Heat vs. Wizards Pick – April 8th

The Miami Heat were on fire, but the fire has diminished since Deon Waiters went down with an injury.  Can they rekindle the spark tonight in Washington and make one last playoff push?

Our four-game winning streak was snapped last night by one of the more surprising recent results as the Oklahoma City Thunder not only failed to cover against tanking Phoenix, they got absolutely SMOKED out in the desert, falling behind by 23 points by halftime and never really competing afterwards.  Westbrook might look OK in the boxscore – he got his numbers eventually, but he missed his first ELEVEN shots in the process en route to a 6 of 25 night from the floor.

There was little evidence and no data to suggest the Suns had THAT performance in them last night, but SPORTS, right?  Let’s get up off the mat and get back to business today and start a new winning streak.  Luckily, we have some really great games to choose from.

The highlights tonight include the Jazz at the Blazers, the Heat trying to finish off their improbable playoff push in a tough game against Washington, and the ABC featured Clippers/Spurs tilt.

Today’s NBA Pick:

Miami Heat at Washington Wizards -5

It looks like the Heat’s dramatic and unimaginable playoff push is going to come up just a game or two short.  Their schedule compared to the Pacers and Bulls is BRUTAL, and they will likely be the underdog in all four remaining games unless an opponent decides to go Full Pop and dress the J.V. squad on night.  And many will blame the sputtering on a regression to the mean, the fatigue of playing that intensely and under that much pressure for such a long stretch and a variety of other reasons.  But I’ll blame it on one thing, and one thing only…

Deon “DFW” Waiters got hurt.

And if reading “the team can’t win because Deon Waiters is hurt” feels strange, trust me, it feels even weirder to type.  But it is undeniably true.  Waiters was the energizer and offensive fulcrum for the run; the shot-making, swaggering, emotional-center of the fun-loving and gunning new-look Heat.  Since he has been hurt, things are different.  They are 4-6 SU in their last ten games and I think they get dropped again tonight on the road to a good Wizards team jockeying for the all-important #3 seed in the East.

Miami is still 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games, but the 4-6 SU weighs more heavily on my pick.  Yes, they are desperate, yes they need the game more that Washington, but “want to” doesn’t always equal “can do” in sports.  Without Waiters, the Heat just aren’t that great.

Washington has slumped a bit lately, failing to cover in four of their last five, but they have won six of nine straight up, and their losses were out West against the Jazz, Clippers and Warriors, three of the seven best teams in the NBA.  The Wiz are 30-10 at home this season, so expect them to handle their business tonight.