We got back on track in a major way last night, notching a pair of winners with both road teams, and both favorites, going on the road and handling their business. Cleveland did so with more ease, doing what they always do, frustrating and demoralizing the poor Atlanta Hawks. They now lead the series 3-0 and it feels like about what we always expected, a relatively boring and inevitable march to the Finals. San Antonio’s path was more challenging, as the Thunder fought hard, but in the end San Antonio re-took control of the series. As close as Games Two and Three were, I am still (stubbornly?) firmly convinced this series is not a real threat to the Spurs.
We get two more games tonight, with the series shifting for a pair of Game Threes. But despite the pivotal nature of Game Threes in general, the real drama surrounds one man, and more specifically, one knee. Will Steph suit up tonight or with the Warriors err on the side of caution, correctly assuming this series is in no real jeopardy, and give him at least another few days of rest??
We remain hot in the NBA, reeling off eight of our last eleven picks. Let’s see if we can keep a big weekend rolling with another winner this evening.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Golden State Warriors -3 at Portland Trailblazers
Let’s start by assuming Steph isn’t going to play. I make this assumption for two reasons: one, they would be insane to rush him back in this series when they clearly can win it even without him. Two, the Spurs are looming. Without Steph, they are in REAL trouble. With him, they probably win the Title.
So, logically, it would be INSANE to rush him back. Assuming the Warriors are NOT insane, let’s proceed with this pick as a sans-Steph preview.
And the Warriors are STILL the favorite, and I think they win yet again. Pretend Steph didn’t exist. Just look at these two teams rosters. The Warriors are still way better. Even Portland’s vaunted backcourt isn’t leaps and bounds better than Klay and Livingston. In fact, a full season of “just Klay” could yield James Harden-like numbers with better defense and the occasional consideration of passing. Livingston and Klay is also a nasty defensive backcourt – as Lillard and McCollum are getting to experience firsthand.
Draymond Green is better than anyone on Portland’s roster and I’ll call Bogut and Plumlee a toss-up and Iguodala the best two-way glue guy in the series.
The point is, Golden State is SO MUCH more than just Steph and still the favorite in every game in this series. I think they go on the road hell-bent on proving they can win without Steph, and generally, the Warriors do whatever they set their minds to accomplish.
I’m not really concerned about the three points. If Portland is going to cover, they’ll likely win anyway. If Golden State comes out sharp, they win by eight or ten.
I’ll bet the latter.