It was an interesting night in Boston, and I am not just complaining about taking an L last night. For starters, the struggling Hawks went in and absolutely beat them up 114-95. Dwight Howard was not only engaged, but was SO engaged and intense he received second technical for hanging on the rim after a dunk and was ejected (the first technical was for shoving normally-mild mannered Al Horford). Isaiah Thomas failed to score 20 points in a game for just the second time all season (remarkable run) on just 5 of 21 shooting, and things just generally did not go well for the Celtics who took the home loss.
Elsewhere, Houston also took a somewhat surprising home loss, getting beat 117-108 by the visiting Indiana Pacers who have been one of the worst road teams in the NBA this season. Is this the start of things starting to click in Indiana, or just a nice week after the All Star Break? The East is pretty wide-open in the “Non-Cavaliers” division, and Indiana’s consecutive wins over Memphis and Houston is a nice sign.
We will try to get back on track today and see if we can pick up a winner to get the week moving in the right direction.
Today’s NBA Pick:
Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder -EVEN
I’ve been hot and cold this season on the Thunder, both recognizing they are still a fun and competitive team, but also realizing they is a pretty sizeable gap between them and the true NBA contenders. However, it is hard to assail their performance against the spread this season, especially at home, where they are second best in league with a 20-9-1 ATS mark. They are 7-3 in their last ten games and 5-1 ATS as the favorite (many books have OKC -1, some have EVEN as of this writing).
Utah has been a little better ATS lately, posting a 6-4 ATS mark over their last ten and covering four of their last five road games but they are still under .500 on the road for the season and slightly below .500 as an underdog as well.
Victor Oladipo is listed as questionable for OKC, but everyone else is currently off the injury report, so it looks likely this will be a pretty fair matchup without a lot of extraneous variables to account for. When that is the case; fair matchup between two similar teams, I generally prefer the home team at the cheap price of even of -1. The Thunder are a very good 22-8 SU at home this season. They have only lost two home games this calendar year; close to the Bulls and of course that whole “Kevin Durant and the Warriors” fiesta.
I like OKC to keep doing what they have largely done all year; win at home.
Today’s NBA Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder – EVEN