The New York Knicks handled their business with style last night in the Garden, trouncing the tired Nets by 30 points to pull within just one game in the loss column behind the Hawks for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. They still have a tough schedule remaining, but you gotta admit it’d be better for everyone; fans, the league – if the Knicks could somehow sneak into the Playoffs to set up a LeBron vs. Melo opening round.
Unless of course you had your heart set on the dynamite Jeff Teague vs Mario Chalmers point guard intrigue…
Speaking of intrigue, does it get ANY better than the Spurs taking their 19-game winning streak on the road to face off against the team MOST people still think is the best in the West come playoff time, the Oklahoma City Thunder?? What does San Antonio have to do to finally get some respect after all these years? Winning tonight might at least change a few pundits minds about who the meaningless “favorite” is, but shy of winning the whole dang thing, I think these Spurs will continue to lurk in the shadows.
So do they make a huge statement tonight, or will the powerful back-end of a back-to-back sap their super-strength tonight??
Today’s Free Pick:
San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder -2 (Total: 208.5)
This is about as good as a regular season game gets in the NBA. No, it doesn’t have the acrimony of the Pacers and Heat rivalry, but it does likely feature two better teams and a much more pleasing brand of basketball to witness. I’m just a little bummed out because it comes with the Spurs, in the midst of their epic winning streak, taking on their chief rivals on short rest and on the road. It tilts the scales a little too far in the Thunder’s favor for my liking.
It isn’t that I like the Spurs. In fact, I find myself remarkably impassive and ambivalent when it comes to the NBA. I like to pick winners and I like to watch good games. So my disappointment tonight is simply that it is an enormous game but it isn’t the fairest of fights.
So I guess my pick is obvious. Give me the Thunder tonight at home to snap the Spurs streak. The Spurs have lost four straight against the Thunder and six straight in Oklahoma City overall. Kevin Durant is averaging 35.9 ppg over his last two weeks. He has traditionally been held below that against the Spurs in his career, but perhaps he has taken that next step against them as well, scoring 36 points in San Antonio in their last meeting, a Jan 22nd win.
I hope it is a good game, but I think OKC will win with some room to spare. Give me the Thunder laying just a scant two points.