Blake Griffin was held to just 12 points last night in the Grindhouse and Marc Gasol responded with 30. That’s about all you need to know about last night’s Clippers vs. Grizzlies game. The Grizz notched their 22ns consecutive home win and have raced out to a ridiculous 12-2 start to lead the NBA. I am still not quite ready to proclaim them the best team in the West. But if they could somehow nab homecourt advantage for the playoffs? Watch out.
Meanwhile the Warriors kept pace in the loss column with a tougher than expected win against the Thunder. They were bailed out by Mauresee Speights 28 points. Perhaps more importantly the Thunder fell to 3-12. While their losses are certainly understandable, at this point in the season the Spurs, Clippers and Thunder are 6th, 9th, and 15th respectively in the Western Conference standings. Is there a new emerging dominance in the league?
It’s getting fun in the NBA and we haven’t even neared the “unofficial start” to the season on Christmas Day…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Phoenix Suns at Toronto Raptors -5 (Total: 207.5)
It’s going to be a tense year in Phoenix. The little engine that could keep winning games; their current four game winning streak has gotten them back into the playoff mix, though despite a pace to win 50 games, their position is tenuous at best.
Meanwhile the Raptors have put together a four game winning streak of their own and are off the best start in franchise history at 11-2. That winning streak includes a commanding win over the Cavaliers, an absolute beatdown of the upstart Bucks and dealing the Grizzlies one of their two losses on the season. They are doing it with tremendous offense, averaging 106.9 ppg, but more importantly they are doing it with stunning efficiency. Everyone in the NBA gets their points – look at the top scorers in the league, many of them come from lousy teams (Melo, Kobe). The good teams are EFFICIENT in scoring and defending.
Toronto is second in the league in offensive efficiency. They simply don’t waste a lot of possessions and have very balanced scoring options. Meanwhile, they are sixth in the league in defensive efficiency. They are going to play tough and smart for 94 feet.
Phoenix has been offensively brilliant as well (to be expected) but things fall off a bit on the defensive end where they are allowing 102.1 points to Toronto’s 94.7. Their defensive efficiency isn’t terrible, but it is nowhere near Toronto.
I like the Raptors at home. They are 9-4 ATS and still aren’t getting a ton of love from Vegas in terms of the lines. Laying five at home isn’t a terribly steep price for a team that is a pretty strong favorite by all the metrics.