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Grizzlies vs. Sixers Pick NBA – November 23rd

We notched a third straight NBA winner last night with the Knicks winning the game in the final three minutes to move their record to .500 (and in early playoff position) and to keep OUR record far better than that at a robust 62% ATS on the season.

Elsewhere, Swaggy P notched an impressive steal last night – picking off a pass designated for teammate Lou Williams with seven seconds to go – and promptly launching a game-winning three pointer to beat the Thunder.  It was a WEIRD (and supremely ‘Lakers’) way to win, but a W is a W, and the Lake Show is now 8-7, a record mirroring the Thunder.  I am still waiting for a regression to the mean at some point, but there is no denying that Luke Walton was more than a babysitter last year for the Dubs.  That dude can COACH.

The NBA schedule is PACKED tonight with 13 games as nearly everyone is in action with tomorrow being a rare dead day in the NBA.  So, consider this an early ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ to all my American friends (not that we don’t love everyone else, just, ya know, you guys don’t do ‘Thanksgiving’ tomorrow).

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Today’s Free Pick:

Memphis Grizzlies -4.5 at Philadelphia 76’ers

This is an interesting game.  Philly has looked good lately, winning three straight home games and winning two games in a row overall for the first time in more than a year and a half.  Memphis has won five straight games overall and suddenly LOOKS like the team that went to the conference finals a few years back.

So what gives tonight?

I’ll lean Memphis for one big reason – strength of schedule.

Both teams are equally rested, so fatigue isn’t a factor.  The main factor is looking at WHO these teams beat in their recent successes.  Philly has taken down Miami, Phoenix, and Washington, three of the five or six worst teams in the league.  Meanwhile, Memphis has beaten Charlotte, The Clippers and Utah – ALL on the road, as well as dismantling Minnesota by holding them to 73 points.  Emotionally, I STILL don’t like this Memphis team.  I think they have SO many holes offensively and question how much longer they can keep getting big minutes from Marc Gasol, Randolph and Vince Carter and how much longer they can expect Mike Conley to score nearly 20 points a game.  But, they DO have Chandler Parsons returning soon to bolster a smart, savvy, veteran team.

I don’t think Memphis is as good as they’ve looked last week.  But I also don’t think Philly is QUITE ready to beat teams on the level of the Grizz on a regular basis.  I’ve been a big Philly guy this season, backing them on a few occasions with success even straight-up as underdogs.  But I think the lines have finally caught up with them.  Prior to their three-game win streak, this is probably an 8 or 9 point line.  That feels more appropriate.

I’ll take Memphis to keep on rolling tonight and trust this veteran team, with an off day looming, not to overlook a “lesser” opponent on the road.

Free Pick:  Memphis Grizzlies -4.5