The Nuggets held off the Lakers for a nice road win last night, pushing the Lakers record to 5-21 over their last 21 games and pushing my mark to 6-1 ATS over the last seven. We will try to keep it going this evening on a packed slate of action.
The biggest news from the NBA yesterday was the announcement that Chris Paul will once again have a major surgery. The star-crossed star will miss about two months which all but guarantees the Clippers will fall out of home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs and nearly ensures that a season that started off SO PROMISING that reasonable reporters were asking “are the Clippers now the team to beat in the West?” will once again end well before June.
The biggest story TONIGHT, however, is the drama that is sure to unfold tonight with Oklahoma City and the rematch against Kevin Durant. The storyline between he and Westbrook is a little over-blown, but this game still means a lot to both whether they admit it publicly or not. Golden State is fresh off one of the best team performances of the NBA season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Durant’s teammates respond similarly tonight. They seem to intuitively understand how much situations MEAN to their teammates, and I know this night will be emotionally-charged for KD… They’ll get his back.
Today’s Free Pick:
Portland Trailblazers at Charlotte Hornets -4.5
The Hornets have slumped lately, falling to 20-21 after a start that looked like they could be a Top Four team in the East. They have dropped five in a row and six of seven overall.
BUT, their last five games were on the road and the home loss prior came against the Cavaliers. Overall this season, they are 12-7 at home and seem poised for a nice bounce-back win tonight. Part of that is just the normal evening out of the schedule after a tough stretch, and part of it is the road failings of the Trailblazers. Portland is just 7-16 on the road, and though they have a good shot to make the playoffs, they are clearly the eighth-best team in the West and a long way behind the seven legit playoff teams.
Portland is also dreadful as a road underdog. They are 5-9 ATS in that spot, and more convincingly, they are -11.4 ppg in those games, so they haven’t been particularly close to covering in most instances. I think tonight is a big-time frustration venting for the Hornets as the finally get to come home and have a lousy road team visiting them.
Look for Charlotte, a good home favorite, to handle their business tonight and to get back on track with a comfortable win.