Thunder vs. Cavaliers Pick NBA – Jan 25th

I’m confused. Three night ago I wagered on the Blazers never fearing they’d be without LaMarcus. He sat. They stunk. I lost. Before the game it was announced he would miss six to eight weeks with thumb surgery.

So how the hell did he score 26 points last night in a huge win over the Wizards?? Who is filling out these injury reports and can we get a little smidgen more accuracy please? Seriously, do we need Bill Belicheck to bring some transparency to the process?? Meanwhile, an injury that no amount of ambiguity can rectify happened last night as Brandon Jennings went down in ugly fashion. Nothing official (wink wink) yet, but it’s hard to see him playing again in 2015. Very sad, and it might also be the denouement to the Pistons renaissance…

We lost in the same “heap on the floor” fashion along with Jennings, one of the largest margin defeats I’ve taken this profitable season. Luckily for us, they don’t charge by the point and you only lose once. So let’s get back on it today and cap the week off with a winner. And oh, if you get a chance to watch the three-minutes of magic that is Klay Thompson’s third quarter on YouTube, it’s worth nine minutes of your time. Watch it three times. It’s insanely fantastic.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Oklahoma City Thunder at Cleveland Cavaliers -3.5

We are approximately three more wins away from the inevitable “Dave Blatt has figured it out” and “LeBron and Coach are finally clicking” stories with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The media loves to dig an early grave for celebrities, and enjoys nearly as much filling it up empty and building a pedestal for praise in its place. That’s about where we are with the Cavs.

Their last four games have been undeniably awesome. The eviscerated the Bulls in such a fashion that it led Derek Rose to speak to the media about something other than not playing basketball. They beat the surging Hornets so badly it looked like Duke playing a D2 school in an October practice.

The point is, this team is finally looking like a team capable of winning the East, or at least playing the Hawks for that honor. The JR Smith experiment is working oddly well and the addition of Shumpert and Mozgov actually makes them a significantly better defensive team. Kevin Love is getting a little healthier and all of a sudden you have a team with eight players in the rotation who can all play.

I can see Dion Waiters being WAY too trigger happy today, as he clearly was not parting with the Cavs on the most pleasant of terms and some immature animosity lingers. The Thunder aren’t the most efficient team as is, and the recent play of Serge Ibaka is troubling. He isn’t producing like a star, but he is taking the shot volume of one. We know Durant and Westbrook are getting 40-45 shots combined. If Ibaka also needs 15+, they have some real problems – especially if those shots aren’t on the block.

I wrote earlier this week about the math that would need to sort itself out for the Thunder to get into the Playoffs. I think they are playing like a team that knows the margin for error is super-slim, and they are facing that reality during a particularly brutal part of the schedule. They have played @ Washington, @ Atlanta and now @ Cleveland in the span of five days.

To make matters worse, LeBron seems to like reminding people who the real MVP is. In his last five games against the Thunder he is averaging just under 34 points on just under 60% shooting. If he is even CLOSE to that efficient today, the Cavs win and cover.

Free Pick:   Cleveland Cavaliers -3.5

Chris Scheeren / Author