We took a narrow loss last night, only our third loss in fourteen NBA plays, when the Blazers came up short of the cover against the streaking Nets. Damian Lillard almost carried them as I forecasted, but in the end even his 36 points weren’t enough to counter Brooke Lopez’s exploitation of a thin front court. The veteran big man poured in 32 points on 15 of 25 shooting as the Nets pounded the ball inside all night long against the thin Blazers frontcourt. Smart coaching and good execution. Not to mention a nice break for the Nets who are trying to hold off the Heat, Celtics and Pacers for a final playoff spot.
Before we move to today’s free pick – a big congrats to the Duke Blue Devils and Coach K on his fifth National Championship. It was a great game and a thrilling tournament. I’m already looking forward to getting back on the college hoops beat next November…
Let’s start a new winning streak with today’s NBA pick.
Today’s Free Pick:
Golden State Warriors -3.5 at New Orleans Pelicans (Total: 204)
This is a HUGE game for the Pelicans. They have lost 11 straight to the Warriors, but they direly need to snap that streak tonight as they sit a ½ game behind the Thunder for the final playoff spot. Oklahoma City hosts the Spurs tonight, so it is entirely possible that with a win tonight the Pelicans could actually find themselves IN the playoff picture.
But can the Pels win? Even without Andrew Bogut tonight (listed as questionable) history just isn’t on the Pelicans side. The eleven straight losses are pretty telling. So is the fact that the Warriors are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine trip to NOLA. Even though the Warriors have little to play for at this point in the regular season, you can bet they will be eager to get the taste of Sunday’s winning streak-snapping loss to the Spurs out of their mouths. This is a team that seems to like “message games” and I think tonight could very well serve as one; hey, we may have lost a road game on the back end of a back to back, but we are 13-1 over our last 14 games with seven road wins over legit opponents. WE are still the team to beat.
And all of that is true. Their point margin differential this season is ridiculous. They are having a historically great regular season and I think they bounce back with fury tonight. I like New Orleans and love Anthony Davis. It’d be fun to see them in the playoffs, but they are still a year and a guard or two away from ready to contend.
Tonight is a nice chance to let New Orleans know that even IF they sneak into that eighth playoff spot, a whole world of trouble is awaiting them. I’ll take the Dubs, even laying a few points on the road.