Remember when we all thought a Lakers v. Heat Finals matchup was a foregone conclusion? Yeah – maybe everyone was a little over eager with that prediction.
The Heat avoided a sixth loss in seven games; barely. The Heat escaped a visit from the lowly Pistons with an 88-87 win on their home floor. Yes, it is a win in the standings, but it is another glaring example of how far away from dominant this Heat team truly is. Smart fans knew it would take some time for this new collection of awesome talent to gel, but we are well past the halfway point of the season and things look worse than ever…
Meanwhile the champs had yet another home game they forgot to show up for. They’ve already been blown out by Memphis; add Sacramento to the list of unlikely victors in the Staple Center. Kobe had 38, but it wasn’t enough to overcome rookie DeMarcus Cousins’s 27 point, 10 board effort.
I’m not sure if the Heat and Lakers were just a little bored last night or what the problem is, but it is getting hard to ignore the fact that neither team can be considered the favorite in their conferences come playoff time.
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Today’s Free NBA Picks
Charlotte Bobcats @ Los Angeles Clippers -5.5 (Total: 194)
Charlotte has been playing fantastic basketball, including last night’s overtime win over Golden State. However tonight is the back end of a back-to-back cross country West Coast road trip… I’m surprised the line is only -5.5 for the Clippers.
Study the trends and the numbers, and it would be an enormous statistical anomaly if Charlotte were able to eek out a victory tonight in L.A.
For the Clippers, tonight marks an opportunity to capture their eighth straight victory on their home floor. It would mark the longest home winning streak for the Clips since 1993. They are becoming a playoff-caliber team, even though they won’t make the playoffs this year – look for them to handle their business at home and hold off the hot Bobcats.
PICK: Los Angeles Clippers -5.5 (-110) @ Bodog.com <– $1000 sign up bonus
Toronto Raptors @ Minnesota T’Wolves -4.5 (Total: 219.5)
This is easily my favorite line of the night. Minnesota is far better than their record; a ton of their losses have come against the league’s elite by just a bucket or two. They are almost always competitive. Which is a lot more than can be said for the Raptors.
Minnesota is far from perfect – their defense is often terrible. They allow an average of 109ppg, but have allowed nearly 117 per game during their current six-game losing skid.
Kevin Love has been an absolute beast, averaging 22ppg and over 15 rebounds a night. He has posted three 30-20 games already this season; no one else in the NBA has even one. Toronto isn’t a good rebound team and is devoid of a formidable inside presence. Expect Kevin Love to put up even more ridiculous numbers than normal and the Timberwolves to snap their current losing streak.
I like the T’Wolves at home tonight rolling over the Raptors.
PICK: Minnesota T’Wolves -4.5 (-110) @ 5Dimes.com <- $520 sign up bonus