Spurs vs. Hawks Pick NBA – Dec 12th

We had two tough free throws rob us of a fifth straight NBA winner and a nice 9-1 ATS run. Alas, our Pacers pick covered with ease, and despite the Jazz falling a half-point short (unless you were lucky and found the game at -4 somewhere and escaped with a push), it’s still be a really good week of NBA action.

How did the Dubs escape last night? If anyone watched the game, it was like watching a champion fighter who had been knocked to the canvas and was squinting out of one sewn up eye, staggering around the canvas. If you are under 25, you might have to reference a Rocky movie to get a good picture, because they haven’t let fights like this drag on in the last 20 years. Klay Thompson was out with a sprained ankle, Harrison Barnes continues to sit, Steph was WAY off with his shot. And they STILL found a way to win in double overtime. It is hard to see them having ANYTHING left in the tank tonight, especially if Klay can’t go, but I’m still not betting against Golden State. Mere mortals would be significant underdogs tonight in Milwaukee. Golden State is laying points (I believe I say -9 on the few books like betonline listing early before definitive injury news is released – still haven’t seen a total points). I don’t know HOW they cover it at any number…. But they have won all 24 games this season, so…

Today’s Free Pick:

San Antonio Spurs -3 at Atlanta Hawks

So much for former Coach Budenheizer having a tactical advantage facing a familiar foe and mentor in the Spurs and Coach Pop. The Hawks haven’t beaten them yet in Coach Bud’s three years in ATL and have a ten-game overall losing streak against San Antonio. Tonight’s game is at home, but clearly even home court hasn’t been enough to tip the scales in the Hawks favor.

San Antonio enters with the second best record in the NBA at 19-5, a mark we’d be ga-ga over were it not for the madness in The Bay. That projects out to 65 wins and a ridiculously amazing season. They have reloaded on the fly and have gotten vintage Tony Parker performances, albet with lesser responsibility in season’s past. They are 8-2 in their last ten with their only two losses to Chicago and Toronto on the road by a single possession. Kawhi Leonard has emerged as a legit First Team All NBA player at 20/8/5 and elite defense. LaMArcus Aleridge has settled nicely into a 16/9 solid performer – lower stats than he is used to, but a lot more winning, and he has been very efficient in the process. And Parker/Ginobili/Duncan, while no longer “stars” are as good as “supporting cast” as you will find in the league. I can’t wait for them and the Warriors to play in May (hoping, praying, please).

In the meantime, Atlanta has slid back a bit this season from last year’s surprising run at the top seed in the East. The Conference overall is a little better, and the Hawks are just not QUITE as good, for whatever reason. Maybe it is the loss of Carroll, maybe it is the league catching up to their tyle (let’s face it, they’ve always had B+ personnel, just out-executed other teams). They are 6-4 in their last ten. And aside from a home win over OKC, they’ve lost to most of the truly good teams they’ve faced. San Antonio simply OWNS them at this point, and I think they continue their dominance tonight.

The Spurs are rested, having sat Parker last night against the Lakers and rested most of their top players. The sacrificed the Lakers’ game for tonight’s (and of course still won). I don’t usually like road teams on a back to back, but will make an exception given their persistent dominance in this rivalry.

Free Pick: San Antonio Spurs -3

Chris Scheeren / Author