We got back to our winning NBA ways last night, and it was due nothing more than to monitoring some injury reports and projected player availability. Any other night, I’d have liked the Grizzlies against the Cavaliers regardless of the home location. But last night, without Tony Allen and Zach Randolph, it was just too much to overcome and still take down LeBron and company on the road.
The win snapped a brief two game slide and has us back on a nice 6-2 ATS run overall. We will try to keep the good times rolling on into the Christmas Day NBA Celebration with a few more wins as we head into the big day (Christmas Eve is dark, so two days to fatten up the Holiday bankroll…)
Let’s dive in with today’s free picks.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Atlanta Hawks at Dallas Mavericks -4.5
Let’s start with the divergent opinions on the validity of the Mavericks chances to win the West in light of the Rajon Rondo addition. To the folks who are dismissing the move as important, they are way off base. Even if you are down on Rondo, there’s no denying it is a considerable upgrade over Jameer Nelson and a much better defensive matchup as they navigate the point guard minefield that is the West. And to the folks that think this makes the Mavericks the favorite, lest I remind them that the Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, Grizzlies, and Clippers are all still in the West. And the Blazers. And the Rockets. And the…. You get the point. There IS NO favorite in the West right now because you could make a case for eight teams being ready to take the crown.
The truth is somewhere in the middle. The Mavericks are more formidable and have arguably the best starting five in the league now. But it may take a few games for the chemistry experiment to take fold and be a true success. That bodes well for Atlanta tonight. The Hawks have been awesome this month and have won 11 of 12 games. They are playing great defense, and though it will be tested with the Mavs league-leading offense, I expect they can keep the game respectable.
Atlanta has gone on the road and trounced Houston and Cleveland in back-to-back games, without Jeff Teague. He is still listed as questionable tonight but don’t be surprised if he returns with seamless success. Either way, you are getting the hottest team in the NBA and points. That seems like a good deal to me. The Mavericks are 0-5 against teams with better records than them this season. Does Rondo immediately make THAT big of a difference?? I’ll take the cohesive Hawks tonight.