If I’m gonna take the narrow wins, I’ll also own the tough losses. Last night’s stung a little bit. Our wager evaporated at the buzzer when Blake Freaking Griffin drilled a game-winning three pointer as the clokc expired in Portland. The shot pushed the Clippers to a surprising 4-0 on the season, and it feels like something might be brewing out in LA. Of course, their thin roster is still all healthy. And they have a LOT of dudes with tough injury histories. Hopefully they all remain on the court all season, but I’m still not quite ready to get on the “Clippers contenders” bandwagon.
Elsewhere, Boston’s veterans, with some help from their young core, flexed some muscle last night, grabbing an impressive road win in Milwaukee. The Gordon Hayward injury is unquestionably difficult, but if both Brown and Tatum continue to emerge, the loss becomes more manageable.
Lastly, Boogie Cousins said hello some old ‘frenemies’ in Sacramento last night by turning in the first 40-20 game of his stat-stuffing career. Tell me that wasn’t personal…
Today’s NBA Pick:
Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Lakers +6.5
The Lakers have actually looked pretty good since their opening night fiasco against their city-mate Clippers. Tonight is exactly the type of basketball game they need to win if they are going to take a step forward and compete for a final playoff spot; a home game against a good, but not elite, team who is playing their third tough game in five nights, and a second out West in three days after a gasser against the Warriors. The veteran backcourt of Lowry and DeRozan is a tough matchup for Lonzo and Clarkson/Ingram/etc. but I think they can surprise some people tonight.
The Raptors have won five straight against the Lakers, but I think you will find a lot of those type of ugly stats falling by the wayside this season in LA for the simple reason, this year’s Lakers’ team has Lonzo Ball and a more mature Brandon Ingram and an interior presence in Brook Lopez. It is a BETTER team than the past two years’ misery, so MOST teams should have fared well against the Lakers of late.
The Raptors are without Jonas Valencuinas tonight, so it will be interesting to see how second-year player Jakob Poeltl fares against the veteran All Star Lopez.
I am taking the points, but I feel some straight-up upset potential tonight in Los Angeles. Maybe I am overreacting to the impressive comeback against the Pelicans and the gutsy overtime win against a comparable Wizards team. But I’ll take the chance with a healthy amount of points and home court advantage.
Today’s NBA Pick: LOS ANGELES LAKERS +6.5