We notched an NBA winner last night with the Raptors covering though not winning outright in San Antonio. The game went pretty much according to plan, and the Raptors were even able to maintain the cover despite 30-plus from BOTH Kawhi and LaMarcus Alderidge in the contest.
Meanwhile, LaMarcus’s former mates in Portland laid a beatdown on the Miami Heat, who continue to scuffle down the stretch, and moved just a half-game back of Memphis (losers of five straight) for the fifth spot in the West. It likely matters little, unless one’s preferred opponent is the Clipper as opposed to the Thunder – both seem like unwinnable series for either team, but it is a nice accomplishment with Damian Lillard and crew nonetheless, as many (me too) had them tabbed as one of the worst team in the NBA heading into this season. Will someone put his guy on the All Star team already??!?
Things get a little tricky for the Blazers tonight though, as they have the unenviable task of completing a back to back IN Golden State as they visit the Warriors fresh off their first home loss in well over a year. The line is 12, and I’m not playing this game, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Golden State unleashed holy hell on the Blazers tonight and absolutely smokes them…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic -4.5
Fading the Grizz has been a pretty certain bet the last few weeks. They are missing basically their entire roster and their reserves aren’t stepping up in any meaningful fashion. They have dropped five straight games, including losses to the Lakers and Nuggets, and have allowed 99 or more points in all of them. Tonight they will once again be without Mike Conley an Mario Chalmers, to add to the already lost for the season Marc Gasol. It’s a skeleton crew to say the least, and the fact this team is even going to the playoffs is a little unfortunate. The window has closed in Memphis, and they don’t even get the solace of a ping-pong ball miracle.
Meanwhile, Orlando has been sneaky dangerous lately. They have won three of their last five games and covered six of seven home games. They are scoring efficiently as well, topping the 110 point mark in three of their last four games. They have won five of their last seven home games straight up, and most importantly, are completely healthy compared to Memphis’s MASH unit.
I like the Magic to win at home and to cover the four point margin with some relative ease. Memphis has won nine of the last ten in this head-to-head matchup, but don’t let that dissuade you – this isn’t Memphis as usual tonight. I’ll take the Magic over the B-Team at home.