Swing and a miss last night… I really liked the Pels on the road against the new-look and talent-limited Blazers, but Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum had other ideas. They combined for 59 points, 37 in 37 minutes by McCollum who looks like an early candidate for break-out star. I still think Portland will wind up well out of the playoff mix, but for one night at least, their new small lineup sans Alderidge and Batum looked pretty exciting…
Meanwhile, lest anyone get too hung up on the opening night loss, the Cavaliers delivered an abundance of calm to their fan base by absolutely annihilating the Grizz in the Grindhouse on the home opener. I am always hesitant to over-emphasize any single NBA game in the marathon that is the NBA regular season, but it will be interesting to see how Memphis bounces back tonight on the road in a back-to-back at Indianapolis.
Let’s get back on track and notch a Thursday NBA winner.
Today’s Free Pick:
Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers -11
In what has to be the most compelling evidence of how devoid the sports landscape is when both the NBA and NFL are dormant, the DeAndre Jordan back-and-forth saga between the Mavericks and Clippers became the biggest story in sports for nearly a week. It ended with the Clippers barricading DeAndre Jordan in his home (somewhat facetiously) until he reneged on Dallas and resigned in LaLa Land. There is obvious bad blood and intrigue from the fallout, and the NBA is intelligently capitalizing on that story line tonight. It would have been better if the game was in Dallas, but it is still a fun plotline tonight.
However, I am not sure the actual game will be as compelling. Dallas is on the backend of a back-to-back and frankly, played a little over their heads offensively last night. They are going to struggle to score with Chandler Parsons out of the lineup and Monte Ellis off to Indianapolis. Dirk can’t be counted on for much on back-to-backs and I’d be surprised if he logs more than 30 minutes. They scored 111 points last night in Phoenix, but I’d be surprised if they fare as well tonight.
Meanwhile, it seems reasonable to think the Clippers will put up 110+ tonight. Dallas lacks the rim protector now that Tyson Chandler is gone (whom they let go on the pretense they HAD Jordan… the plot thickens…). I expect LAC to lob and jam all over them tonight. It SHOULD be Dallas who is pissed off at LAC, but I think the Clippers actually muster some anger and outrage tonight as well. They seem to like fighting strawmen, so perhaps they can somehow make Mark Cuban and the Mavs the bad guys in this sage.
Either way, I like LAC to run them out of the gym tonight. Even at a big 11 point spread, I’ll take the Clipps.
Free Pick: Los Angeles Clippers -11