If you didn’t enjoy the fourth quarter and overtime from Manu Ginobili, you just don’t really like basketball.
The nearly-forty year old Argentinian Hall-of-Famer to-be dove head-first into the Wayback last night and made three enormous plays to get the Spurs to overtime and eventually win on a last-second block on James Harden. The block was awesome. The driving layup over Clint Capella to tie the game late was nice. But the driving right handed jam was simply ridiculous. Great stuff.
Alas, we came up a bucket short of the cover, but I’ll wear that loss and say I got my entertainment dollar out of that basketball game…
The loss snapped a nice little three game run and a 5-1 ATS spurt, but let’s see if we can keep things cooking tonight with a bounce back win in the pivotal Game Five between the Celtics and Wizards.
Today’s NBA Pick:
Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics -4.5
There are two real things at play in handicapping this game, and they don’t agree with one another. Visually, the Wizards have been the BETTER team in this series. They have forged large leads in every game in the series and were a John Wall OR Bradley Beal open-look game winner in Game Two away from being up 3-1 in this series and it FEELING like a commanding lead.
But alas, we are even at 2-2 and the home team has won every single game in this series. Both teams were 31-10 at home this season and both ranked in the top five in home ATS record. It is HARD to ignore the home team in this series.
So which way to go?
For me, I’m going with the larger 200-plus minute head-to-head sample and bucking the obvious pick and taking the Wizards and the points. They seem to have solved Isaiah Thomas after his bananas 53-point Game Two explosion. Thomas contends that much of that solution has been clutching, grabbing and knocking him on his backside. It will be interesting to see if the refs come more readily to his aide at home. It isn’t uncommon for games to be officiated a little differently when the home venue shifts, and perhaps no player in this series will benefit more from a more tightly-whistled contest.
But the problem for Boston, even IF Thomas CAN bounce back, remains the same. WHO ELSE IS GOING TO SCORE? Somewhat lost in the noise of the pushing and shoving, the I.T. offensive explosion and the more flashy series with bigger name teams is the emergence of John Wall as a truly elite point guard. Thomas had the monster game, but Wall has been the best player in this series. If he can match Thomas again in Game Five, Washington has a chance to do more than cover.
It’s not easy to buck the “bet the home team” trend that has some serious muscle in this series, but I am going to take the better team and the points. Washington seems to have solved Boston a little bit defensively. And if I were going to draft every player in this series, I’d take four Washington players in the Top Five. They are a more balanced team offensively and can beat you in more ways. Boston has better depth, but we are at Game Five, so the rotation shrinks. One through eight, I’ll take the Wiz.
Today’s NBA Pick: WASHINGTON WIZARDS +4.5