My apologies for not getting an NBA column yesterday. Both yesterday and today have been exciting days full of travel disasters and weather emergencies around Chicago – fun times! I apologize not to whine about my day, but simply because was there ever any EASIER money than OKC spanking the Lakers last night?? The media slobbers all over Kobe and the “dumb money” follows the Lake Show all the way to Vegas and lines contract and shrink. That game has obvious double-digit blowout written ALL OVER it… hopefully you were able to pounce on it without me.
Tonight we get back to business with a pair of interesting games. So let’s focus on the matchups and tonight’s free winners.
Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers -9 (Total: 184.5)
We have had pretty good success tagging along for the meteoric rise of the Pacers from Eastern also-ran to “primary challenger to the Heat.” We took a tough loss with them winning but not covering Sunday night against the Bulls, but can’t help but be drawn right back in for tonight’s game hosting Boston.
The Celtics won 109-101 last night in Philadelphia, which isn’t a bad thing, but teams on the back-en d of road back-to-backs… stop me if this sounds familiar. It goes even more so for OLD teams on the back-end of consecutive road games. Indiana is on fire, winning nine of ten with their lone loss coming to the Clippers while Roy Hibbert was suspended.
I don’t see Boston having the energy to combat the defensive toughness of one of the most physical teams in the NBA, let alone on of the best home teams in the league. Indiana is peaking at the right time. I like them tonight at home big.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers -9
Portland Trailblazers at Memphis Grizzlies -7.5
This one is pretty simple for me. I get the better team at home laying a reasonable amount of points hosting one of the WORST road teams (that isn’t a bottom feeder) in the NBA. Portland is a ridiculous 8-23 away from the Rose Garden this season.
Take a look at their average point differentials for home/road splits. Memphis is a nice fat +5.8, meanwhile Portland is an insanely bad -7.8 points per game. I think a red-hot Memphis team that has won nine of ten with the lone loss being AT Miami (the hottest team on the planet) handles their business tonight at home and doesn’t leave much doubt about it.
Give me the Grizz laying the points.
Free Pick: Memphis Grizzlies -7.5