Apparently I wasn’t the only one unimpressed with Rajon Rondo and Kris Humphrey’s slap-boxing match two nights ago. Doc Rivers was even more blunt in his post-game conference calling his team “soft” and saying the Nets and the whole NBA knew it. “That stuff (the ‘fight’) isn’t toughness.” He continued.
At least his team didn’t Instagram pictures of their boo-boos after the game, ala the former Mr. Kardashian…
Alas, we will strive to get tough with today’s pick and get back to our winning ways.
Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder -9 (Total: 192)
The Utah Jazz have been perfect this season at home (6-0). Unfortunately, this game is at the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder haven’t been perfect, but they have been as good as any team in the NBA there over the past two-plus years. This season they are 8-2 at home, and overall an impressive 10-5-1 ATS; a number even more impressive when you consider that the Thunder are favored nearly every night.
The Jazz have struggled mightily on the road, and their three wins are against the worst teams in the NBA. They have beaten Washington, New Orleans and Toronto. Everyone else has beaten them by at least six points. And “everyone else” is NOT the Oklahoma City Thunder.
I have a slight pause that the Thunder might be a little flat after the emotionally-charged return of James Harden, a game they won 120-98. But honestly, I think that game meant WAY more to Harden and his new Rocket teammates than it did Durant, Westbrook and company. There seems to be little to no animosity, and any “extra hype” was largely an infusion of media hype versus true reality.
Both teams are rested, with both teams having gotten last night off (along with all but 4 teams in the NBA). Friday night games are usually two teams with equal rest and ready to give a good effort. His doesn’t bode well for the Jazz. The Thunder have won six of seven and eight of ten overall. Their only two losses are to the Memphis Grizzlies (best record in the NBA) and the Boston Celtics.
I don’t see OKC losing at home, but I also don’t see this being a “turn it off in the third quarter” cover. Utah will play hard and hang around, but in the end the Thunder are too much offensively, especially at home, and they pull away late for a double-digit win.
Free Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -9