Holy cannoli! Those Clips were just awful last night. This team has too much talent, even without CP3 on the court, to look as bad as they did. The Clips must go fast and attack, regardless of who's in the game, to be successful, but last night, they were slow, and it looked like they were flat-footed, especially on defense. Go figure. We are in those "dog days" leading up to the all-star break, but you've got to give more effort than it appeared that the Clips were giving against the Suns. Let's move on.
THE NBA (2-1 last night and 19-12 so far for the week)
SU WINNERS (2-1 last night and 16-14 so far for the week)
WIZARDS, HAWKS, Pistons, BULLS, Nets, HORNETS, MAVS, Thunder and LAKERS
Looks like a tight game tonight in Cleveland as I'm showing a tie in the Bucks/CAVS game.
TOTALS (2-1 last night and 18-13 so far for the week)
OVERS - Wolves/WIZARDS (186 1/2), Celtics/HAWKS (184 1/2), Rockets/HORNETS (201) and Thunder/KINGS (209)
UNDERS - Pistons/HEAT (193 1/2), Bucks/CAVS (199 1/2), Warriors/BULLS (189), Nets/GRIZZLIES (178), Spurs/MAVS (205 1/2) and Jazz/LAKERS (208)
BUTTA (0-1 last night and 2-2 so far for the week)
1. WIZARDS (-260) over Wolves - I'm pushing the rock uphill for the Wiz. This team is a lot better than their record since John Wall returned, and they've played that way over the last couple of weeks. Even so, laying (-6) on them is a bridge too far for me. I know the Wolves are still beat up and borken down, and it looks like Barea is a little dinged up now too, even though he's expected to play tonight, but I just can't get to laying all those points with a team that's, while they're clearly better than tonight's opponent, still only won 9 games. WIZARDS 103, Wolves 87
2. Thunder/KINGS (O209) - This will be a wild up and down type free for all with both teams getting lots of possessions. The Kings usually don't have much problem scoring points at home, and what I'm banking on here is the fact that Westbrook just had an awful game last time out against the Warriors, so I'm expecting him to bounce back strong here tonight. I was actually taking a look at getting on the Thunder (-8 1/2) as well. They are 18-6 ATS over the last 2 seaons when they're off a SU loss as a favorite, but the way I'm seeing it, if this TOTAL goes where I think it's going to, that many points is a big risk. Thunder 120, KINGS 104
ALL THE REST
1. HAWKS (-5) over Celtics - The numbers win out here. This is a lesser of 2 evils kind of game. The Celtics are old, slow and tired and on a b2b tonight, while the Hawks are a bruised and battered team. So, take your pick with this one. It would be very hard to argue against either side. HAWKS 101, Celtics 87
2. Pistons (+9 1/2) at HEAT - I'm not buying into the projection I have for this game at all, but the Pistons look like they could be a bad matchup for the Heat. Those guys Detroit has in the paint can cause some problems for Miami, and they did so in the earlier meeting between these teams in Detroit. Pistons 100, HEAT 89
3. CAVS (+4) vs. Bucks - Very quietly, the Bucks are moving up the standings in the east, so if there was a game on tonight's schedule that I'd be inclined to go against my numbers with, it would be this one. The Bucks do have a winning record in road games (11-9) so far this season, while the Cavs have struggled mightily in their home games (5-12), and I think the Bucks can control the paint and crash the glass without Varejao in the Cavs lineup. Bucks 98, CAVS 98
4. BULLS (-2) over Warriors - Very dangerous spot for the Bulls here. Not only is Lu Deng "doubtful" again for tonight's game, but the Warriors are coming in with an axe to grind. Their guys, most notably Steph Curry, were totally snubbed in all-star selections, and that creates a great deal of motivation. The projection I have for this game looks like a total blowout for the Bulls, but I wouldn't be so sure about that. BULLS 105, Warriors 77
5. Nets (+4) at GRIZZLIES - This looks like it should be the best game of the night. These teams are about as even as even gets. Lopez, Evans and Humphries inside for the Nets against Gasol (the good one) and Z-Bo for the Griz. Williams and Johnson for the Nets against Conley and Gay for the Griz. The X-Factor in this game could well be Gerald Wallace for the Nets. I've always liked his game, and while Tony Allen is pretty much the same kind of player as Wallace is, I think Gerald can make more of a mark offensively if needed. Nets 82, GRIZZLIES 71
6. HORNETS (-2 1/2) over Rockets - The Stingers may be turning into the Pelicans next season, but they've got some bite right now. They're another team that I may have to start carrying the water for if their recent performance continues. They've won 7 of their last 10 games, and they seem to be playing sound fundamental basketball with good defense and a point guard that's getting them good looks on the offensive end. And as we've seen over the last couple of weeks, the easiest way to beat the Rocks is with fundamentals. The Rocks just don't seem to have too many of those down pat. HORNETS 109, Rockets 98
7. MAVS (+1 1/2) vs. Spurs - It doesn't happen often, but this looks like a bad spot for the Spurs. Neither Coach Pop nor Duncan made the trip to Dallas for this game, and while I don't think it's a "while the cat's away the mice will play" kind of scenario with Pop not being on the sidelines, that is a big issue just in the way Coach manages each and every game. The guys in black and silver have Pop ingrained in everything they do on the court, but there's just got to be something missing when he's not there to grumble at them. Meanwhile, the Mavs have played much better lately winning 5 of their last 6 games and starting to show that maybe they're starting to figure things out a bit. MAVS 100, Spurs 93
8. LAKERS (-4 1/2) over Jazz - Just based on the law of averages, the Lakers have too much talent to lose as much as they do. They're eventually going to "hit the broad side of a barn", and maybe tonight's the night for them. Since 1996, they've owned the Jazz at Staples, going 32-12 SU against them, but one thing that must be noted: The Jazz have won the last 4 meetings between these 2 teams with 2 of those being in L.A. LAKERS 107, Jazz 90
So, we fly headlong into another weekend. It will be our first without football (The Pro Bowl doesn't count because that's not "real" football.) since way back in September. WOW! Have a great rest of your Friday, be careful out there tonight and I'll talk to you again tomorrow.