NBA Picks and Predictions for January 18th

Holy Blake Griffin! I’m not sure there’s much else to say after yesterday afternoon’s simply spectacular performance against the Pacers. Not only did Griffin set his career high, he set a Clippers’ season high, and an NBA league-wide high water mark for the season when he dropped in 47 points. To complete the domination he grabbed 14 boards, finishing with a nice tidy 47-14-4 stat line.

In honor of martin Luther King Day, Griffin decided to plant a dream of his own inside long-suffering Clippers’ fans minds; respectability.

The Clips won’t be making the playoffs this season, but with Griffin and Eric Gordon, they are beginning to assemble a championship caliber nucleus fans can enjoy for the next decade.

For those of us who wager, it puts the Clippers into unique territory with the T’Wolves and Grizzlies; the teams are still substandard, but you are petrified to wager against them because of the dazzling potential and explosive young talent they possess.

The Western Conference is going to be fantastic for years to come…

Today’s Free NBA Picks:

Charlotte Bobcats @ Chicago Bulls -6.5

You know how when you first get a new car you are so excited you love everything about it? The smell, the smoothness with which it handles, how sparkling clean it is inside and out.

Then after a few months, the newness evaporates, you spill a few Cokes and Big Macs on the seats, the clutter starts to pile up on the floors and you forgot to wash it for, say, three or four weeks? All of a sudden, even though the car is new-er, the excitement wanes and pretty soon it’s just like the old car. A way to get you from Point A to Point B.

Consider the Bobcats and Paul Silas the new car that’s finally getting broken in.

The honeymoon faze is over, the brief period of enjoying a fresh start and being able to blame all the past woes on outgoing coach Larry Brown. Now, what was there to begin with is still there; a largely complacent team with average NBA talent, a weak bench, and erratic personalities.

Conrast that with the workman like Bulls and their defense-first coach, Tom Thibideux. Rarely do the Bulls take a night off defensively, and especially at home. They had a surprisingly easy time yesterday afternoon, while the Bobcats lost a tough 96-92 game at Phily.

I make it a rule to stay away from road teams on the tail end of a back-to-back, especially sub.500 ballclubs. Can’t see any reason to break that rule today.

Free Pick: Chicago -7.5 – click here to bet it ($250 Free)

Atlanta Hawks @ Miami Heat -6.5

The King is healthy and expected to play tonight, as is Wade. Bosh might be a scratch, but even without him the Heat have enough fire power to take down the Hawks.

Atlanta has been playing good ball of late, but historically struggles in Miami, losing 14 of their last 15 contests there. Perhaps it is the South Beach nightlife doing in the young Hawks, because there is little other reason to explain the discrepency, as before this year the Heat were good, but certainly not a great team.

The Heat are as good defensively as anyone in the league when they ratchet up the intensity. I imagine they will be fired up tonight at home, looking to stop a three-game skid that included losses to some non-playoff teams like the Clippers.

The numbers favor the Heat, but it’s close. The edge, to me, is in the emotion of the game, I think the Heat bring it, and cover the 6.5

Free Pick: Miami Heat -6.5

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Chris Scheeren / Author

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