There’s no sense whining over losses in this business. In fact, the longer I handicap and cover sports, the less I am surprised by any result. Metric and analytics help, but there are a dozen or so games throughout an NBA season that just sort of, FLOP. In fact, the only way to get to the winning result in those games was to have broken them down and then completely ignored every single trend, statistic and matchup, instead choosing to bank on “I think they’ll shoot insanely well/poorly tonight for no real reason. Just a guess.”
Last night was one of those losses. There is nothing in the data, trends or matchups that indicates the pacers, 6-0 at home, were going to get throttled by the Suns (one win on the road and 27th in defensive efficiency and LAST in the NBA in assists). The Suns knocked down shots and shared the basketball for a rare occasion and just looked amazing.
Give me the L. But that was a weird one for sure.
Meanwhile, Dallas Mavericks! UGGGH! They scored 62 points last night. At home. It is the second time this year they have scored less than 75 points in a game. And, they lost both. (Just in case you were wondering…)
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Today’s Free Pick:
Minnesota Timberwolves -1.5 at Memphis Grizzlies
Minnesota is, as I have written a few times, a lot better than their record. They are the #2 team in the NBA in offensive efficiency. Let that sink in a second. NUMBER TWO. That ranks them just behind Golden State and right ahead of the Clippers, Raps, Rockets and Cavs. Granted, their #22 defense needs to pick up before they can join the elite teams of the NBA, but this sure LOOKS like a playoff team when you watch them play.
Meanwhile, Memphis looks like a team that used to be a playoff team. The names are familiar, but all have a lot of miles on the odometer with no “second wave” of talent like San Antonio to keep the good times rolling. They are still a slightly better than average defense, but the offense is lousy. And they are going to need points tonight to keep up.
The bigger problem, aside from the talent and athleticism, is that Memphis is an old team that played last night. Minnesota had a night to rest after an easy win over Philly. Look for them to have the fresher legs and to put up enough points to run away from the Grizzlies, even on the road.