Our brief winning streak came boogieing to a close last night thanks to Boogie and his triple-double. The Kings and Mavs played a double overtime thriller, eventually won by the Mavs but not by enough points to cover the relatively slim spread. Alas, we will get back after it tonight and see if we can start a winning streak anew.
Meanwhile, so much for Steph being hurt and nursing an injury, huh? Curry was dressed and on the floor for the second time in two nights, throwing in a pedestrian (for him) 17 points in just 26 minutes as the Warriors cruised to the best record through 35 games in NBA history at 33-2. Even better news is that Harrison Barnes is back and rounding into playing shape, upping his minutes to 23 last night, a number that will likely increase after a few days off before the Dubs get back to action. They seem to have weathered the injury bug with only the ugly loss at Dallas to blemish the record. It is now time to seriously and legitimately consider that 72 wins is not only within their sites, but feeling more and more likely. The question now is what is unrealistic? 76? 74?
The NBA is back in full swing tonight with eleven games to choose from. So let’s dive in with tonight free pick.
Today’s Free Pick:
Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder -6.5
It’s become pretty fashionable to throw dirt on the aging grave of the Grizzlies, and to be fair, they earned a lot of skepticism with their shaky play in 2015. However, lately, they have shown flashes of returning to their former selves. They have been a top-five defense since Dec 14th, holding teams to just 92.5 points per game over that stretch. One would think that would matter little facing the high octane Thunder on their home floor tonight. After all, the Thunder average 108.5 points per game, a number that swells to 109.7 at home. However there is one problem.
Those numbers assume a healthy Kevin Durant, and that is not the case for tonight. The Thunder are a different team without the former MVP, as evidenced by their last outing, a 116-104 home loss to the Kings.
Durant is officially OUT of this game yet. That is my quick disclaimer. It’s worth keeping an eye on as the day progresses, but most of what I have read indicates it is unlikely he suits up tonight. Even if he does, getting six and a half with the stingy Grizzlies and a certainly-slowed KD isn’t a terrible value.
The Thunder are just 3-4 without Durant this season. They are 21-4 with him. BIG difference.
Meanwhile, the Grizz have covered three of their last four and are playing pretty good defensive basketball once again; getting back to their roots and their calling card. Look for them to defend well tonight and to give the Thunder a stern battle.