Given a slim line, I’m going to side with the West nine times out of ten, even on the road. The disparate records in the respective conference standings exist for a reason; the power is out West and unless the Bulls and Cavs are 100% healthy and playing at their peak, the chasm isn’t even close.
I’ll stay with the West one more time tonight and back the Blazers.