No unbeaten teams remain in the NBA following New York’s 105-95 loss at Memphis. The Knicks are the headline here, but the real story, very quietly under the radar, is that the Memphis Grizzlies are emerging as a legitimate threat to win the Western Conference. With the win, the Grizz moved to 7-1, best in the West. And matchup wise, they are a dangerous ballclub. They have the frontline to matchup should they meet the Lakers. Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard vs. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph isn’t the mismatch some might think.
Should they meet OKC, they have an excellent defensive point guard in Mike Conley as well as a lean, athletic wing in Rudy Gay and defensive pit bull in Tony Allen. This a dangerous team, and along with the Clippers, are turning the West into anything BUT a foregone conclusion.
So, we are no longer with an undefeated team in the NBA, but there is still one thoroughly DE-FEATED team, the dreadful 0-7 Washington Wizards. Can they keep up their losing ways tonight at home? Let’s dig into some matchups for tonight’s free pick.
Utah Jazz at Washington Wizards +2.5 (Total: 189)
The Jazz enter tonight a pedestrian 4-6, but compared to the Washington Generals, er, Wizards, they look like the Harlem Globetrotters. Without John Wall they have looked simply lost, even worse than usual, and have not only lost all their games, they have failed to be competitive in most of them, A loss tonight would tie a franchise record season-opening losing streak (tying last year’s mark). But there is cause for some optimism, as the Jazz have struggled on the road, going just 1-6.
But I actually use that stat to make my case FOR the Jazz rather than burying them. The fact that they have played 7 of 10 games on the road justifies their sub-.500 record more than it indicts the ballclub. Also, yes they have some road losses, but they haven’t gotten to play many teams as bad as these Wizards along the way.
I expect Utah to play well tonight, and I expect Washington to play, well, like Washington. The Good news for the Wizards? Their first-round draft pick Bradley Beal is leading the team in scoring and appears to be adapting to llife in the NBA well. The bad news? He Is averaging just 11.6 points per game and LEADS their team! That would be the lowest point total to lead a team in decades. Not good…
Nothing is particularly “good’ in Washington right now, and I don’t expect the Jazz to sleepwalk their way into facilitating any improvements. I like the Jazz to handle their business o nthe road and to win and cover tonight in Washington.
Free Pick: Utah Jazz -2.5