You don’t see the Spurs do what they did last night very often. They had a five-point lead with a minute plus to play, missed a free throw and committed a few turnovers, and next thing you know, they are losing to the Hawks in overtime. It was Coach Bud’s first win in seven tries against his former employer, and it dealt me a rather unpleasant loss in the process.
The first day of the new year had no chance to live up to the magic of 2016’s curtain call, but there were still some awesome individual performances last night. Kyle Lowry led the Raptors to a road win over the Lakers with 43 points, nine boards and seven assists. CJ McCollum led the Blazers to a much-needed road win at Minnesota behind a 43-point outburst, and Andre Drummond went for 25 and 18 in a road win over the Heat.
The trend in those three performances is bigger than the individual stats; BAD teams lose a lot of home games. And despite the familiar names on the front of the jersey and the decent season starts, the Lakers and Heat have settled in to being two of the worst four teams in the NBA.
Today’s Free Pick:
Charlotte Hornets at Chicago Bulls – Pick Em
Trouble is brewing in Chicago as the Rajon Rondo experiment is beginning to unravel. If that sentence sounds familiar, it is because I typed it in November, and just about every non-Chicago fan had thought it in the off-season. To quote some of the great philosophers of our time, Rajon Rondo isn’t working out?? “No Duh!”
I yammered incessantly about the regression to the mean that was coming after their exceptional shooting start; it is now very, very real. The Bulls are dead last in three-point shooting at 30.7%, nearly two full points behind 29th place and ten points behind the Warriors. At least they recognize this issue, and take a full six less attempts than the next-worst Thunder and the lowest attempts amount in the league at 19.9 per game (Spurs are oddly next at 22.3). This is the reason they decided to abandon Rondo in the rotation. Nothing disrupts floor spacing more than a point guard no one HAS to guard. Watching teams sag four feet off him like a junior high game was awkward at best, and no matter how useless the rest of their shooters have been overall; Mirotic, Dougie McBuckets, it was time for a change.
That said, I am not sure the answer is anywhere on that aging and ill-fitting roster. They are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games and free-falling out of the playoff picture. They are 3-8 SU overall in their last eleven and things don’t look great.
Meanwhile, Charlotte is back in the fourth playoff position (admittedly, things are tenuous in the East) after winning five of their last seven games. They have also covered five in a row against the Bulls including their 12-point win in Charlotte two weeks ago.
I think the Bulls are trending down, down, down and are on the precipice of imploding completely. I like Charlotte to accelerate the drama tonight with a nice road victory.