Mavericks at Celtics Pick NBA – Jan 2nd

Things have gone from frustrating to frightening in Cleveland. Yes, LeBron is expected to miss just a few weeks, but after a three game slide any question of LeBron’s health becomes even more frightening. With Washington, Atlanta, Chicago and Toronto playing solid and consistent basketball, if the Cavs give away too many more games they might just find themselves in a hole they can’t dig out of in the East and end up going on the road in the opening round of the Playoffs. It’s worth keeping an eye on the next few weeks and possibly time to accept the LeBron was right; it’s not going to be an automatic championship and that this thing is going to take some time…

Meanwhile, in happier news, it is an awesome day of NBA action. The highlight is the nightcap with Toronto heading to Golden State in a battle of the top teams in each respective conference, but Washington at Oklahoma City isn’t far behind. It will be interesting to see if the two Eastern Conference hopefuls can hold their own on the road against Western Conference contenders.

In the meantime, we took a tough-luck push last night, so let’s try to earn an outright winner to jump-start 2015.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Dallas Mavericks -6 at Boston Celtics (Total: 214.5)

The Mavericks thought they acquired the final piece of their championship puzzle when they brought in Rajon Rondo. The veteran point guard is down more than two assists per game but is up nearly five full points scoring as he has taken on a slightly different role in the explosive Mavs offense. The most important stat is wins and losses and after losing two of their first three with Rondo they enter tonight on a three-game winning streak and playing good cohesive basketball.

Plus, do you think there’s any way Rondo isn’t bringing his A-Game tonight in his return to Boston? While things may have parted relatively amicably and certainly worked out well in Rondo’s favor, his time in Boston could best be described as tumultuous and tense with his name seemingly in trade rumors for half a decade. I expect him to make life miserable for Boston’s young backcourt and for him to especially clamp down defensively on Marcus Smart. I’d set the over/uner at five turnovers for Smart tonight.

And then of course there is the ridiculous Dallas offense, the most efficient outfit in the NBA. Expect them to score at will against Boston’s porous defense. Six points is a decent amount to lay, but this is a Boston team that will be outclassed at literally every position on the floor. I expect Dallas to get a lead and hang on all night – look for them to cruise to a double-digit win.

Free Pick: Dallas Mavericks -6

Chris Scheeren / Author