Our two game NBA winning streak was snapped when Toronto failed to cover at home by a half-point. Those are frustrating losses to take, but hopefully some of you were late on the action (if you liked the Toronto play) as more than a few online books closed with the line at -4, which would have eased you into a push. Alas, we will try to find a winner with a little breathing room today.
The oddest NBA result last night, and one of the odder results of the season, came in Dallas where the Indiana Pacers won 111-100. Dallas has been the most efficient offensive team in the league, was playing at home, and was hosting a team whose two leading scorers are Donald Sloan and Chris Copeland. Say what?? Believe it or not, the Pacers have won five of the last seven and now owns ROAD wins over Dallas, Miami and Chicago. Not many teams in the league can boast a better troika. So anyone who wanted to run Coach Frank Vogel out of town last season… R-E-L-A-X, that dude can COACH.
Let’s pick up a nice Tuesday winner and start a new winning streak.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Detroit Pistons at Milwaukee Bucks -3
I must be missing something here. Milwaukee is 7-7, has been competitive in nearly every game and has a deep and balanced, very young team playing high-energy basketball and getting better every night. They are hosting the 3-10 trainwreck Pistons, and are only laying three points?
The Pistons shoot 41% from the floor and have a -4.8 ppg point differential. They are allowing over 97 points per night. They are last in the league in assists at 14.3 (not surprising from a team that shoots such a low percentage, it is often a result of selfish play, poor shot selection and an unwillingness to create better shots for teammates), and only Oklahoma City and Philadelphia rank lower in offensive efficiency. And it is easy to pile on Detroit, because they have some real talent on their roster. In fact, I’d contend they have four players individually better than anyone on the Indiana roster (Josh Smith, Drummond, Monroe and Jennings). But this mix of players simply does not work together.
Meanwhile there is a lot to like about this very young Milwaukee team. Most of the attention focuses on Jabari Parker, but the truth is, his development has been gradual and pleasant, but the development of Antentekounmpo and Brandin Knight have been the bigger catalyst. That and Jason Kidd has them playing defense. They are 8th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, which is especially impressive given their youth and inexperience playing together.
Add those two up, and it feels like an easier-than-expected win for the Bucks. They are the better team playing better basketball and they are at home. I’ll swallow the three and take Milwaukee.