Road wins are going to be tough to come by this year in the Western Conference. Especially if you bring a depleted roster to town as the Spurs did last night in Houston. Coach Popvitch went “Coach Pop” last night, DNP’ing Duncan and Ginobili since it was the back end of a back-to-back. Which makes sense, because I am sure they were exhausted on the FOURTH game of the season.
Oh well, it ruined TNT’s night, but I don’t imagine it will cause Pop to lose much sleep. The Western Conference road also proved hazardous to a full-strength Dallas team who got overwhelmed in the second half in a road loss to Portland. It’s going to be hard to really figure out who is a challenger to the Spurs until after Christmas. Golden State, Houston, Portland, Memphis and Dallas all look fantastic, and one would expect the Clippers to get back on track. It’s anyone’s guess out West, but it is going to be a lot of fun to watch.
We picked up an easy winner last night with Portland, and we will look to start the weekend off in grand fashion with another winner tonight.
Today’s Free Pick:
Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics -4.5 (Total: 189)
The Pacers are bad this year. REALLY bad. And I’m not sure they are too concerned about it organizationally. After all, they are only a few blocks away from the site of one of the most fortuitous injuries in sports history – the missed Peyton Manning year that led to the drafting of a generational talent in Andrew Luck. I don’t think there is a generational talent (LeBron, Shaq, Kobe, Duncan, Dirk) in this draft, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for the Pacers to be in the mix to find out.
Meanwhile, it appears someone forget to let Brad Stevens and the Celtics know this was a rebuilding year. They have been getting after it, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Rondo is healthy, Sullinger and Green have been excellent and they are starting to get contributions from a future All-Defense point guard, rookie Marcus Smart. Yes they are only 1-3, but they’ve played a tough schedule competitively (close losses to Toronto and at Dallas, and a win over Brooklyn). They are allowing the most points in the league, but they are only asked to stop Chris Copeland and Donald Sloan tonight. Not a tough ask. I expect their defensive to look MUCH better tonight…
Meanwhile, they are blistering the scoreboard. The Pacers tough defensive identity might still be in their head, but without lengthy, active wing defenders, it just isn’t the same. Hill, George and Stevenson might have been the best defensive 1-3 in the NBA. None will be on the court tonight.
The Pacers will sneak a few wins on David West and Roy Hibbert’s pride alone, but most of them will be at home. Tonight on the road? I’ll take the Celtics to have some fun.