Perhaps in deference to the NCAA Tournament attention juggernaut, the NBA has a lighter-than-usual Sunday slate today, but does feature at least one game of national interest – that being anytime the Miami Heat and their streak take the court. The Heat take on the lowly Bobcats today, which would seem to guarantee the streak reaches 26, but Miami has made some of the most mundane games into interesting deft escapes from danger.
The real question in tonight’s game is, “how much will Spo actually play his starters? They have to rest sometime right??”
Let’s take a look at that question and several others in our featured picks tonight.
Charlotte Bobcats at Miami Heat -17
Let’s get the easy part off the table early. Yes, Miami wins this game. But do they push the pedal hard enough to cover a mammoth seventeen point spread? It’s about as large a number as I can recall in a while, and while Miami obviously COULD, will they?
We’ve had good success taking Miami’s opponent and the points during this win streak, three times cashing in winning tickets. I am going to stick with the same strategy tonight. The Heat have shown a tremendous capacity to let inferior teams lead at the half only to crush their souls in the fourth quarter. Charlotte is SO bad I don’t think the Heat will follow the same formula tonight. Instead, I like them to establish enough of a comfort zone that Lebron, Wade and Bosh get a little rest tonight. That rest is just enough to let the Bobcats creep into the 12-14 point range and eek out a cover.
I like this one to be in the 104-91 realm.
Free pick: Charlotte Bobcats +17
Utah Jazz at Dallas Mavericks -6.6
The Utah Jazz are in a complete free-fall. Despite two bad losses by the Lakers, they still remain a game and a half behind Kobe and Co. for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. They have lost three in a row and eight of ten overall. The most recent losses, @ San Antonio, @Houston and vs. New York are understandable. Some of the ones before them like Cleveland and Milwaukee hurt a little bit more. Those are games you have to win if you expect to be a playoff team.
Tonight is another tough road game for the Jazz. They are just 10-24 away from home this season and have a -6.3 ppg differential on the road. Meanwhile, Dallas has actually been pretty good lately. If only Dirk could have returned a month earlier, perhaps the Lakers would be chasing them for the final playoff spot instead of the other way around. They have won seven of ten, and have done a lot of that damage on the road. Tonight they get some nice home-town love and a chance to leapfrog one more team in their desperate push for the playoffs.
I like Dallas to play well tonight and to get the win and cover. This series has been home team dominated, with the home team winning each of the last ten games. The recent 3-0 trend favors the Jazz, but keep in mind ALL those games were in Utah. Tonight is in Dallas – who is finally healthy and playing good basketball. I like them to win tonight.
Free Pick: Dallas Mavericks -6.5