Thursday’s Results: 3-0
All Time Results: 37-44-2, +1.07 Units
Dallas Mavericks +7.5 @ Oklahoma City Thunder 1st Half- .5 Units
1. Two teams in polar opposite positions, moving in polar opposite directions. While the Mavericks are gelling with their hodge-podge roster & celebrating Dirk’s farewell tour, the Thunder have been a shell of themselves since the All-Star Break. The Mavericks are playing loose and having fun, while the Thunder are playing tight, desperate to re-establish their identity before the playoffs. Much like their recent road games against the Warriors & the Heat, I expect the Mavericks to be the bombing away unconsciously to begin the game, while the Thunder continue to struggle to find a clear offensive strategy in the half court.
Dallas is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 1st Halves.
Dallas is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 road games.
OKC is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games.
2. Oh Paul George Where Are Thou?
Since the All-Star Break Paul George has shot under 40% from the field and under 33% from deep. This after posting career highs in these categories before the break. More telling is that his +/- has gone from +11 to -2 since the break. An eminently winnable game here against the Mavs, this game will be a great opportunity for George to fire & keep firing to shake off his recent rust. If George is firing early to try regain his stroke, I like the Mavs to key off this tendency and frustrate the rest of the Thunder offense, making this a tighter affair than it should be.
Los Angeles Lakers +4 @ New Orleans Pelicans – .25 Units
1. Why is LeBron James resting when his next game of consequence is in October? Several reasons: a primary one is to allow the also-ran Lakers to distinguish themselves and possibly increase their trade value. These are some of the same players that the Pelicans will consider exchanging for Anthony Davis over the summer.
2. The Pelicans woes are almost irrespective of the talent level their facing. They challenge the Jazz and get worked by the Hawks just the same. New Orleans is 4-11 ATS in March, including 1-6 ATS at home. The Smoothie King Center might as well be a neutral at this point – as the fan-base is apathetic to their current squad and disgusted by their management.
3. Anthony Davis is probable according to the injury report. However, the last two games he was listed as probable he didn’t even suit up for the contest. I expect the same here, with all the swirling tensions between New Orleans and LA at the moment. Given Davis sits, this may be the last game in Rajon Rondo’s career that he is the best player on the court. He has shown up for games against his former teams on many occasions and I expect him to show out in this contest as well.
Golden State Warriors -4 vs. Charlotte Hornets 1st Quarter – .25 units
Warriors are only 1-9 ATS in their last 10 at home games. As has been well documented – much of their home struggles has to do with the fact that other teams simply bring more energy into their match-ups at Oracle than do the defending champions. I do not expect the Hornets to play harder than the Dubs in this tilt, however, for 2 reasons. 1. The Warriors have an ax to grind with the league. With the officiating controversy swirling around the end of their last game in Minnesota, I like the Warriors to start this tilt with aplomb. 2. The Hornets will be deflated as their playoffs hopes have drifted. Also, the jolt the Hornets received from starting their young players over their veterans has now worn off.
Golden State Warriors vs. Charlotte Hornets Under 229.5 – .25 units
The Under is 7-3 in the last 10 when GSW plays in Oakland. The Under is 4-1 in the KD era when the Hornets play the Dubs. I especially like the Warriors here to smother the deflated Hornets, who are all but officially out of the playoff race. Klay Thompson will keep Kemba Walker in check. And the other Hornets – as they have all season – will keep themselves in check. Keep cashing them checks, Nicholas Batum!
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Clippers Over 113.5 1st Half – .25 units
1. Clippers will dictate pace. Flying into the playoffs, the Clippers are playing their best basketball of the season as of late – ripping off 11 wins already in March.
Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari got to rest Saturday. Gallinari will be the best player on the court to open and the game and Sweet Lou will use his extra day of rest to feast off a Grizzlies second unit that is a long way away from Tony Allen and the grit & grind days.
2. Grizzlies, in general, are hard pressed to prioritize team results – i.e. defense – as this roster is set to be rebooted in the near future.
“You try to keep everybody locked in on that one goal,” said Grizzlies Point Guard Mike Conley Saturday. “But we do understand that there are so many guys that are here that are new and some guys that won’t be here come next season”.
Grizzlies players will get out in transition and score to pump up their statistics. They won’t play as hard getting back on defense.
3. I like the 1st half here – as I expect there is a good chance the Clippers will be salting away the game with a large lead in the 4th. And I don’t trust the Clippers or the Grizzlies to keep firing with the same voracity once the game is decided.