Not only did the suddenly-red hot Pistons give us a comfortable cover last night, they won outright, in San Antonio, on a last-second steal and driving basket by Brandon Jennings. It was one of the more thrilling finishes in the NBA this season and is shaping up to be one of the more interesting stories as well (unless you are related to Josh Smith – then the story becomes less-pleasant). But before we get too crazy blaming Josh Smith for all that ails the basketball world (and the before/after snapshot is damning enough), it’s worth noting that before last night, Brandon Jennings was 0 for 19 in shot attempts with five or less seconds on the clock in the fourth quarter or overtime. So… there you go.
No other way to put it – it was an awesome night for a young Pistons team that is clearly feeling confident and playing together in a way they certainly didn’t the first two months of the season. They have the backend of a back to back tonight against the Clippers (no WAY they can finish that off, right? Right??) but no matter what happens, it’s been one of the best weeks since Chauncey, Rip and Rasheed in D-Town.
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Let’s get to today’s free pick.
Today’s Free Pick:
Houston Rockets -6.5 at Cleveland Cavaliers
So the Rockets and the Cavaliers are now the proud new employers of the talents of Josh Smith and J.R. Smith. Wait… is ‘proud’ the right word?? While the Josh acquisition makes a little more sense on the surface; they didn’t have to trade for him, they have some injuries at the 3-4 position, and he had been outright released, the Cavs Smith-dition is a little more puzzling. I voiced my thoughts yesterday, so I’ll just leave it at that; I’m puzzled.
The bigger question is whether either Smith or Shumpert can make any impact on the struggling Cavaliers. Shumpert gives them a wing defender and replaces Waiters whom never quite seemed to fit in with the Cavaliers, and King James’s, desired direction. Shumpert is a good wing defender who doesn’t need the basketball, so he could be the exact right fit for the Cavs ailments. But overall, I just don’t see this trade being a positive chemistry experiment for a team already struggling in that department.
The other trouble is the piling up of injuries. LeBron is sitting again tonight. Kyrie is doubtful. That leaves an undermanned team to contend with one of the best teams in the NBA. A seven point lay-down on the road is fairly steep, but when you account for no LeBron, likely no Kyrie and throwing all these new random players in the mix? It could be a real mess tonight. It’s the NBA, so anything can happen, but the numbers and momentum scream take the Rockets. I’m going to listen.