Well, we notched our 5th straight winner in NBA picks last night, and from a league-wide perspective, our pick coincided with a big drama-reducing game. The Grizz locked up their playoff spot by knocking off Phoenix on the road, and while the Mavs/Grizz game can affect seeding (think San Antonio is rooting for Memphis to move up to seventh??!?) not too much is left up in the air.
A big reason the drama ended early is the Miami Heat deciding to sit Bosh and LeBron last night in Washington, basically conceding the top seed to the Pacers in the process. I get it Heat fans, I get it. You play for Titles, not top seeds. But are the two mutually exclusive? And are you THAT worried about the Nets? Why rest both last night? Neither is hurt, and with the plodding pace of the opening round of the playoffs, it is likely the Heat could only play four or five games over the next two and a half weeks.
So why throw the game?
The end result is the Pacers in the #1 seed, the Heat in the #2 and the fearsome Nets at #5. You can bet Miami is rooting for Chicago to lose and drop to #4 so they can have the Raptors/Wizards winner in Round Two. Can you imagine a path to the conference finals that included Charlotte and Washington/Toronto? The Heat won’t be tested for real for more than a month…
Let’s keep the NBA beat rolling tonight and go for a nice half-dozen on the win streak.
Today’s Free Pick:
New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets -6 (Total: 192.5)
The Nets are in pretty good shape to lock up the five seed in the East, needing to win one of their final two games to clinch. While it is unlikely they’d lose to Cleveland to end the season, I’m sure they’d hate to leave things to chance and face the possibility of having to beat the Bulls, Heat and Pacers in three consecutive grueling series with their aging and injured roster. The #6 seed would be a death nail for sure.
For that reason, I like them to come out and treat this game seriously against their in-city rivals. The Nets arrival to Brooklyn has coincided nicely with New York’s misery, and tonight would be a perfect capper to a season that began with much higher expectations.
Carmelo and Amar’e are BOTH likely out tonight, a good sign the Knicks don’t have much intention of winning. I like JR Smith to challenge his most shot-attempts record tonight, and for that to be a very good thing for Brooklyn.
Give me the Nets with ease tonight.