Wizards vs. Spurs Pick NBA – Jan 3rd

Not only did the Mavericks take care of the Celtics in resounding fashion in Rajon Rondo’s return to Boston, but the former-Celtic scored a season-high 29 points in the process to ensure the blowout victory. The win helped us a rebound from a tough-luck push and runs the record to 3-1-1 ATS over the last five NBA picks. Today will be largely dominated by the NFL Playoffs, but with a bevy of college and professional hoops, the wonderful week of sports keeps on rolling today.

Last night the Warriors notched an impressive win in a matchup of the best in the West vs. the best in the East went decisively in their direction. The 20 point win over Toronto left little doubt that the East still has a way to go to catch the varsity. And for good measure, Oklahoma City took care of Washington as well. Granted, both games were played in Western arenas, but it still reinforces the reasonable notion that the two conferences are miles apart.

The West gets another pair of chances to flex their dominance at home with Portland hosting Atlanta and the Spurs getting a crack at the Wizards. So will the Western Conference continue to roll? Let’s take a look at today’s featured matchup.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Washington Wizards at San Antonio Spurs -5

The Spurs have looked a little vulnerable without Tony Parker the past few weeks, which is understandable considering their backup point guard Patty Mills has also been out the whole season leaving Cory Joseph the key to one of the nicest cars in the NBA. Predictably, he is driving somewhat erratically. The Spurs closed their first losing month in 16 years, but I’d be cautious in burying them prematurely.

Washington has been excellent this season and appears to have fully made the transition from “young talented team” to “Eastern Conference contender.” Given the problems in Cleveland and the uncertainty in Chicago, Washington has to be considered a legitimate threat to make the Finals. But are they ready to go into San Antonio and win? Especially on the backend of a road back-to-back?? I’m not so sure.

Aside from the fact that road back-to-backs are disaster for nearly all NBA teams, there is the pesky fact they are trying to do so in San Antonio. The Spurs may have had a losing month, but they also played a ridiculous 18 games in 20 days. In addition to injury issues, Coach Pop played the numbers game and drove much of the month with a speed governor. I expect him to play to win tonight.

Washington is just 8-6 on the road. The Spurs are 11-5 at home. The Wizards have lost three of the four against the West on their current road trip and a trip to San Antonio is a tough way to correct what’s ailing a ballclub. I like the Spurs to defend their homecourt tonight and to handle their business.

The Spurs have won 16 straight against Washington. Even without Kawhi and Parker, I’ll take Duncan and crew at home. Bet against the Spurs at your own peril. I’m not tonight.

Free Pick: San Antonio Spurs -5

Chris Scheeren / Author