Another backward night for me, but I'm always the glass half full guy. It's just the way I roll, and the silver lining from last night is that I banked my last game, so I'm in prime pouncing position to charge into another streak. On a more serious note, though, there is a possibility that we can take something good away from the 2 plays lost on Tuesday. The first one, and I'll get more into it later, has to do with the Mavs, and where they're at right now in the proceedings. The other, and the one that really has to be watched closely at this point in time, is with the Bulls.
It's starting to look like there might be trouble in paradise with the Bulls. This is a good team, with good players, in spite of the fact that they haven't had their leader and superstar all season long, but it seems like things are starting to wear thin. I'm not going to question Derrick Rose...yet! The guy knows if he's ready to compete or not. Or does he? He was supposed to be back by now, but he says he may not play all season. He's participated in 5-on-5 drills since the break and with no apparent setbacks, but he says he's nowhere near coming back. One has to wonder what's going on.
A serious injury like the one Rose suffered requires an awful lot of work just to get the physical part of things back to normal, but it's the mental hurdles that take the most effort to get beyond. I wonder if Rose is having a confidence problem. It almost seems like he doesn't want to come back for fear of not being the player he once was. Or maybe it's just that he feels like if he can't go out there and drop 25 points and 12 assists right from jump, he's not ready to play. Someone somewhere should sit this young man down and let him know this is not the case at all.
You see, it's becoming evident to me that all this uncertainty with Rose is starting to bring the whole team down. These guys on this squad have been hearing since December that it looked like their leader on the court would be back sometime around the All-Star Break. Now, that's all broken down, and it's sounding more and more like Rose is no closer to joining the fray than he was back in November.
The other guys on the team are saying all the right things, but the proof is in the pudding. The Bulls have looked lethargic since the break. I mentioned yesterday, in my analysis of last night's game, that this team has shown that it can't run with the big dogs in the league right now, but we're seeing things in their overall performance, even before the break, that we haven't seen all season from them. Defensive breakdowns are plentiful now, and last night's game was a perfect example of how the Bulls may have entered into a downward spiral.
Talent will definitely take you a long way in any endeavor, but hustle can make up for a lack of talent. Right now, the Chicago is missing their biggest, brightest talent, but the Bulls were able to overcome that for much of the year with their hustle and effort. Last night, they got beat badly in the hustle stats by the Cavs. The Cavs wanted it more. It seemed like they won every 50/50 ball last night, and that's a sign to me that this Bulls team just isn't all there mentally right now. As such, this might be very important down the road as I move forward. It certainly bears watching.
THE NBA (5-3 last night and 12-9 so far for the week)
SU WINNERS (3-5 last night and 11-9 so far for the week)
Kings, Raptors, KNICKS, WIZARDS, GRIZZLIES, ROCKETS, THUNDER, SPURS, JAZZ and BLAZERS
TOTALS (5-3 last night and 11-10 so far for the week)
OVERS - Kings/MAGIC (207), Pistons/WIZARDS (190), Mavs/GRIZZLIES (188 1/2), Bucks/ROCKETS (218 1/2), Hornets/THUNDER (204), Suns/SPURS (198), Hawks/JAZZ (198 1/2) and Nuggets/BLAZERS (208 1/2)
UNDERS - Raptors/CAVS (199) and Warriors/KNICKS (204)
BUTTA (0-2 last night and 0-4 so far for the week)
PARLAY: GRIZZLIES (-370) over Mavs and ROCKETS (-420) over Bucks - It's primarily a numbers game with this pairing. With the Griz at (-7 1/2), I get a little squeamish. They've shown that they can be a good offensive occasionally, but they've also gone cold a lot as well. They'll win games with their defense, and they're way out front of the Mavs when it comes to defense. We're also seeing some of the things that were plaguing the Mavs early in the season come back to bite them again. The biggest of these is that they're collapsing again late in games. Under intense defensive pressure, that can be expected to happen again tonight. With the Rocks, there's just no way I can lay (-8) with them and their defense, or lack thereof. The Bucks did get away with one last night and are on the b2b tonight though, so I fully expect the well rested Rocks to at least get the win. GRIZZLIES 103, Mavs 93 and ROCKETS 124, Bucks 107
ALL THE REST
1. Kings (+1) at MAGIC - I don't think the Kings have given up. I do think the Magic have. Kings 112, MAGIC 111
2. Raptors (-3) over CAVS - A spirited effort by the Cavs last night without Kyrie Irving. He's expected to miss again tonight, and not only is Cleveland on the b2b tonight which is a situation that's not been good to them so far this season (1-6 SU on the road), but it's also their 4th game in 5 nights. Raptors 93, CAVS 89
3. KNICKS (-8) over Warriors - It's been a slow re-start out of the break for the Knicks, but the Warriors are on the b2b tonight and really struggling on the road lately. They also might be a tired squad as well. This is already their 6th game in 9 nights out of the break. KNICKS 107, Warriors 93
4. Pistons (+7) at WIZARDS - The Wiz are becoming a real tough out at home, and I've got them winning this game. I just don't think I'm ready to be laying this many with them yet. WIZARDS 98, Pistons 96
5. Hornets (+14 1/2) at THUNDER - The Thunder seem next to invincible at home, and in most cases, they've overwhelmed visitors to their building. The numbers are what they are though, and since it's a spread that I would have no concern with anyway, I'll follow my projection. THUNDER 117, Hornets 107
6. SPURS (-15 1/2) over Suns - No need to spend much time on a number that's beyond my boundary. SPURS 108, Suns 91
7. Hawks (+4 1/2) at JAZZ - I don't trust the Hawks, but the Jazz showed me they have no heart when they lost at home to a worn out Celtics team on Monday night. JAZZ 106, Hawks 104
8. BLAZERS (+2 1/2) over Nuggets - I think everything is wrong about what I'm seeing for this game. The Nuggets should be the favorite, and it's a short number. The Blazers hung around and hung in there for awhile, but they just don't have the depth, and they've all but fallen out of things out west. This game, in spite of what my projection says, should be another nail in the Portland coffin. BLAZERS 117, Nuggets 113
COLLEGE HOOPS (3-3 ATS/4-2 SU/1-5 TOTALS last night and 10-9/12-7/7-12 so far for the week)
BUTTA (1-0 last night and 1-1 so far for the week)
1. N. CAROLINA ST. (-9 1/2, O147) 85, Boston College 71 - I like the side here with the Wolfpack for a couple of reasons: First, this team seems to be able to run it up against weaker oppostion. Also, B.C. is only 4-9 ATS in their last 13 road games while State is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 home games. Finally, the favorite in this series is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
2. IOWA (-9, O133) 83, Purdue 55 - I'm not overly thrilled by this Hawkeye team, but the Boilers aren't any good, especially on the road where they're only 4-9 ATS in their last 13 away from home. Contrast that with Iowa's 19-7 ATS mark in their last 26 at home and 13-6 ATS record in their last 19 overall, and the fact that the home team is 8-1 ATS in the last 9 games in this series, you can see that the Hawks have to be a play.
3. Oklahoma (-2, O133 1/2) 77, TEXAS 69 - It's been a really rough year for the Longhorns. The Sooners are solid. The trending data for the series favors Texas at home, but I'm going to buck that tonight and go with the better team.
ALL THE REST
1. GEORGIA TECH (-1, U125 1/2) 60, Maryland 53
2. MIAMI-FLA. (-16 1/2, U134 1/2) 80, Virginia Tech 46
3. Michigan 68, PENN ST. (+13, U132 1/2) 60
4. Oklahoma St. (-14 1/2, O120 1/2) 77, TCU 53
5. W. VIRGINIA (pk, U135 1/2) 71, Baylor 61
6. Georgetown (-1 1/2, U123) 53, UCONN 42
7. Louisville 69, DePAUL (+15 1/2, U145) 55
8. PITT (-16 1/2, U113 1/2) 60, S. Florida 37
9. SMU 76, Rice (+12 1/2, O124 1/2) 68
10. TULANE (-5 1/2, U140) 75, Uab 62
11. UTEP 75, Houston (+10, O135 1/2) 67
12. BALL ST. (-4, U136 1/2) 71, C. Michigan 65
13. BOWLING GREEN (-6, O129 1/2) 70, Miami-O. 62
14. KENT ST. (-6 1/2, O138) 87, Buffalo 67
15. N. ILLINOIS (pk, O108) 60, E. Michigan 50
16. Akron (+3 1/2, U137 1/2) 69, OHIO 64
17. W. Michigan (+1 1/2, U136) 64, TOLEDO 64
18. BOISE ST. (-9, U142 1/2) 81, Nevada 57
19. COLORADO ST. (-15, U124) 65, Fresno St. 44
20. NEW MEXICO (-5, O131) 72, San Diego St. 62
21. KENTUCKY (-19, O137 1/2) 91, Mississippi St. 63
22. LSU (-2, U148) 74, Arkansas 58
23. MISSISSIPPI (-8, U133 1/2) 69, Texas A&M 59
24. Georgia (+5 1/2, O112) 59, VANDERBILT 57
25. STANFORD (-4, U135) 65, Colorado 59
26. UCLA 59, Arizona St. (+7 1/2, U141) 56
27. USC (+7 1/2, U134 1/2) 68, Arizona 64
I suppose if there were more games to cover, I would go on, but that's enough for today, don't you think? Have a great Hump Night, and I'll see you tomorrow.