The Miami Heat went to bat for the teammate last night (and us, though likely not as purposefully) and helped Goran Dragic beat his former employer, the acrimoniously parted with Phoenix Suns. There was a TON of bad blood, blood that won’t see to go away thanks to the continued carping in the media from Dragic who seems to be enjoying the setting of the Suns far more than would appear healthy. The game last night was rather uneventful compared to their previous six-technical, three ejection melee, but Dragic (22) and Wade (27) showed flashed of ‘best backcourt in the East’ potential combining for 49 in the winning effort.
There are a few good games on the slate tonight including the Warriors trying to win a back-to-back roadie to push their record to 34-2 against the suddenly dangerous Kings (not sure why I have a funny feeling about tonight’s game – not betting it, but wouldn’t be surprised if the all-or-nothing Kings come up big), and a really good Eastern Conference showdown with the Bulls visiting Atlanta.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Brooklyn Nets at Detroit Pistons -11.5
The Brooklyn Nets were dealt a cruel blow last week when starting point guard Jarrett Jack tore his ACL and went down for the season. Jack is not a star, but he is solid – always has been – and was having a really nice season, averaging 12.4 points and a sixth-best in the NBA 7.4 assists. Even crueler? The injury came in a loss to the Celtics, who own the Nets first round pick this year. So the loss makes it even more likely they will be giving their division rival a top-tier Lottery pick (could you imagine if it ends up being Ben Simmons!!? All for the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett era of magic…)
So things have gone from bad to worse in Brooklyn and now there is talk of buying out one of their last two good basketball players, Joe Johnson. But perhaps the injury will be a blessing in disguise. Their depth certainly suffers, but it is a nice opportunity for Shane Larkin to play and to see if he can be their floor leader of the future. Larkin has been very efficient shooting-wise and is a good playmaker. The matchup between he and Reggie Jackson will be a fun one to watch today.
Detroit has absolutely manhandled their last two home opponents (hence the really wide line tonight), but Brooklyn has given them fits. The Nets have won four of the last five head-to-head matchups and covered four of them as well. In fact, the Nets have actually been a GOOD wager this season, going 20-16 ATS on the year. They have covered four straight road games.
Detroit is the better team. Obviously. And they should win the game and probably will. But I have trouble laying a dozen points in an NBA game on anyone not names Warriors, Spurs or Cavaliers. Brooklyn’s record is lousy, but they have lost a LOT of competitive games, unlike the Lakers and Sixers who are similarly floundering in the standings.
The interesting thing about the Nets, is unlike most teams in their predicament; aging roster, lousy record, no chance of the playoffs, they have NO incentive to tank since Boston owns their pick. They could continue to be that sneaky bad team that catches enough points to cover for quite a while.
I’m banking on them doing just enough to accomplish that aim tonight.