It’s a light slate Monday in the NBA with only three games on the schedule. We can only hope one of them is even close to as good as the Miami @ Portland OT thriller last night. The Big 3 combined for 96 points as the Heat surged back late to force overtime, then win in the extra frame.
Diehard NBA fans will be watching the scoreboard tonight, but everyone else will be watching the wire to see if long-rumor Carmello Anthony will finally be traded. Latest reports have him, along with Chauncey Billups and three other players being shipped to New Jersey in a blockbuster three-way deal. If that trade were to happen, it significantly remodels the East. It could also make for some interesting jockeying for playoff position, as the Nets have dug themselves so sizable a hole, even if they were to play .750 ball after the trade they’s likely climb no higher than 7th in the standings. That makes for a rather unpleasant prize for the East’s second best record…
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Today’s Free NBA Picks:
Memphis -2.5 @ Charlotte (Total: 192.5)
Very quietly Memphis has turned into a quality ballclub. They’d be a sure-fire playoff team in the East, but unfortunatly for Memphis (and anyone with a map…) they are in the Western Conference.
Memphis turned some heads last week when they beat down the Lakers in LA, and they’ve been playing pretty consistent ball. Both Zac Randolf and Rudy Gay have been averaging over 25 ppg in the past five contests, and have favorable matchups at their positions tonight with the Bobcats.
Charlotte appears to be infused with a little energy after replacing former coach Larry Brown (who guided them to their only playoff appearance in franchise history) with Paul Silas. According to Stephen Jackson, the change is for the best, complaining about Coach Brown’s slow-down style. It sounds to me like an easy shift of blame to explain this season’s dismal start after emerging as a playoff team last season.
The records are similar, but Memphis is a much better team playing much better basketball. I like the Grizz laying only the two on the road.
Free Pick: Memphis -2.5
Detroit @ Chicago -9.5 (Total: 190)
Chicago is as hot as any team in the league right now, and point guard Derrick Rose is having an MVP caliber season. Detroit, quite simply, is a mess. After clearing out cap space in hopes of being a player in the 2010 Free Agent bonanza, they were left pretty barron after swinging and missing completely in the off-season.
Rip Hamilton is aging rapidly, Tayshaun Prince is unhappy and they brought back Ben Wallace. What they should have brought back was a time machine. That’s the only way they are competitive with this roster…
Detroit is among the league’s worst teams in terms of point differential per game, and they are even more abysmal away from home. The Bulls do face the potential let-down game after the emotional Boston win, but I still think Chicago dismisses them pretty summarily tonight and covers the 10-point spread.
Free Pick: Chicago -9.5