Today we got three games, all very interesting ones and I will give my opinion on all three games.
Brooklyn Nets – New York Knicks
The New York derby. Both teams come to this game far from the positions and the records they thought they will have today.
Nets and Knicks both considered themselves as title contenders, especially the Nets that adopted the “win now” philosophy, acquiring the aging stars Garnett, Pierce and Terry from Boston.
They thought that addition of the three veterans, together with Kirilenko, that will join the stars of the team, Lopez and Williams, will be enough to really have a shot at the title.
The reality was completely different. 5 – 13 record and third from last position in the Eastern Conference.
It’s hard to point the exact problem with the Nets. Is it the inexperienced coach, Jason Kidd that went from active player to head coach over the summer, without any coaching experience, the many injuries that the team had or the natural decline of the aging stars that were suppose to give the needed help and failed to do so?
The answer is probably a little bit of all the reasons mentioned above.
But, the reality is sad and one that Nets just can’t agree to.
This is the team with the highest salary cap in the league and should be, even with all the problems, much higher in the positions than the one they currently hold.
All of that, no doubt, makes things even worse.
Lawrence Frank, highest paid assistant coach in the league, was practically fired (officially he was only removed from his position on the bench).
Nets have very little pressure hold and they fold the moment that things start going bad for them during the matches.
7 of their 13 losses came in double digits. Only once did they manage to cover the spread in a game that they lost in (against Clippers), but they are 5 – 0 ATS in the games they won.
The reality is simple – when things go well, they manage to get things done. When things don’t go their way, they simply can’t turn the ship around during the games.
Is there a way to correct it? I’m sure there is, but that will be a very long article and it’s not important right now.
Bottom line for us as bettors for this game is simple – can the Nets turn things around today, at least for one game.
As for the Knicks, things look even worse for them. 3 – 13 record is the second worst record in the league and they share with the Bucks the lowest number of wins this season so far (3).
They come to this game carrying 9 games losing streak that they want to end badly.
Surprisingly enough, they aren’t that bad on the road, going 4 – 4 ATS so far and 2 – 6 SU, so they are better on the road than at home, where they hold 0 – 8 ATS record and 1 – 7 SU.
What goes in their favor is the simple fact that they appear to have much stronger locker room than the Nets. It’s the same core of player (mostly) from last season and they stand behind their coach and try their best to turn the ship around (not sure we can say the same thing about the Nets).
Knicks and Nets see this game as turning point. A win in the derby, can symbolize the rebirth of the team for this season.
Knicks can stop the losing streak, Nets can view this as a chance to state that they are here and that they were counted off too early.
It’s very hard to say, which team will win this game. Knicks have better locker room and that’s usually the key, but Nets have better roster (even with the injuries) and at home, in big games, they usually gave a good fight (against Heat and the Pacers).
One thing I’m sure about and that is that both teams will approach this game as the most important they have this season, at least up to this point.
That should mean a lot of defense, grind and the team that should win it, is the one that wants it more.
Playoff atmosphere so to speak.
In such conditions, we should expect a game that will be below their averages (the total sits on their averages exactly).
I would consider betting the Under here.
Miami Heat – Chicago Bulls
Another interesting match. Bulls and the Heat been each other’s nemesis for many years now.
If I had to pin point the beginning of the rivalry, I would say it was in 2006, when Bulls beat the Heat in the ring awarding game in the beginning of the season, the season that ended for the Heat with Bulls sweeping them in the first round of the playoffs.
Since then, a lot of bad blood was between the two teams, including playoff battles, trash talks by Noah and last season, Chicago was the team that stopped amazing Heat winning streak and to top it, they managed to win Game 1 in Miami, in the second round of the playoffs, despite being heavily injured and playing almost with half a roster.
This is not another game for both teams and the teams know that.
The fact that both teams come after losses (Bulls lost in a triple OT game at home against Pelicans, while the Heat lost at home against Detroit), suggest that they will take this game even more seriously today.
Heat are the natural favorites and for a very good reason.
On the other hand, Bulls already proved that they can beat the Heat, no matter the roster they have and that their coach really knows how to play against Miami.
The natural thinking could be another Under, but I’m not sure it will be right one.
6 of the last 8 games between the teams resulted in an Over. What’s even more interesting is that almost all of the games had score a lot different than the total, so no matter if it was an Under or an Over, bookies clearly weren’t close to the right score in the game (and the same can be said about the spread in 7 out of the 8 games).
Interesting to note that in those eight games, the road team won in 3 of them and two of them resulted in an Under, but I will leave it just as interesting observation at this point.
Bottom line is that this game is so hard to predict that even bookies can’t tell what’s going to happen when these two teams meet.
Skipping this one without a doubt.
Memphis Grizzles – LA Clippers
Here I don’t have too much to write about, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a good bet hiding here. Maybe the best bet tonight actually here.
Memphis and Clippers, just like Bulls and Heat, have a long rivalry (not as long, but still). Clippers eliminated Memphis two years ago in Game 7 in Memphis in the first round.
Memphis returned the favor the year after that, by beating them in the first rounds of the playoffs in 6 games, setting NBA record, for being the first team ever that after losing the first two games, managed to win all of the next four games and did it in double digits in each game.
On top of that, Memphis won in LA earlier this season, in a game where Tony Allen got ejected for kicking Paul (though he said it wasn’t on purpose and it’s probably true).
The motivation pendulum right now is clear on the Clippers side and with Memphis playing without Gasol and maybe without Zach Randolph, I think that Clippers should do the job here and get their revenge on the Grizzlies, if not for the playoffs series yet, at least for the home loss earlier this season.
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Best of luck everybody!!!