Yes, the Indiana Pacers are imploding unlike any championship contending team I can ever recall. I ran back through the last thirty seasons and can’t find a team with the best record in the NBA collapsing in as dramatic a fashion as this season’s Pacers over the last four weeks.
But I still think everyone is burying the lead in Sunday’s embarrassing home loss to the 32-41 Atlanta Hawks (and your #8 seed in the East!). Yes, the loss was bad. It was yet another weird non-competitive and listless home loss – but the bigger story is that they had TWENTY THREE POINTS at HALFTIME. That’s not a red flag, that’s a Red Wedding (only dorky Game of Thrones Reference of the season, I promise). The point is, the confidence and psyche of this team may very well be massacred, and I’m not sure it can be salvaged this season. Selfishly, as a basketball fan, I hope they figure it out. Like most of you who don’t have a dog in the fight (like Chicago or Brooklyn) I’ve been waiting for the Eastern Conference Finals rematch since October.
I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll get it…
Meanwhile, the NBA is back in action tonight after taking the night off to watch the college kids settle their championship (a winner for us with UConn straight-up), but are back tonight with six games on the board. Let’s dig into my favorite play of the evening.
Tonight’s Free Pick:
Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat -7 (Total: 190)
The Heat have lost every meeting to the Nets so far this season, but we all know how LeBron and company enjoy making a statement once some doubt is introduced into the equation. And tonight’s game feels a little different. Before, the Nets were a collection of angry ex-Celtics who hated the Heat, but were little more than gnats buzzing around Miami’s championship Giant. Now, they hae emerged as a contender to at least be considered having posted the best record in the NBA post All-Star Break.
So will Miami make their statement and swat aside the Nets tonight? Or does Brooklyn actually have the Heat’s number?
I like the Heat tonight, but seven feels a little big to me. These games have been close all year, including an awesome double-OT thriller in the beginning of the New Year, but I’m more interested in tonight’s total points. The line tonight is MUCH lower than in their previous meetings at just 190. Previously it was as high as 201 and hasn’t dipped below 195 since last year. It feels like a bit of an over-correction. Yes, the double OT game went over due to the extra court time, but the other two matchups this season haven’t been defensive grinds.
Miami has a strong defense, but Brooklyn has been able to score effectively against them this season. I like another game in the high 90’s with the winner to sneak over 100. I’ll take the over tonight, and look forward to seeing which Miami team shows up tonight.