When is a ‘message game’ really a message, and when is it just some interesting media fodder while we drag through the last two months of the regular season?
I’m not answering the question as much as I’m seriously posing it. Does last night’s Cleveland loss at Atlanta matter? At all? A little bit? Our eyes can be very powerful and deceptive, because it is hard to watch last night’s game and NOT be impressed with Atlanta’s, and especially DeMarre Carroll’s) defense on LeBron. It’s hard NOT to be swayed by the Cavs turnover-fest and the Hawks seemingly greater maturity and poise. It’s hard not to proclaim THE HAWKS WILL WIN THE EAST!
Deeeeeep breath. Because it was also hard not to take the Pacers seriously the last two years after some epic regular season wins. And it is also worth remembering that nearly every NBA champion loses once, twice and sometimes even three times, often on the road as the Cavs were last night, the team they eventually vanquish in the same series en route to glory.
It’s a nice win. It establishes the Hawks as the clear one seed.
But it still doesn’t stop LeBron from being the perceived Eastern Conference favorite.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Washington Wizards at Milwaukee Bucks -4
The Wizards had won a league-worst three games since January 28th. So you can understand their feeling of happiness when they forged a 35-point lead over the Heat in the third quarter last night. And then the Wizards went Wizards and magically vanished. The end result was a hard-to-be-happy if you weren’t SO desperate for ANY win 99-97 victory that need a Michael Beasley buzzer beater attempt to bound off the rim to survive. Just the fact that you are in a two point game against a team that has MICHAEL BEASLEY taking the final shot tells you all you need to know. The dude wasn’t even on the CONTINENT three weeks ago.
Anyhow. It’s gotten that bad in Washington. So why on Earth would anyone bet real money on them to win the back end of a back-to-back on the road against a playoff team? That wasn’t rhetorical. Why in the world…
Milwaukee isn’t the 2000-2001 Lakers but they are a solid ballclub that defends with toughness and plays well at home. Washington is 10-19-1 ATS on the road and 2-8 in their last ten overall. This is more a play AGAINST Washington than a play FOR Milwaukee. Think of it like shorting BP stock after they dumped a couple hundred million gallons of crude into the Gulf. It’s just a little too easy to pass up.