The NBA returned after an off-day, and the day of rest seemed to restore order in the basketball universe. The top teams absolutely dominated; the Cavs and Warriors won by a combined 54 points. The Clippers lost a game to allow Golden State to slide back atop the standings in the West and the Spurs and Raptors won road games over decent opponents to slide into second in the respective conferences.
And a quick note on the Dubs. I have already mocked the early season hand-wringing over their pair of losses, and will do so one more time. They have now won ten straight, and VERY quietly, are back on pace to win 72 games. A win tonight at home against the Timberwolves would put them back on pace for, yup, an own-record tying 73 wins.
They are still really, really good. And nothing short of catastrophic injury (no, Draymond’s ankle last night doesn’t count) will prevent Cavs vs. Warriors III.
Today’s Free Pick:
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Detroit Pistons at Oklahoma City Thunder -4 (Total: 205)
This is an interesting spot, as both teams played last night; both won including the Pistons really impressive win over the Clippers, and both have scheduling oddities in that the Thunder were on the road and the Pistons were at home, so BOTH had to travel for tonight’s back to back. “Thanks, NBA!” said no one on either squad…
SO I think the edge from OKC being at home is negated by the travel and by the overtime game, and Detroit’s disadvantage from being on the road for the back-end is somewhat dissipated as well. Let’s just handicap this one straight up. The Thunder are the slightly better team overall and have a clear advantage in the “best player on the floor” department with Russell Westbrook. Detroit generally has some interior advantages with Drummond, but the trio of Adams, Kanter and Sabonis give OKC plenty of size, defense and rebounding to negate that edge as well.
And the kicker – Detroit is 1-7 SU on the road this season and an equal 1-7 ATS. They are 7-2 ATS at home; also mirroring their straight-up record. That tells me the spread doesn’t impact the result too much. The Pistons either WIN or LOSE, and on the road it is predominantly the latter.
Expect the trend to continue tonight with the Thunder having just enough gas to push the win into cover territory in the fourth quarter to continue to the Pistons extreme road woes.