The big news in the NBA yesterday was new Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to send “blown call” reports to every NBA team. Mark Cuban is happy and lauded the new “transparency” but I think I am a little less enthused. What’s the point? A giant printed mea culpa that impacts…. Exactly. Impacts NOTHING. I love the NBA and often grow tired of the ridiculous conspiracy theories altering competitive balance. Because nothing makes MORE sense than the NBA rigging their league so the worst teams are the Lakers, Celtics and Sixers while big city giants like Oklahoma City and Indiana enjoy prominence.
Much more than seeing some blown calls on paper, I’d like to stack some wins up on paper. My worst month in four years took another blow last night with a rare Timberwolves “A” effort on the road took down my favored Suns. It’s personally frustrating, and though I have plenty of time to avoid my first losing basketball season in more than four years covering both NBA and NCAA here at thesportsgeek.com, it’s unusual territory to be flirting this dangerously with that perilous line.
So, that said, let’s get after it tonight and turn the tides. There’s a few decent games on the board to choose from, so let’s start with one that ONLY a wagerer could stomach…
Today’s Free Picks:
Orlando Magic -3.5 at Philadelphia 76’ers
The battle of who cares less. And over the last month it has been difficult to dream of any team caring less or playing worse than the 76’ers. I think I’d take Maurice Cheeks, Moses Malone and Dr. J TODAY over this current collection – though I understand the logic of hitting rock bottom this season in a loaded draft.
And while the same strategy would behoove the young Magic as well, there has at least been a little fight in them. They’ve knocked off OKC and Indiana this month and have played competitive basketball. Their troubles have been on the road (yes, they are on the road tonight) where they are a hilarious 3-27. That’s bad beyond understanding.
So which is more powerful tonight, the Magic’s road ineptitude or the Sixers complete indifference?? I’ll go with effort over prior results, and take the Magic to be simply unable to lose tonight.
Brooklyn Nets at Portland Trailblazers -2.5
From the unwatchable to the delightfully interesting; the struggling but still only 4.5 games out of first in the West Blazers host the suddenly-surging Brooklyn Nets. Since Jan 1st, Brooklyn has actually been a far better team than the Blazers. Portland might be getting a little tired – they rely heavily on young players who may not be as accustomed to the pacing of an NBA season, or it could simply be a regression to the norm. NBA teams don’t usually go from outside the playoffs to the #1 seed in the span of one year. It’s a building process.
For the Nets, it has been a building process of a different type as they’ve attempted to blend very aging veterans and former stars into a homogenous group who can make one last run at glory. Perhaps they are hitting their stride at the right time.
Portland is just 5-5 in their last ten games and is likely without superstar LaMarcus Alderidge tonight. If he sits officially, look for this line to move a bit, so keep an eye on it. Even if he plays, I like Brooklyn tonight on the road with L.A. banged up.