The streak is finally over.
The Heat’s epic run came to a halt in Chicago who literally held the Heat in check in one of the most physical games of the NBA season. Tempers started to flair a bit late with all the clutching, pushing and grabbing, and if this is any indication of how things might play out should these teams meet in the playoffs, then you should root for the Bulls to advance. Miami will win the series, but man will they have to earn it…
With the winning streak now snapped (the NBA must be bummed… it made for some interesting games during the dog days of the NBA season), we now turn our attention to more important matters; namely the final three week sprint and jockeying for playoff berths and seeding.
Let’s take a look at an interesting game tonight on the otherwise slim NBA Thursday slate of games.
Los Angeles Lakers -1.5 at Milwaukee Bucks
Here we go again Lakers fans/haters. The Lakers surged to the eighth spot in playoff positioning abou a week ago and seemed to be headed safely toward the postseason. Then they drop a pair of games including a home game against Washington and things are getting interesting once again. Heading into tonight they lead Dallas by just a game and a half (who is hosting Indiana tonight in another huge game) and Utah by just a game.
So, stop me if this sounds familiar, the Lakers REALLY need a win tonight.
Will they get it?
Milwaukee has been a pretty average home team this season at just 18-17 and been outright terrible lately, losing four games in a row by an average score of 100-90. They haven’t been within eight points in any of them and have now dropped seven of nine overall. The East is so bad they are still safely in the playoffs, but being a four game tune-up for the Heat hardly seems worth giving up the fractional chance of ping pong ball glory in the Draft Lottery. Perhaps someone gave the players the same memo????
A visit from the Lakers should pique the attention of the team, as LA seems to bring out the best in their road opponents, but I don’t think it’ll be enough tonight. The Lakers are healthy, finally, and though they have looked inept with their five starters all united, talent-wise it should start to click once they get a little continuity. More importantly, Dwight Howard has been playing like he is capable of, and the Bucks have little answer for a dominant interior player. I am sure Brandon Jennings’ eyes light up seeing Steve Nash on the defensive end, but I expect the Lakers to provide enough help to cover up that mismatch. There’s always Kobe after all.
This is a really big game for the Lakers who can’t afford to give away any games to sub-.500 teams, even on the road. I expect Kobe and crew to come up big tonight. Give me the Lakers on the road.
Free Pick: Los Angeles Lakers -1.5