It’s the week before the NBA All-Star break, and historically this is a week where the bad teams concentration wavers and good teams can rack up a couple of easier wins before the layoff. We will keep an eye out for a few games that fit that formula; particularly if we can get some reasonable lines with good teams hosting lesser opponents. We had another close loss last night, with Sacramento falling a few points short of covering in Washington, but will try to snap our two-game NBA slide with a road winner tonight.
Tonight’s Free Pick:
San Antonio Spurs -3 at Detroit Pistons (Total: 205.5)
The Spurs are one of those tricky teams to handicap because you just never know when they are going to mail a game or two in, rest players, using ‘injury’ to steal a little mid-season rest, etc. Coach Pop has brilliantly managed the minutes and games played of his older core for nearly a decade now, and it is hard to argue with the results. This team was ten seconds away from an NBA championship last year, and despite some well-documented struggles against elite competition this year, are still in the second position in the West and a legit contender to win it one more time.
My point with the Spurs is that you can’t always rely on streaks and trends when analyzing them, because there are several sets of “bad data” in the string. For example, the recent 14-point loss at Brooklyn? Nearly irrelevant. They sat their top four players, so it’s not really a valid entry in the journal. In games WITH their team intact, they’ve been really good against non-elite teams.
Detroit continues to hover in and out of the pathetic Eastern Conference playoff picture, and a large reason is their inefficiency on offense, primarily the sub-38% shooting from shoot-first point guard Brandon Jennings. The Spurs are nothing if not efficient, and that should be a huge advantage tonight. Look for them to take advantage of the Pistons willingness to settle to less-than-good shots and build up a decent lead.
I’d be willing to lay more than three tonight. If the Spurs show up tonight, they should win this game relatively easily. If they don’t, then they’ll lose. The spread isn’t a huge factor for me tonight. I’m banking on the Spurs. They’ve got Duncan and Parker healthy and they’ve had a few days to rest since their nice road win in Charlotte. Lay the three tonight.