We struck again last night, running the NBA record to a perfect 5-0 ATS with the Kings christening their new arena with a win over the valiant visiting Timberwolves. Boogie threw in 29 points and Rudy Gay added an efficient 28 as the Kings were just a little too much at home for the Wolves. Minny may be 0-2, but with two hard-fought road losses it isn’t hard to envision them being pretty competitive this season and taking a massive step forward in their team evolution.
There was some definite lower-hanging fruit last night and we probably didn’t need to be as daring as I was going with Sacramento. The lowest hanging fruit was Chicago at home against the Pacers on the back end of a road back-to-back, still working three new starters into the fold. Chicago blasted them for an easy home win and cover. Likewise, the Spurs at home against NOLA was a gimme. The Pels lost two games with Anthony Davis averaging 47.5 and 16.5. Of COURSE they are going to lose on the road at San Antonio when he inevitably regresses to the mean. Easy winner there as well.
So, with that in mind, rather than give you variety and try to write about a few new teams to ease into the season, I am going to try and grab, in my opinion, the lowest hanging fruit this evening to try to get to a perfect half-dozen wins to start the new season.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets -5
Dallas is the early candidate for team most likely to slide out of the Western Conference playoff picture. They are 0-2 this season, though they did put up a great effort on the road in Indy to start the season. The Mavs are going to need a huge step up from Harrison Barnes, and to this point through the preseason, he doesn’t look like an effective and efficient #1 option. Dirk is still Dirk, but he is also 38 years old and will be on a minutes governor most of the season.
Meanwhile, though it is fashionable to discount James Harden as a ball-centric, defensively-ambivalent overrated superstar, his performance through two games suggests a more 2014-2015 MVP-level than his less-than-great 2015-2016. He is shooting nearly 50% from the floor and has dished out 12.5 assists a night, showing he can be the focal point of the offense and STILL keep teammates involved. If he can continue to facilitate this effectively, the Rockets should be a competitive playoff team and Harden is an MVP contender.
Houston JUST went into Dallas and won by 8. It seems reasonable to think they can repeat the feat tonight at home. I’ll eat the slim five points and take the Rockets at home.