We ran the NBA record to 7-2 ATS last night with one of my favorite plays so far this young season cashing a winning ticket. If you just saw the ticker while you were watching THE BEST BASEBALL GAME IN 15 YEARS, it looked like a no-sweat winner. Boston led comfortably the whole game, pushing to a 14 point lead halfway through the fourth quarter. But then, the NBA happened. Of course, the trailing team made a run – in this case a scary run – getting all the way to up 101-100 with a minute and a half to play. Of course, Boston then corrected and righted the ship and won with plenty of room to cover.
Aside from a disastrous six minutes, the game played out exactly as prescribed. The Bulls on the road, with a stable of career average/below-average shooters were going to regress to the mean. They did. Mirotic was 3-6 from distance. The rest of the team was 4-14 and Butler/Wade/Rondo went a collective 2-10. That’s more appropriate.
That said, it was still a real nice effort from the Bulls on the road against a team many project to be the #2 seed in the East. The Bulls look like a playoff team in the East, even if they are shooting a little unsustainably well.
Elsewhere, HOW ABOUT THOSE THUNDER??!? I still think they get arctic blasted back to realty tonight, but a 1-1 road trip with the Clippers/Warriors on back to back nights is never anything to be ashamed of for ANY team.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors -11
Laying eleven points against a 4-0 team with one of the four best players on Earth is generally a dangerous proposition. But I frankly DO NOT CARE tonight. This game, circled in blood on Russell’s calendar since Durant left him at the altar, is going to mean SO SO much to Russ that I think it has bad consequences. Look for him to get a triple double. And look for him to shoot way under 50% with 35 or more attempts.
Meanwhile, we got a glimpse of what the Warriors can and will become two nights ago in Portland. That was a dominant, all-time great team just beginning to figure out roles and spacing. TO make things worse, they did all that with Klay mired in one of the worst shooting slumps of his career. Assuming he is a ticking time bomb, how on EARTH does OKC guard the Warriors tonight? The strength of the Thunder is literal; their strength. Adams, Kanter and Sabonis are big, tough, and excellent rim protectors. NONE of them can run around with KD when he slides to the 4 in the “Death Lineup,” so two of the three will likely be on the pine at key stretches tonight. Of course, once that happens, who is going to SHOOT and SCORE aside from Russ and maybe Oladipo? (answer: not nearly enough people)
This is a horrible matchup for OKC and I think they get exploited tonight. Add in the fact they JUST won a tough road game against the very good Clippers less than 24 hours ago while Golden State was home and resting, and the Thunder have next to no chance tonight. This is a “schedule loss” without even looking at anything else. Teams do NOT beat consecutive top five teams on the road, especially the second one on the backend of a back-to-back , even if they are a similarly top-five team (OKC is not). It just does not happen. Like, EVER. So the Dubs were winning this thing all along, but I think this is a nice chance for the old-school Warriors to show their new mate KD that they have his back. This game means a lot to him, whether he will admit it out loud or not. A narrow win does nothing to ease the chatter. Only a decisive, devastating, epic ass-kicking will get it done. I trust everyone; Coach Kerr, Steph, Klay, Draymond, AI, the trainers and equipment staff – will be “all in” for KD tonight.
I think Golden State could win this thing by 25 and do it in their typical “over after three quarters, get some rest boys” fashion.