Wednesday’s Results: 3-1
All Time Results: 29-33-2, +2.05 UNITS
Toronto Raptors -2.5 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – .25 Units
1. Here we go again. The Raptors are the better team, but are missing their starting point guard. The Thunder arguably need the game more to get out of their recent slump. I don’t buy that the situational factors equal out to a positive for a Thunder. At least not a big enough positive to account for the tight line here.
2. In 56 games before the all star break Paul George shot 45% from the field and 43% from deep. In 12 games since the all star break, George is shooting 38.1% from the field and 33% from deep.
In 49 games before the ASB, Russell Westbrook shot 42% from the field and 25% from deep. In 14 games since the all star break, Westbrook is shooting 47% from the field and 36% from deep.
For whatever reason, it is rare to see both of these players shoot well at the same time. Rhythm is a tricky beast, and I don’t feel these stars have it down right now.
2. Marc Gasol and Jeremy Lin have grown into their roles and are improving as members of the Raptors.
Serge Ibaka’s 3 game suspension may have been a blessing in disguise. Gasol is now playing 30+ min a game and has improved his timing and chemistry with the other starters After beginning March shooting 1/10 from 3, Marc Gasol is 7/16 from range over his last 4 games. He appears to have a solid hold of the starting C position going forward. The opposite of the Thunder, who are trying to figure themselves out: I like teams with rising certainty in their roles.
4. Thunder have won 5 out of 6 in Toronto. But 0 of those games included Kawhi Leonard.
5. Fred Vanvleet has proven to be a fine Kyle Lowry replacement. Raptors improved to 4 & 1 SU & ATS without Lowry recently, with three of those wins coming against playoff teams. Raptors are an astonishing 20-4 overall in games this season that Vanvleet has started.
Miami Heat +9 @ Milwaukee Bucks -.25 units
1. The Bucks are limping to the finish line: only 5-5 in their last 10. During that time, the Bucks have suffered injuries to Malcolm Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic. Giannis Antetokounmpo as well as has been banged up and has missed the last two games.
There are two drawbacks to injuries: 1. Not having the players, 2. Having to adjust your lineups and gameplan both when they players are absent and when you need to incorporate them back into the fold. Malcolm Brogdon I feel is still an underrated piece as to the Bucks success this year. It will be difficult finding the right lineups to mitigate his loss. The Bucks don’t have many other players that can create their own shot & create.
In Giannis’s first game without Brogdon he went for 52 in a loss. He then sat the next two games. In his second game since Brogdon’s injury, I feel there will be creative friction as the Bucks attempt be at their most effective while everybody knows where they want to go with the ball.
2. Road warriors. With their win in San Antonio, Miami improved their league best road ATS record to 23-11, including 17-7 as a road underdog.
New York Knicks +11 @ Denver Nuggets – .125 units
1. The number would be about right to me if both teams had the same schedule coming in. However, while the Nuggets rallied late on the road to beat the Wizards last night – Jokic, 34 minutes, Millsap, 35 – the Knicks have been home for three days and had yesterday off.
2. The Nuggets 5 game win streak has made them slightly expensive in recent match-ups. In those games, they are 2-3 ATS. Their Win/Loss results have been better than expected recently, but outside of the Celtics game last week their performances have been underwhelming.
3. Before their loss Monday to the Jazz, the Knicks had gone 6 straight home games without losing by more than 11, including 3 victories as well as impressive performances against West Coast teams such as the Spurs, Kings and Lakers.