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Warriors vs. Cavaliers Pick NBA – Dec 29th

We took a tough NBA loss last night, with the Celtics winning but failing to cover by a half-point.  Tough luck, but that’s the way it goes sometimes in hoops with a few late buckets, free-throws and even decisions on whether or not to shoot a garbage three or run out the clock can swing a wager.  Today, let’s look for a nice winner that will spare us some of the agony of sweating out the final few seconds.

The best game last night, if anyone stayed up for it, was the Heat’s IMPRESSIVE statement win out West in Portland.  No Lebron James?  No problem.  They had Chris Bosh.  Remember him?  The seven-time All-Star sent a nice reminder that he is still one of the top power forwards in the league with a dominating performance last night.  His 37 point, 10 rebound performance was highlighted by a game-winning three-pointer.   The win kept Miami in pace with the Pacers, easy winners at home against Brooklyn last night, at two games back in the loss column.

It’s the final weekend of the NFL regular season, so most national attention will be focused on the nearly dozen games with playoff implications, but as you wind down from an exciting day – and if Cowboys vs. Eagles devolves as quickly as the last few Cowboy do-or-die Week 17’s – there are a few good NBA games worth taking in.  Let’s break down one for our free pick of the day.

Today’s Free Pick:

The best game of the day is Houston at Oklahoma City.  At first, the line jumped out at me.  You are giving 4.5 to the red-hot Rockets going up against the suddenly Westbrook-less Thunder?   A quick word of caution.  I like Houston right now too, but it is their fourth game in five days and the back end of a back-to-back on the road.  Statistically, the Rockets are a long shot to cover.  Emotionally, it FEELS like the right pick.  I’m taking a deep breath and simply walking away.  You do as you see fit…

Golden State Warriors -7 at Cleveland Cavaliers (Total: 205.5)

The Cavs have been a mess this season, especially in late game situations.  They’ve lost thre of their last four home games with the lone win being an overtime victory over hapless Milwaukee.  Tonight they host one of the hottest teams in the NBA less than 24 hours after a home loss to Boston.

Golden State has won four in a row, and all four over Western Conference opponents.  I think they’ll enjoy a lighter competition load tonight against the Cavaliers.  Kyrie Irving is an All-Star, but the rest of the roster should struggle to defend the Warriors who can score and create at all five positions on the floor.

Golden State is better and they are certainly tougher than Cleveland.  I’ve like how this team has taken on some of the old-school Knicks attitude of their head coach Mark Jackson in the last few weeks.  I expect them to be focused, even halfway across the country on the road, and to avoid a “trap-game” tonight by handling their business with relative ease.

Free Pick:  Golden State Warriors -7