The losing train has yet to slow down in Cleveland. The Cavs gave Memphis three and a half quarters of a valiant fight, before capitulating in the games last five minutes to fall to a record-tying 23rd consecutive loss. There’s no rest for the weary – tonight the Cavs will take to the back of a back-to-back and hope to send the Blazers back to Portland with a loss.
Meanwhile, it isn’t all bad news in the NBA, there’s actually a lot of Love going around. Kevin “Love” that is. Commissioner Stern named the third year power forward to the All-Star team as the replacement for the ridiculously voted starter Yao Ming. The final decision came down to Love, who’s 15.5 rebounds a night merited inclusion on their own, or LaMarcus Alderidge, also deserving for the way he has held the Blazers together despite some devastating injuries.
In the end, the nod went to Love; a good choice in my opinion, and the third-year power forward will make his All Star debut, despite the 11-win worst-record-in-the-NBA Timberwolves.
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Today’s Free NBA Picks:
Denver Nuggets -4.5 @ Minnesota Timberwolves (Total: 222)
Minnesota has slid back a little after a promising month of decent basketball, losing eight of nine and failing to be the same plucky “we might lose, but it’ll be close” feisty team they had displayed most of the season. During their current funk, only two of their eight losses were by less than eight points (a one pointer hosting Houston and by one at home against OK City).
Perhaps even more alarming Minny fans is the staggering number of point s they have been allowing. With the exception of the home win over Toronto (which barely counts at this point) they have not held a team to single digits in a single game, including 126,122,119, and 118 outbursts allowed.
Denver is a good offensive team, to make things even worse, and also has a tendency to get a little negligent on the defensive side of the ball. It all adds up to a recipe for a ton of points going on the board tonight. Both teams are on the back end of a back-to-back, which tends to lead to sloppier play; I think it will translate to some really easy drives to the basket tonight. The smart play is the OVER 222
Dallas Mavericks -2.5 @ Charlotte Bobcats (Total: 187)
Throw away the seven of nine the Mavs lost without Dirk, and ignore the three of four they lost as he was playing his way back to healthy – and you are looking at a team right in lock step with the sizzling Spurs (41-7), who are winning at about an 82% clip. Without Dirk’s demise, the Dallas Mavericks are 30-5, right around, and actually slightly better than, the Spurs 82% mark.
This is the exact same way I started my Dallas pick yesterday… My point is simply this: if their record reflected the team Dallas has been at full strength, they are an obvious winner over the Bobcats, despite being on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Mavericks are the most talented team in the West when at full strength, and that is where they appear to finally be. Charlotte, on the other hand, stormed back into the playoff picture with a nice 5-1 run towards end the month of January. They are only 1-3 in their past four contests, including a loss to the Clippers and the lone win over the Pistons at home.
Both teams played tough games last night; Dallas beating the mighty Celtics and the Bobcats being handled with ease by the Miami Heat. The “energy edge” is probably a non-factor tonight. That simply leaves a simpler equation of what team is better. I think it’s obviously the Dallas Mavericks. Getting them against a fringe playoff team (at best) and only laying three is a pretty good value.
PICK: Dallas Mavericks -2.5 (-109) @ 5Dimes.com