The Golden State Warriors had their five-game winning streak (all on the road) snapped in Orlando Friday night. It would be perfectly normal for them to struggle the following night, the second night of a back-to-back, against the Atlanta Hawks. But instead of packing it in, likcing their wounds, and going home with still a pretty-darn-good road trip under their belt, they came out and played like a team hellbent on returning to the Playoffs.
It won’t get a lot of attention, but the Warriors 115-93 win was one of the most impressive wins league-wide so far this season, and it signals a team with the talent and maturity to not just make the postseason but to compete in the first round as well. It will be interesting to watch their season unfold and see just how much of an unexpected factor Golden State can be out West.
New Orleans Hornets at Portland Trailblazers -5 (Total: 187)
We cashed in a winner earlier this week with Portland at home over San Antonio (not just covering the 7.5 spread but winning straight up as well). Tonight they will not have the advantage of getting points, as they are laying 5, but they do have the advantage of hosting one of the worst teams in the NBA, the New Orleans Hornets.
New Orleans has struggled mightily with their young team this season. Yes, Anthony Davis missed a ton of time and is back now, but it really hasn’t mattered. They enter tonight on a seven game losing streak, dropping their last seven games by an average of 9.8 points per game, and dropping contests to Washington (a 77-70 abomination of an NBA game) and Minnesota at home last night.
So, a team with a lengthy losing streak and one of the worst road records in the NBA heads all the way to the Pacific Northwest to play a rested Trailblazer team that is historically dominant in the Rose Garden… not a good matchup for NOLA.
Portland is just 6-4 at home this year, but they have hosted some tough foes in the early going, including the Lakers, Clippers and Spurs twice. Expect that record to improve as the level of competition faced begins to level out. I like them at home laying just five points to a terrible basketball team.
Portland swept all four meetings last year against the Hornets, and I think they take the first in the 2012-2013 season series tonight at home. Give me the Blazers to win and cover.
Free Pick: Portland Trailblazers -5