The game the general public can’t wait to see today is the nationally televised superstar showdown at 3:30 when the Lakers visit Miami. Kobe vs. Lebron – the dream Finals matchup everyone just assumed would happen someday looks unlikelier and unlikelier every time this Laker team takes the floor (or better yet, gets behind a microphone. Any chance Dwight re-ups with LA??!? Not a wise move Kobe, not a wise move….). However they do have a way of ratcheting it up a notch when the spotlight burns as brightly as it will today. It will be an interesting game for sure.
But the game that most intrigues me is one that nearly no one will see, later tonight at 6pm on NBATV, when the suddenly-scorching Celtics put their winning streak on the line against the hottest team in the NBA, the Denver Nuggets. That’s a much better watch if you like competitive high-level basketball…
SO let’s take a look at both games, plus a third good wagering opportunity on a nice Sunday NBA schedule.
Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat -7.5 (Total: 204)
Both these teams have a lot in common. Both at times seem a little disinterested. Both usually have more talent on the court than their opponent, and both teams have their every game and result tirelessly dissected by the public and the media. However, there is one big difference. Miami has the best record in the East, and barring an absolute disaster, is going back to the NBA Finals. The Lakers aren’t even currently in the Playoffs. Yeah, BIG difference.
Miami, for all the sniping they take when they do lose a game, is a whopping 21-3 at home and is virtually unbeatable in South Beach. They have won four straight games, mostly without even having to push the gas pedal or play some of their injured/sick secondary stars. Bosh and Wade are back to healthy for today, and I think the amped up crowd will help them really excel with effort and energy today.
Miami has beaten the Lakers five of the last six times, and by an average margin of right around ten points. I think they do just enough to cover the seven point spread today and get a solid win on ABC.
Free Pick: Miami Heat -7.5
Denver Nuggets at Boston Celtics -2 (Total: 204)
This feels a little bit like a trap game for Denver. They are getting two points on the road. They haven’t lost in forever and they’ve been beating the hell out of good teams. But most of their wins have come at home, where they are always good (this year especially good) in the high altitude and Denver air.
This season, despite how great they’ve looked lately, they are only 11-15 away from Denver. A pretty pedestrian mark for a team challenging for the fourth spot in the West. Couple in the fact that Boston has been playing fantastic and is at home, and I like the C’s tonight.
I’m still not sold this team is better long-term without Rondo, but in the here and now, without him, they are playing fantastic, unselfish and inspired basketball. I like one more heroic effort from Garnett and Pierce and for them to snap Denver’s winning streak tonight in Beantown.
Free Pick: Boston Celtics -2
Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies -8.5
Memphis looks good after the Rudy Gay trade, and Minnesota is a complete disaster without Kevin Love. It sounds like a decent matchup, but it really isn’t. Memphis is substantially better and matches up well with the T’Wolves. They’ve beaten them eight straight times, and only once was the margin of victory smaller than eight points.
I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Take Memphis at home laying the points.
Free Pick: Memphis Grizzlies -8.5
RECAP: FREE PICKS – Miami -7.5, Boston -2, Memphis -8.5