The Nets looked like a good play for about 44 minutes last night before completely folding down the stretch and giving away the cover late. There was no such drama in the San Antonio vs. Portland matchup where it is abundantly apparent that the Spurs are far superior and that the Blazers, as fun as they are to watch and as talented as their young stars may be, are just not quite ready to join the NBA’s elite team discussion.
Game Threes commence tonight with both series knotted at one apiece as the home court shifts now to the challengers. Both the Wizards and Clippers are healthy favorites tonight, so will each hold serve and maintain the home court advantage they wrested away?
Let’s dig into tonight’s free picks and see if we can notch a few winners to start the weekend.
Tonight’s Free Picks:
Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards -4.5
Are the Pacers back?? More important, is anyone else tired of answering (and asking) that question? Yes, Roy Hibbert broke free from the witness protection program to turn in a career-best playoff performance Wednesday night, but I don’t think it is realistic to expect 28 and 9 from him again any time soon. Even when he is going well, he is not really an offensive focal point for the oft-sluggish Pacers offense.
But I do think that some of the non-basketball issues that have surrounded this team are starting to subside. That means they can focus on basketball again first and foremost, and when they do that, they are a pretty good team. I’m not sure they win tonight in Washington, but I do know the Wizards are one of those rare teams that aren’t much better at home than they are on the road. They don’t have a raucous home court advantage (they didn’t sell out for Game Four against Chicago last series), but they do have a blossoming roster of good young talent.
This is an interesting game; which Pacers team will we get tonight? Their trend this postseason has been good game/bad game, which wouldn’t bode well for them tonight, but I am going to buck the trends on last time and bet on the Pacers to have left some offcourt distractions behind and play well tonight on the road.
Perhaps Roy Hibbert’s homecoming to DC can indeed be a happy one now that he won’t be arriving after a double-zero performance. Give me the Pacers to at least cover the 4.5.