I had a healthy fear of the Melo/D-Rose Wayback Machine but not healthy enough to stay away from the ever-slumping Knicks. I got burnt. The Knicks seemed to enjoy the ABC spotlight and turned in one of their best efforts of the entire season, downing the Spurs 94-90 to get the surprising straight-up victory.
Meanwhile, the Raptors completely collapsed at home, blowing a double-digit lead to lose to the Detroit Pistons and continue their odd freefall. A month ago, they were looking like the obvious #2 seed with perhaps a little competition from the Celtics – maybe they could even push the Cavs again into at least trying in April. They have lost five of seven and 10 of 14 to fall to just 32-23 and a half-game ahead of the Hawks for fourth place in the East. They still have some time to regain their footing and get back to the #2, but they are looking more like a first-round loser than a threat to The King.
Let’s start a new week off right with a winning NBA play.
Today’s NBA Pick:
Oklahoma City Thunder at Washington Wizards -5
It’s yet another nationally televised game for the Thunder, their third straight high-profile game in less than a week. They had the win over Cleveland, and all the ensuing “will they/won’t they play” drama surrounding the Cavs Big Three, the obvious circus Saturday night hosting Kevin Durant and the Dubs (a resounding and frustrating loss) and now they have to gear up AGAIN and head in to one of the hottest teams in the NBA, Washington Wizards.
It’s a lot to ask. I won’t go as far as to call tonight a “schedule loss” since they had a day off inbetween each game, but it is still a tough three game in five day stretch given the caliber of the opponents and the emotional toll of the weekend.
All emotion aside, no one is getting the jump on Washington in DC these days. The Wiz have a few things to keep an eye on, Wall and Porter are both listed as “probable” so this pick is on the assumption that both go tonight and are little worse for the wear. Injury concerns aside, the Wizards are 18-1 SU in their last 19 home games and 15-4 ATS in the same span. They are 11-4 ATS overall in their last five games and have won nine of ten straight up. This team is ON FIRE and look like a legit contender in the East (at least for second place).
Meanwhile, OKC has lost five of their last seven road games straight up, and while they are 4-1 ATS in their last five games, as I wrote over the weekend, they have struggled a bit when facing top flight competition. They are 6-11 ATS on the road as a road underdog and are 4-13 SU with a -11.3 point differential.
I don’t think they are going on the road and snapping Washington’s mojo tonight. I’ll eat the five points, as it seems like a pretty good bargain for a game I expected to be -6.5 or -7.
Today’s Pick: WASHINGTON WIZARDS -5