Not a good night for the Nets, or me, on Monday, and that could end up really hurting Brooklyn in the long run. With them bearing down on the Knicks in their division, that was a very winnable game that they should have won, but didn't. I know teams are going to have bad nights. They're going to go cold with their shooting percentage, they won't get anything from their bench, and both of those happened to the Nets last night. There's nothing we can do about that. It's going to happen to even the best teams occasionally.
The biggest problem for the Nets last night, however, was that they compounded their mechanical shortcomings by getting outworked and outhustled by the Sixers. That can't happen if you're trying to chase a division title because no matter what happens with your FG% or any of the other key stats in any individual game, the good teams can often mask those problems with max effort. The Nets didn't give it last night, and they paid for it. What's worse than that though, is that so did I. We move on.
THE NBA (3-2 last night and 8-6 so far for the week)
SU WINNERS (3-2 last night and 8-6 so far for the week)
Celtics, Lakers, Wizards, NETS, HEAT, Mavs, Spurs and Grizzlies
TOTALS (3-2 last night and 9-5 so far for the week)
OVERS - Lakers/MAGIC (208) and Grizzlies/BLAZERS (185 1/2)
UNDERS - Celtics/BOBCATS (188 1/2), Wizards/CAVS (190 1/2), Hornets/NETS (185), Hawks/HEAT (197), Mavs/BUCKS (208) and Spurs/WOLVES (195 1/2)
BUTTA (0-1 last night and so far for the week)
Lakers (-8) over MAGIC - It's a big number, but I can't resist pulling the trigger on this game. In past years, this might be the kind of opponent the Lakers would slough off. Not this season though, and not at this point in the season either. Part of the reason for the Lakers resurgence is not only the improved contribution from Howard, but they're also playing better defense as well. I think they put the clamps down on a normally punchless Magic team and run away with this game. Lakers 120, MAGIC 105
ALL THE REST
1. Celtics (-10 1/2) over BOBCATS - The 'Cats certainly don't have much going on, but I'm glad this number is where it is because, with doubles, I can completely disregard this game and not have to make a decision on it. Cetlics 96, BOBCATS 84
2. CAVS (+1) vs. Wizards - Taking a look at the projection for this game between 2 lottery, but improving, lottery teams and seeing that it lays right down on the posted number, I have to lean toward the home team. Wizards 88, CAVS 87
3. NETS (-6 1/2) over Hornets - This is another team that the Nets should be able to take advantage of, and I think last night's ambush in Philly will ensure the Stingers will get Brooklyn's full attention tonight. The Nets will do so, however, without any of my money being involved. NETS 95, Hornets 82
4. HEAT (-10 1/2) over Hawks - Once again, another number that allows me to totally diregard the matchup and the situation and not have to make a fiscal decision either way. HEAT 98, Hawks 84
5. Mavs (+1 1/2) at BUCKS - The Bucks are on a bit of a surge right now, but the Mavs are hanging in there as well. The only thing to do in this situation is to follow the numbers. Mavs 103, BUCKS 97
6. Spurs (-9 1/2) over WOLVES - The projection certainly makes this one look like a rout, and it might well end up turning out that way. This is a bad spot for the Spurs though. Fresh off a dominating win over the Thunder last night, they have to hit the road to play a team that they know isn't good enough to tie their shoelaces. I think it's important to note also that I went back and checked out the Wolves in home games off a home game where they got totally obliterated as Minnesota did on Sunday by the Mavs. In those situations, the Wolves are 3-1 SU, and in the game they lost, they only fell by 6 points. Be very careful here. Spurs 103, WOLVES 77
7. BLAZERS (+1 1/2) vs. Grizzlies - The Blazers are doing the best they can to hang in there in the playoff chase out west, but the Griz are in a real good groove right now. This is the toughest game on the board tonight to handicap, and it might end up being the best game of the night. Grizzlies 98, BLAZERS 97
COLLEGE HOOPS (1-3 ATS/3-1 SU/4-0 TOTALS last night and 5-7/9-3/6-6 so far for the week)
BUTTA (no play last night and 1-0 so far for the week)
Seton Hall (pk, U115 1/2) 57, S. Florida 46 - I'm going to admit right now that this is a bit of a risk, but I think I'm on the better team here, and all they have to do is win the game. I haven't seen every minute of every Big East game that Seton Hall has played this season, but one thing I have noticed about this squad is that they play hard. They kick, scratch and claw and have been in most of their games against the big boys in the conference. They just haven't had the legs to carry things through for a full 40 minutes against those better teams. That shouldn't be a problem against S. Florida as the Pirates are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against the Bulls.
ALL THE REST
1. Rutgers (-3 1/2, U143 1/2) 74, DePaul 67
2. Wyoming (-3, O119 1/2) 64, Nevada 60
3. San Jose St. (+4 1/2, U126 1/2) 63, Tex.-San Antonio 62
4. Seattle (-3, U145 1/2) 68, Texas St. 60
Before I cut and run for today, I want to mention the fact that there might be something going for me tonight in that UTSA/San Jose St. game tonight, but it would require me to go against what the numbers tell me for the game. You might recall that those 2 teams were supposed to play last week, but the game was cancelled due to a leaky rook in San Jose. The crazy thing about it is that I had the Roadrunners 17 points better than State for that game. It doesn't make any sense that the Spartans are showing 1 point better on a neutral floor, but in consideration for the fact that this is not a home game for either team, I'm using the stats from the last 4 games that each team played on the road to end the conference regular season. What I'm noticing is that San Jose's last 4 road opponents were much "lighter" than what the Roadrunners faced. I'll let you know.
Have a terrific Tuesday! I'll see you tomorrow.