I was listening to a FOX Sports Radio show two nights ago, and two of their broadcasters were talking about the young NBA season and giving some analysis and perspective; mostly on the Lakers surprising hiring of Mike D’Antonio, when one of them, I believe John Salley, let loose with, “it doesn’t matter because the New York Knicks are winning the NBA Championship.”
I waited for the punchline, or a joke about how fans overact early in the season, but he was in fact quite serious. He went on to cite reasons, the foremost among them being Rasheed Wallace. The same Rasheed Wallace who was RETIRED last season. Look, through five games the Knicks have looked good. They have shared the ball reasonably well and have played excellent defense. But NBA Champs?? Come on now, let’s get serious.
I’m not sure they are even going to wind up being the second best team in the East. In fact, it seems entirely possible to me they could go home in the first round of the Playoffs – maybe by one of the two teams that square off in tonight’s featured pick.
Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets -3 (Total: 192)
The Nets seem to finally be settling in to their new digs in Brooklyn’s Barclay Center and are finding some chemistry from their new-look lineup. The enter tonight winners of three straight, all by comfortable margins (granted against Orlando and Cleveland), and playing good basketball. Matchup-wise they are precisely the type of team that gives Boston trouble. They are capable at every position, with a big, strong point guard who can make Rondo work on both ends of the floor. They have a big man who can occupy KG and score points in the paint, and they have a big, athletic and strong perimeter inside-out scorer in Joe Johnson who can wear down Paul Pierce.
They are built similarly to Boston, only they have the perimeter shooting that Boston seems to be sorely missing with the departure of Ray Allen. The Celtics have gotten off to a decent start as well and also enter on a three game winning streak. If this game were played tomorrow, and in Boston, I’d like their chances to win a great deal. However, the game is in Brooklyn and it is less than 24 hours after their hard-fought 98-93 victory of a good Utah team.
Old teams, and say what you will about the draft, Boston is an OLD team, tend to fare poorly on the back-end of back-to-back’s, especially when they are playing team with some talent on the road. That’s exactly the case tonight. Give me the younger, fresher legs of the Nets laying the three points.
Free Pick: Brooklyn Nets -3