Perhaps we are finally getting to the point of the NBA season where teams begin to show what they really are… For example, the New York Knicks had everyone going agog, and even had some radio personalities (John Salley, and a few ESPN guys) saying they could, gasp, win the NBA Championship. The Los Angeles Clippers were perched atop every major publication’s “power polls” after their 17 game win streak, but during that entire stretch they only beat four teams with a winning record and are STILL behind Oklahoma City and San Antonio in the standings after their recent two-game fall to Earth.
Perhaps, once all the dust starts to settle and schedules begin to balance out, we have exactly what we really have what we’ve known we have all along… the Heat and the Thunder. The two best records, the two best team, once again on a collision course for a June to remember…
Let’s get to today’s free pick.
San Antonio Spurs at New York Knicks -1 (Total: 207)
The Knicks come into tonight’s game with an impressive 21-10 record, a healthy Amar’e Stoudamire… and yet a healthy sense of foreboding as well. The bliss has subsided a bit as they are now confronted with two very realistic and difficult problems: the first, for all the talk about Amar’e coming off the bench and how they would be better able to assimilate him into the offense (and defense) this year, NOW it is time to actually DO it. Coach Woodson has a tough call in crunch time, does he go with the offense of Amar’e or the defense of Tyson Chandler??
The second, and more pressing issue, is the absence of Raymond Felton for at least another two or three weeks. The underrated point guard has been the glue helping hold this team together, and he has been sorely missed. The Knicks have lost four of their last six games, including games to Portland and Sacramento. Their only wins were a two point win at Phoenix and a three point win at home against Minnesota. It’s been a rocky few weeks, and it is hard to see HOW they are favored tonight against the Spurs.
San Antonio did play last night, and they are now playing the back half of the back-to-back on the road, but they have been the one team that has been relatively immune to that typical trap. Aside from the game they sent everyone home before playing in Miami (take that Commish!), they are 5-2 straight up on zero days rest.
I like the Spurs, and especially Tony Parker, to have their way tonight and to get the quality win on the road.
Free Pick: San Antonio Spurs +1