Heat vs. Nets Pick – February 10th

I am genuinely surprised the Sixers were able to win a road game straight up without Joel Embiid – regardless of how lousy the Magic have been at home this year.  Alas, Philly came up huge without their best player and handed us a win-streak breaking NBA loss.  We will try to get it back tonight with a weekend-starting winner.

But first – a quick rant.  It SUCKS that Cleveland almost benched their entire All Star trio for no reason other than “rest” (and perhaps a subtle middle-finger to the NBA for their third road game in four nights or a conspiracy-theory double middle-finger to Charles Barkley in TNT in hopes the move would lead to a “back in my day” related aneurysm…)  and then decided to play them again, and made for a whole day of line chaos.  It’s annoying.  But as much as it sucks, until 1. The NBA changes its scheduling practices and 2. Someone pushes the Cavs even remotely in the Eastern Conference, this is going to continue to happen over and over, and the result will more often be “benching one/some/all of their stars”.

I’ve said it before, and perhaps it is not the greatest thing for a daily NBA beat writer to type, but I really DON’T LIKE the NBA the few weeks before and after All Star Weekend.  You get a ton of weird results, you get a lot of random late scratches well after the lines have already come out to reflect a vastly different matchup, and it makes things a little tricky at times.  SO, my advice – CHECK lineups closer to tip off before running with a big play – UNLESS you have an inkling that someone is going to sit out who will move the line in your favor (i.e. you still like the Cavs opponent even though LeBron might be resting, so you get in before the line widens, etc).  In general, I like caution.  Check lineups.

Today’s NBA Pick:

Miami Heat -6.5 at Brooklyn Nets

Is it the kiss of death to finally back the Heat as they go for their 13th win on a Friday?   I am sure I’ll be blamed if this magical run ends tonight at the hands of the worst team in the NBA, but superstition is for little kids and bad movies, not intelligent wagers, so the mojo of the Heat just can’t be ignored.

They have gone on the road an WON plenty; most recently a blowout at Milwaukee and at Minnesota and Chicago.  They have home wins over the Warriors and Rockets and they had a night off last night so fatigue shouldn’t be a factor.  No one is listed as injured or questionable other than Deion Waiters as “questionable” which usually means “playing.”

If you’d have told me I’d be willing to eat seven points on the road with the Miami Heat two weeks ago, I would have cracked up laughing.  But since Brooklyn has apparently abandoned all pretense of giving a care about competing, and Miami is spitting out money like a broken ATM, I feel inclined to take it.

The Heat have won 12 in a row, obviously.  They have also covered ten straight games while Brooklyn is a staggering 3-7 ATS, a remarkable feat considering how many points they get on a nightly basis.  They are 1-9 ATS in their last ten games against the Heat, and while a few of those linger from the ‘Bron era, the last two years certainly do not, and the Nets have never been THIS bad before.

Brooklyn has lost their last 13 home games.  Straight up lost THIRTEEN straight home games.  Jeremy Lin is out tonight to make things even more fun.  Perhaps they should have hung on to Yogi Ferrell after all…

I feel like a crazy person typing “lay the seven on the Heat.” But the numbers say I’d be crazier NOT to.

Today’s Pick:  Miami Heat -6.5