Grizzlies vs. Pacers Pick – February 24th

Last night was EXACTLY why I was a big fan of the “wait and see” approach to the new-look New Orleans Pelicans.  Anthony Davis and Boogie Cousins appear to fit together very well.  Both scored and rebounded at an elite level, combining for an evenly-distributed 56 points and 23 boards.  But the Pelicans still have no backcourt, their rotation depth is even worse than before, and they got SMOKED by 30 points at home against Houston.

Meanwhile, out in Sacramento, Willey Cauley Stein – for one night at least – did a great job of making Vlade Divac look a lot smarter.  The young big man had a career-high with 29 points and 10 rebounds and newly-acquired Buddy Hield threw in 16 in his Kings debut.  It’s just a one-game sample size, but it does lessen the immediate sting for Kings fans who thought the franchise got fleeced for their best (and only) tradeable asset.

We got a pretty fortunate win last night as the Pistons needed a 30-15 fourth quarter to force overtime and eventually won by six in overtime (we were laying four).  It’s a nice break, but hey, we’ve had a few go the other way this season too – them’s the breaks sometimes in this biz – but I a at least wise enough to tip my cap to the favor from the gambling gods…

Today’s NBA Pick:

Memphis Grizzlies -1 at Indiana Pacers

Two teams that could have rolled the dice and made blockbuster moves yesterday both stood relatively stable and will instead resume their post-deadline work in NBA purgatory.  Neither are BAD teams, both are sixth in their respective conferences, yet neither are true contenders either, not in the now and not in the near future.  So it goes for NBA teams in small markets in the middle of the pack – unless you get REALLY bad and win the Draft Lottery, or really lucky and turn multiple mid-round picks in All NBA guys (Pacers have one such break in PG13) you just sort of float in the middle of the pack.

Alas, it is business as usual between two pretty good teams tonight in Indianapolis.

Indiana has been average this season, but excellent at home.  They are 20-10 SU, but just 15-15 ATS.  Memphis is surprisingly good on the road at 16-13 SU, though they are also a pick ‘em ATS at 15-14.  There is no inherent trend edge in the ATS home/road splits.

Here’s a weird stat for you: one would think, “Memphis, old team, better when they get rest” right?  Well, no.  They are a league worst 1-8 ATS with two or more days rest.  It doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it does take away the “well, I’ll lean Memphis since their old guys got a week off” theory.

Instead, we can get back to the simple – Indiana wins two of three games at home.  They are hosting a good, but not great, team tonight, and I think they will also get a little emotional lift from the drama of the trade deadline has finally lifted.  For week, Paul George had to listen to rumors of multiple destinations.  That is now passed, and he can get back to work, being the cornerstone of the franchise that drafted him and resuming their playoff push.  They’ve lost six games in a row and four of their last six at home.  Some of that is that they were a little banged up, some of it is that they’ve played some good teams (Spurs, Cavs twice, Wizards twice) but I think a lot of it was Trade Deadline distractions.

I like Indiana to play well tonight, and when they play well at home, they generally win.  Thaddeus Young is questionable for tonight, which would leave the Pacers a little thin on the frontline – never good when you play a big team like Memphis, but I’ll still ride with the Pacers tonight at home.

Today’s Pick:  Indiana Pacers +1