How weird is this NBA season so far?
Last night the Indiana Pacers beat the San Antonio Spurs 97-94, and it isn’t even close to the most interesting result of the evening. In fact, it barely squeaks into the Top Three. The defending champion Warriors lost at home. To the Detroit Pistons. Who were on the back end of a west coast road back to back playing against a team that had the previous night off. Huh?
And not to be outdone, the Cleveland Cavaliers got routed at home by the New York Knicks. The Cavs got down ten in the first quarter and never led in the game.
What is going on??? I’ve posed the question several times, “sluggish disinterest or changing of the landscape” but I am not sure we are any closer to an answer. In the meantime, I will be grateful I went with a game that DID make sense; the Bucks beating up on the lousy Atlanta Hawks and Giannis continuing his blissful ascendancy into immortal legend status. Let’s see if we can build on the W and grab another tonight.
Today’s NBA Pick:
San Antonio Spurs at Boston Celtics -3
The Spurs don’t generally drop two games in a row, but the schedule isn’t doing them any favors tonight, dealing them a nationally-televised road back-to-back at a surging Celtics squad. Since dropping the first two games after the shock of losing Gordon Hayward in gross fashion, the C’s have grabbed four straight victories and look like an athletic, deep, and talented basketball team. Kyrie and Horford are scoring, they are getting amazing contributions from young talents Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and given the complete chaos at the top of the league, look like a team that can still contend for a top seed in the East.
Tatum has especially opened eyes. He looked great in Summer League, but, it’s summer league. However, with the injury to Hayward, his role exploded overnight, and he has been more than capable. According to ESPN, Tatum is averaging 15.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He is shooting 50.9 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range. He is making 86.2 percent of his free throws and leads the team in free-throw attempts. That’s some serious Rookie of the Year-type stuff!
Meanwhile, the Spurs got beat in Indy last night without Kawhi Leonard in uniform, and won’t have he or Tony Parker dressed for action again tonight. The Spurs are still a good team, but a back-to-back on the road against a good team without your MVP candidate is a tough ask.
The Celtics haven’t beaten the Spurs since 2011. I think they exorcise a few demons tonight. This is a tough sandwich game for the Spurs as well, with a big glamour matchup against the Warriors on Thursday. Look for the fresher legs of the C’s on their home floor to pull away late.
Today’s NBA Pick: BOSTON CELTICS -3