We moved to 10-3 ATS on the NBA season with another relatively easy winner as the Lakers handled the Suns at home. The game played out pretty much as expected; the Suns had some offensive explosions in the backcourt, namely second-year breakout star Devin Booker who had 39 points, as he, TJ Warren and Eric Bledsoe combined for 80 of their team’s 108, and they got next to nothing from Brandon Knight and anyone on the interior. Meanwhile, the Lakers continue to share the ball (22 assists) and play efficiently, D’Angelo excepted, and moved their record to a pleasant 4-3 on the season. They are still a ways away from being a playoff team, but they are a COMPETENT and COMPETITVE team; far better than all but the most optimistic fan could have hoped for this season.
Meanwhile, the whole “East is catching up to the West” narrative took a big hit last night, as two of its top teams got dropped at home by two non-playoff teams. The Kings won in Toronto and the Nuggets blew out the Celtics in Boston. Huh? Add in the Jazz winning in New York and Dallas holding Milwaukee to 75 points in a game that went to OVERTIME, and it was a really bad night for the Eastern Conference.
Let’s start a new week the way we have steadily handled the first two; win some winners!
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Today’s Free Pick:
New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors -17.5 (Total: 224.5)
Yes, I backed the Warriors with insane confidence in their home game against Oklahoma City and won with ease. But that game was a little different; there was the EMOTION of KD facing his old mates, the imperative of his new teammates to truly support him and have his back. Plus, in addition to all the emotional subplots, Golden State is a terrible matchup for OKC. But laying SEVENTEEN at home on a team that has lost by double digits twice in their first six games and enters tonight just 2-4 ATS.
Meanwhile, New Orleans has yet to win a game this season, and when the public sees a “zero” in the win column, the line tends to spread a little disproportionately. They have been BAD this season. Really bad at times. But they aren’t a completely useless NBA team and they do boast one of the best players in the universe anchoring the middle. Four of their losses are within five points, two within a single possession, so despite the bad record, they have been competitive in most games.
Golden State certainly has the sixth gear they are capable of punching it up and blowing past teams. But aside from OKC, they haven’t really reached that level this season. They are 23rd in defensive efficiency, which could be a welcome respite for the Pelicans who have struggled offensively. They have been good on offense (6th in efficiency, lower than the past two seasons, but still good). The Pelicans rank tenth in defensive efficiency, so another relatively even matchup.
I don’t think this game will be a blowout this evening. The Warriors are a team that can make you look foolish at any time you dare to fade them. No other team in the league has a 40-point beatdown potential lurking so close to the surface and you really never know when the shots will fall and the punishment begins. Alas, seventeen points are a LOT of play with, even if they mount a 25 point lead there is a potential for a backdoor cover against the less-than-amazing new-look Warriors bench.