Kings vs. Maverick Pick NBA – January 5th

Man, life is back on track and livin’ good when you notch bask to back straight-up winner with the Lakers and the Sixers. I have not done the research to support this claim, but am going to reasonably assume this is the first time this has happened on consecutive nights this NBA season – and maybe even far longer than that… Either way, the Sixers beat the young Timberwolves last night in Philly, 109-99, and the story of the game was the play of Ish Smith. Just as I mentioned in the preview, the Sixers continue to look like a different team with the infusion of Ish, who threw in 21 points to compliment an otherwise stellar floor game and helped the Sixers win their third game in seven outings. Not saying a playoff run is coming (or even an escape from a Top Two Lottery pick) but the Sixers are now at least competitive. They have covered four of their last six, all with relative ease, and are starting to become a fun wagering possibility…

Let’s see if we can stack a third straight NBA winner, against banking on a struggling team coming through…

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Today’s Free Pick:

Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks -5

What to do, what to do. The NBA laws of wagering gravity tell us that no matter how high a team flies, the inevitable tug pulls them back to Earth on the back-end of a road back-to-back. It just seems Newtonian in its absolute power, no matter how a team looks otherwise. Sure, the Warriors are immune, but they don’t count. Everyone else = loss. So despite the fact that Dallas hasn’t won in 2016 and that the Kings looked brilliant last night winning in Oklahoma City, a team that was 14-2 over their last 16 games prior to last night, I just can’t put my money on the Sacramento crazy-train tonight.

The Kinds are a fun watch. You get Rondo dishing out a dozen assists, despite teams giving him an eight-foot cushion when he has the ball outside the arc. You get the brilliance and madness of Boogie, both the league’s best pure post scorer and most likely to throw the basketball at an opposing player’s head, and you get the disgruntled angst of Coach Karl, desperately holding this fragile bunch together with duct tape and guile. It is simply fascinating. Add in the fact that in the last two weeks this team has won at Oklahoma City, beat phoenix by 23, and lost at home against Philadelphia and Portland, and you get an added “who knows what the hell is coming next” bonus.

But we know what is likely coming tonight. A loss. Because that is how the NBA works. If you watched hoops the last three days, your eyes tell you bet Kings. I feel the pull as well. Dallas is also likely missing Derron Williams tonight, another factor. But Sacramento is without Casspi, McLemore and Cauley-Stein, so it is no worse than a push.

Decreased depth + second straight night playing on the road = fatigue. I’ll take Dallas at home to get back on track and to win and cover.

Today’s Free Pick: Dallas Mavericks -5