Interesting night in the NBA as three of the top four Eastern Conference teams fell to defeat. Chicago got dropped in Charlotte (which we picked here), Orlando lost an OT thriller to New Orleans, which despite the extra frame still stayed comfortably under the total (also picked here), and perhaps the biggest shocker of the night, the Heat had their near-record road win streak snapped in Los Angeles.
Which sounds like it could make sense, except it wasn’t to the Lakers, it was to Blake Griffin and the Clippers…
It just goes to show, even the best teams have their struggles on the road in the NBA.
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Washington Wizards @ Minnesota Timberwolves -4 (Total: 208)
The Timberwolves have been playing really good basketball at times, despite their horrid record. However with Michael Beasley nursing an injured ankle, they will have to struggle to find an efficient offensive replacement to account for Beasley’s 22 ppg.
Washington has been a disaster most of the year, though shown a few signs of life since the blockbuster deal that sent Gilbert Arenas to Orlando in return for Rashard Lewis and four other players.
I’d lean to Minnesota at home, but the best play is the under. Minnesota gives up a lot of points, but Washington rarely scores many; in this case, I give the edge to the home team. Minnesota will be missing it’s number one offensive weapon and Washington is terrible (well, more terrible) away from home. I don’t see either team cracking the 100 point barrier tonight.
Miami Heat -2 @ Denver Nuggets (Total: 205)
Everything about this game screams stay away from the Heat. They are out West, second game of a back to back, fresh off a tough loss to a bad team the night before. The list goes on…
Despite all of that, I love the Heat tonight. This one is about simple psychology as much as it is the numbers, which objectively also favor the Heat. Miami’s defense is stingy, and the numbers dip very little when they take to the road.
It is two simple factors; one, the Heat were embarrassed last night by the Los Angeles Clippers. In an NBA season, even good teams sleepwalk through about a dozen or so games. After last night’s wake-up call, expect Miami to be abnormally sharp and focused.
Secondly, Denver has been as erratic as any team in the league, which makes sense with the constant trade rumors and impending gutting of their roster. They just came off a 39-point pasting of the Phoenix Suns – kind of the “stick it to management” game where they played with some anger and emotion. It’s nearly impossible to summon that up again just two days later.
Gimme the Heat in an easy road win, laying the two points.