I have a family member who is the head coach of a college baseball program. His team is having a fantastic season, but recently had one of those days where nothing goes right. In fact, during a doubleheader his team was outscored 41-8. That makes for a long eleven hours at the ballyard!
I gave him a call after the game and laughed that it is a good thing baseball isn’t soccer; no one cares about goal differential. It’s only wins and losses. No matter how ugly the games were they all look like one-run losses on the overall record.
I am going to have to heed my own advice after yesterday’s NBA debacle. It was a 3-1 day overall with the perfect college hoops day, but the stench of the Rockets home effort yesterday lingers. Fortunately, despite missing the cover by an astonishing 38 points, it is only one loss. Today, we will try to make up for it with a nice win or two…
Indiana Pacers -7.5 at Cleveland Cavaliers (Total: 189)
The Pacers have hit a bit of a tough patch, losing back to back games at home to Boston and then the following night at Philadelphia. However, they are still narrowly in second place in the East – a highly coveted spot that allows for home court advantage for two rounds and the longest possible avoidance of the Heat. They should be refreshed after a few nights rest and ready to go.
Cleveland had been showing some signs of life, and then franchise point guard Kyrie Irving went down with an injury just as he was beginning to capture the attention of the league. It is an unfortunate break for a franchise that is no stranger to misfortune, and not surprisingly, the results on the floor have suffered accordingly. The cavaliers have lost two in a row, but more importantly have lost 10 of 11 to the Pacers including four consecutive defeats (all WITH Kyrie).
I like Indiana to go on the road and get a much needed easy victory tonight.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers -7.5
Miami Heat -5 at Boston Celtics (Total: 189.5)
You may have heard the Heat have been playing pretty good basketball lately. Much less noticed is the continuing good play of the Celtics despite the loss of Rajon Rondo. Boston is fresh off a road win at Indiana and has won eleven straight games at home; an impressive feat no matter who the opponents.
However, the opponent gets considerably tougher tonight. Not surprisingly, the Celtics veterans have been almost dismissive in interviews when asked about the Heat’s streak and the challenge they face tonight. Let’s see if they are as smug after the game.
The Heat put it on cruise control from time to time, but I think the energized Boston crowd and the subtle (and not so subtle) jabs in the media from Garnett and Pierce will be enough to wake up the Heat and get them paying full attention. They already sent Indiana, New York and Oklahoma City a wake-up call during this streak. I think they send a similar one to Boston tonight.
Free Pick: Miami Heat -5