NBA Picks and Analysis Saturday, December 7th, 2013
The Pistons head to Chicago to take on the Derek Rose-less Bulls as Chicago has finally begun to find their identity as a team after his season-ending injury.
The Bulls are fresh off a huge win at defending champion Miami in primetime on Thursday Night. Chicago used its size to outrebound the Heat and dominated the game defensively. They outrebounded them 49-27 and held them to just over 41 percent shooting while played excellent team basketball as well, dishing out 24 assists.
Defense has been a calling card for Chicago. They are neck-and-neck with the Indiana Pacers in most defensive categories, including points allowed and opponent’s field goal percentage. The Bulls have been even better at home, boasting a 6-1 record this year at the United Center.
Detroit comes into tonight on the last game of a three-game road trip after beating the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks. They have won three games in a row to push their record to 9-10 on the year as they look to win their fourth straight game on the road.
For the Pistons, it has been their dominant frontcourt that has kept them in games with their rebounding and the unit has also been a force in the paint scoring the rock. The three-headed monster of Josh Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe can be a matchup nightmare for some of the NBA’s smaller front lines.
Lucky for the Bulls, they do not have that problem. Joakim Noah is one the best defenders in the paint, and Carlos Boozer can bang with anyone on the boards. They are playing just as well as the Pistons right now and should put up a strong effort at home tonight. This team is a playoff team, even without Rose, and I can’t yet say that for Detroit as of yet.
There is a look-ahead angle in this game, as well. Detroit faces Miami on Sunday and may be thinking ahead to their matchup against the world champion Heat. I think the Bulls win big at home.
Pick: Bulls -4.5 at Bovada.lv
The best of the East meets the best of the West as the Pacers head to San Antonio to take on the Spurs in a battle of conference leaders.
Indiana has easily been the most impressive team in the NBA this season. With a 17-2 record, the Pacers boast the league’s best defense, allowing a league-low in points at 87.5 and field goal percentage of 39.5. They have allowed 100 points just three times this season.
Other than LeBron James, few players have held a candle to Pacers’ forward Paul George. George scored a career-high 43 points on Monday’s loss at Portland, but the Pacers have bounced back since then. On Wednesday, they took care of a poor Utah team, 95-86.
Beating San Antonio at the AT&T Center is a difficult task for any team, even the Eastern Conference- leading Pacers. The Spurs have been spectacular on their home floor this season, shooting 50 percent from the field and boasting an 8-1 record.
San Antonio improved to 15-3 on the year after beating the Atlanta Hawks 102-100. Tim Duncan led the way in the win, posting a monster line of 23 points and 21 rebounds. The Spurs just returned from a postponed game in Oklahoma City and should be fresh after a long layoff.
The trend for most Pacers games is defense, but I think this way goes the other direction. When we bet on any game against Indiana, we benefit from generally below-average totals. The 188 number is the lowest on the board tonight and I think it is a gift.
Indiana gets into their sets slower than other teams as do the Spurs, but both teams are fresh in this contest. San Antonio shoots the hell out of the ball at home, and the Pacers will have to keep up with their offense if they get it going. The ball movement of both offenses should leave many guys open from three as Indiana is more interior focused. I am not sure who wins this contest, but I would not be shocked to see 200 points scored in this game.
Pick: Over 188 at Bovada.lv
The Warriors and Grizzlies have played against each other a lot the past few seasons, including two games this year. Golden State has not beaten Memphis since November 2010 and have lost two games to the Grizz already this season.
The Warriors have had an up-and-down season and have also had issues with injuries. Andre Iguodala continues to be sidelined, though he did shoot jumpers before Friday night’s 105-83 loss at Houston. Golden State shot a season-low 35.5 percent from the field in this contest and had issues with turnovers, committing 22 in the loss.
Memphis has also had their fair share of ups and downs this year. The Grizzlies dropped their record to .500 at 9-9 after a 101-81 beatdown at the hands of the Clippers on their home floor. Memphis has been miserable at home this season, dropping five of their last six games at the FedEx Forum.
One of Memphis’ top perimeter defenders, Tony Allen may be sidelined in this contest with a hip injury. He is day-to-day. Jerryd Bayless will start his stead if he cannot go, and is a massive downgrade defensively.
Memphis’ home woes along with the status of Allen are the main reasons I love Golden State in this game. With this game being a pk, I just have to pick the winner and not worry about the number, and I think the Warriors play well tonight.
Allen’s primary function is chasing around the best offensive guard or forward of the opposing team which would likely be Stephen Curry in this matchup. With him out or even hobbled, Curry’s potential in this game skyrockets.
Golden State seems to struggle against the West’s best teams and have had an extremely tough schedule so far. Memphis is far from elite and are ripe for the picking. I truly feel like this team’s championship window is closing rapidly, and they seem to look older and slower each successive night.
Pick: Warriors pk at Bovada.lv