It seems like any game we write up turns into a classic the past week. Last night’s featured NBA game was no exception. The Celtics (so much for being “old”) exuded energy for all three overtimes en route to ending the NBA’s longest win streak and beating the Denver Nuggets last night. The win is the Celtics’ seventh straight, all without Rajon Rondo, and things are starting to get real interesting in Boston. Two weeks ago the talk was about it being time to break up the team, now the talk is “can the Celtics contend?” and “is this team better without Rondo.” I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out, and in the meantime am happy it looks like we will get to see one more Garnett/Pierce playoff push.
The win was part of our perfect 3-0 ATS NBA day and runs the win streak to six games. Let’s keep it going tonight with another NBA winner.
Atlanta Hawks at Dallas Mavericks -4.5 (Total: 204)
Apparently the Dallas Mavericks players don’t like beards. Since making the proclamation that no one on the team would be shaving until the team’s record once again rose above .500 (they are six games under currently), they have reeled off two straight wins; both over decent teams. Their wins over Portland and Golden State (both covers), pulled them to within four games back of the 8th Playoff spot; a goal that Dirk Nowitski has vocalized as being the team’s focus.
In order to keep winning, they are going to need more of the recently-resurgent offensive game of Shaun Marion. The 14-year veteran has been the subject of a lot of trade rumors, and is in the midst of his best season since his All-Star days back in Phoenix. He scored 26 points in their last game, but will have a tougher matchup tonight with Josh Smith and the Hawks.
Speaking of trade rumors, Josh Smith is once again the center of intense talk, especially as the Hawks has slumped the past three weeks. They began the season as one of the pleasant surprises in the league, racing out to a 20-10 start and looking like contenders in the East. However, their 7-12 play since gives the Hawks the look of “sellers” rather than “buyers” heading into the trade deadline.
Atlanta has failed to cover in six of their last seven games and in eight of ten overall. They have been the worst bet in the NBA over that stretch. Tonight they take on a team that is finally healthy and playing good basketball, and they do it on the road, where they have been a total mess lately. The Hawks have dropped eight of their last nine games on the road.
Dallas isn’t a great team by any stretch, but they are a pretty good team at home (14-9) and many of their home losses were against good teams before Dirk got healthy (not just in the lineup, but really healthy – his first three weeks were not pretty). I think Dallas handles their business against a distracted and spiraling Hawks team tonight and gets the win and the cover.
Free Pick: Dallas Mavericks -4.5