We are hitting the “dog days” of the NBA season, that lull before the All-Star break where the season is starting to wear on for many teams but the finish-line stretch run isn’t quite in sight. It’s the time of year where you’ll see some good teams occasionally no-show (for example the Wizards have beaten both Miami and Oklahoma City) and you have to look at not just matchups, but also days rest and emotional factors that can alter a team’s focus.
For example, a normal Miami vs. Brooklyn game that isn’t on national television? Not a huge deal. However, let Reggie Evans rattle Lebron’s cage saying he’s “nothing special”? All of a sudden you have woken the beast. Miami roars to a big win.
This time of the year, teams need a little extra something to stay sharp and focused.
There are no big emotional games or huge-impact games tonight on the limited NBA slate, but we will try to stay sharp and focused nonetheless and see if we can build on our five-game NBA ATS win streak with two picks tonight.
Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers -6 (Total: 183)
The Pacers are less than 24 hours removed from a huge 111-100 win over Chicago to pull into a tie for first place in the Central. They are pretty big favorites considering Atlanta has beaten them eight of the last ten times they have played and are 2-0 against the Pacers this season.
I think Indiana is the better team, and has been playing really good basketball, but I don’t like a team playing a back-to-back against a team with two days’ rest. Especially laying that many points. Give me Atlanta with the 6 points.
Free Pick: Atlanta Hawks +6
Los Angeles Lakers at Brooklyn Nets -2.5 (Total: 196)
The Lakers have been playing good basketball and are once again trying to make the big push to get back in the playoff conversation. They have won five of six, but haven’t had to go on the road to face a playoff team yet like they will tonight in Brooklyn.
This game is a little odd, as nearly half the rosters are listed as “probable” or “questionable” tonight, but assume that Metta World Peace, Dwight Howard, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams will all play tonight. If that is the case, I lean toward the home team tonight especially with the slim two points it costs to get them.
Brooklyn has been good at home (18-8) which is no surprise, but the Lakers absolute misery away from Staples (7-16) certainly isn’t befitting a team of their veteran talent level. Take the Nets tonight and wait for the Lakers to “start the season over” for the seventh time later this week…
Free Pick: Brooklyn Nets -2.5