Okay, onto the games for night:
1. Pacers -2 @ Raptors and the under 187.5.
This is a somewhat injured Indiana Pacers team without Granger, but I still how all their pieces fit together. Paul George is everyone’s favorite breakout star, Roy Hibbert is rumored to be very tall, and George Hill once played on the Spurs. How could they go wrong. There’s a lot of love for Jonas Valanciunas on the Toronto side of the ball meanwhile, and maybe he’ll deliver, but I have a policy of being skeptical of Euro big men who don’t play for the Spurs. So far, this policy has rarely led me astray. I’m less excited by Kyle Lowry than most meanwhile as well.
2. Nuggets +1.5 @ 76ers and the under 198.5.
This was an easy pick. Andre Iguodala is my pick for the most underrated player in the NBA (I think he’s a top 10-15 guy in the league), and coincidentally, he just switched teams between Denver and Philly. The Nuggets look ready to breakout and maybe start challenging for the 1 seed in the West this year. The 76ers are counting on major contributions from Evan Turner meanwhile. This is my favorite pick of the day.
3. Rockets +3 @ Pistons and the over 190.
Unsurprisingly, I’m a big James Harden fan. It’s a little late to do a whole rant about how I’d rather have him than Harden, since that’s already been said elsewhere, but as result, I’m very bullish on the Rockets this year. If Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik are actually good, then the Rockets are a playoff team I think. They’ve got potential all-stars at PG, SG and C in that scenario, and Chandler Parsons is a good player in his own right. PF is a black hole however, which is why they’re not a sure playoff team.
This is my 2nd favorite game of the night, since I’m also very excited to see Andre Drummond play. I’m somewhat bearish on Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight’s ability to play actual basketball, but they’re fun to watch all the same meanwhile. I think the Rockets have a chance to win this in a walk however.
4. Spurs -6.5 @ Hornets and the under 188.5
I love the NBA. What a good game this is too. We’ve got the aging, but not really, and still excellent Spurs against the lemon of all lemons Austin Rivers and unibrow Anthony Davis. Plus I kind of like Ryan Anderson. Anyways, I’m on the Spurs here, because as good as Anthony Davis is going to be, I just have to expect him as a rookie to get exposed a bit by the crafty Spurs. I could go on for paragraphs about this game, but there are a ton of interesting matchups here. The only shame is that Eric Gordon’s knees seem to be totally screwed up.
5. Sacramento +6.5 @ Bulls and the Under 189.
This game is a statement game about what you think about the NBA. Do you think talent is what’s important, or is it scheme/teamwork/unity/unselfishness/”The Secret”/Bill Simmons. Sacramento would win this game easily if they played with three or four balls on the court at once. With only one ball and four ball dogs in Isaiah Thomas, Araron Brooks, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans. That’s without getting into the insanity that is Boogie Cousins.
The Bulls meanwhile bring back the team that played better than ever in the regular season without the reigning MVP Derek Rose. Now maybe lacking Rose will come back to haunt them, but it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility that they’ll be able to get past it. The rest of the team remains effective and committed to playing defense, getting open looks, and setting picks. I like everything about this Bulls team except for their total lack of talent.
6. Mavericks +8.5 @ Jazz, and the under 189.
This is the game I feel least strongly about. People kind of like the Jazz as a young up and coming team. I’m not one of those people sadly. I already wrote up the Mavs in my previous post, but suffice to say, I kind of like their overall fit.
7. Warriors +2.5 @ Suns and the over 200.5.
The new look Suns are kind of an interesting team as well. Goran Dragic looked amazing in Houston last year, and Michael Beasley may not be good, but he’ll sure take a lot of shots, which could be fun. The Warriors meanwhile are waiting on Bogut to be healthy for a better defensive presence to meld, but could also turn into something if Bogut does work out. Tonight however, I’m gonna roll with the Dragon.
8. Grizzlies +3.5 @ Clippers and under 187.5.
I hate the Clippers. The problem is that that Blake Griffin doesn’t play much defense, and isn’t quite as effective on offense as people think. Chris Paul might be the 3rd best player in the NBA, but is that enough to overcome a general lack of defensive cohesion? I don’t think so. The Grizzlies “window”, to whatever extent it ever existed, may now have closed, but they’ve still got ZBo, and the taller Gasol, so their defense in the middle should be able to play. I don’t know why I’m on the under here, but I am for reasons beyond my control.
9. Lakers -2.5 @ Portland and over 191.5.
I already gave my thoughts on the Lakers earlier. They might get things together, but a back to back road trip to rip city isn’t going to be the place to do it. I’m actually a bit bearish on the Trailblazers too, and I took the under on their season win total, but for one night, they should be able to show people why it’s called rip city. Damian Lillard is supposed to be a star in the making, and that Aldridge fellow can play. Plus Batum is a thing, right? Uh, I dunno. Anyways, home team, and the lack of the Lakers defense will put this game over.
G’luck, and see you tomorrow.