We needed overtime to pull to 5-2 ATS for the NBA month, but eventually the Celtics prevailed over the Los Angeles Clippers in one of the NBA’s more offensively-entertaining games of the season. The 139-134 thriller was a big night for anyone playing either point guard in daily fantasy as well; Chris Paul finished with 35/5/13, while fellow All Star Isaiah Thomas went for 36/4/11. It was a fun game to watch, and one made even more enjoyable by cashing in a dramatic winner.
Tonight is a ridiculously light schedule – and it makes you wonder what these four teams did to draw the ire of the NBA office. While everyone else is home resting, getting a jump-start on a well-earned All Star Break, the Wizards, Bucks, Pelicans and Thunder will be suited and booted and ready for action. Odd for sure, and not really a “must see” pair of games either.
Oh, and congratulations to George Karl on not being fired (read in a “I’m Ron Burgandy?” voice of perplextion). Vlade Divac announced he will not be firing the embattled coach, but isn’t really the fact that such an announcement is even necessary a big giant middle finger to the coach? Someday they will get it figured out in SacTown, but it doesn’t appear to be anytime soon…
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Today’s Free Pick:
New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder -11
First, let’s say tonight is a conservative play. Weird things tend to happen right before the Break, and this is a line I like, but don’t LOVE.
The Thunder had their six game winnings steak stopped by the Warriors, but got right back to business beating up Phoenix (though not as badly as the Suns beat up each other on their bench last night). This is pretty clearly the third or fourth best team in the NBA, and the gap between them and the 5-29 teams is a pretty wide gulf. It is hard to see the Clippers or Raptors winning an NBA title this year. It isn’t impossible to see OKC pulling it off with a few breaks (namely to Steph Curry’s legs….).
Meanwhile, New Orleans is an unmitigated disaster. This was supposed to be the year they took the Big Leap behind The NBA’s Best Player. It hasn’t worked out that way, for either. Not the The Brow has been bad, he hasn’t – but he hasn’t been MVP-like either. Perhaps it is the toll of having to corral errand rebounds from a cast of eager brick layers, or perhaps it was just a little too much, too soon for the All Star power forward, but either way, this season has been rough. They have shown signs of life, winning two in a row to snap a four game skid, beating Minnesota close and then pulling off an impressive win to snap Utah’s six game winning streak last night.
And therein lies the problem. LAST NIGHT. Now, a day later, they have to muster up a heroic effort to compete with one of the best teams in the NBA in their own gym. An OKC team, mind you, that has been resting for two nights and will be fresh and looking to cap off the first half of the season with an easy win.
I’m a little afraid of the disinterested factor for OKC, but more convinced the Pels will have little in the tank tonight. I’ll lay the 11. I’m not wild about giving double-digits the night before the long All Star break, but it is really hard to see New Orleans having much gas in the tank for their third game in four nights and on the road on the backend of a back to back at an elite team.