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NBA Betting Picks and Analysis – Sunday, December 29th, 2013
A day after dismissing Andrew Bynum from team activities, the Cavaliers will welcome the red-hot Golden State Warriors to Quicken Loans Arena.
Cleveland took a chance on the talented but injury-prone center, and it looks as if that experiment has ended poorly. The struggling Cavaliers suspended Bynum from for “contact detrimental to the team” before their 103-100 loss to the Boston Celtics on Saturday. The defeat dropped Cleveland’s record to 10-19 as they struggle to gain any headway in the Eastern Conference.
Bynum’s departure has forced Anderson Varejao to log more minutes, and he is averaging nearly a double-double this season. Point guard Kyrie Irving has been hot and cold this year, but even when he explodes for big games, the Cavs still seem to lose. He scored 32 points on Saturday’s loss at Boston.
Golden States looked to improve their win streak to five games, which would be a season-high. They improved to 18-13 after beating the Phoenix Suns 115-86 on Friday night. The Warriors got an excellent team effort in the win. Davide Lee scored 17 points. Klay Thompson added 21, and Stephen Curry notched his third career triple-double with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 16 assists.
The Warriors have come into their own the past week or so, whereas the Cavaliers are headed in the opposite direction. Golden State is never a good team to face off a back-to-back, and Cleveland is a team reeling emotionally after the dismissal of Bynum and has already been playing poorly even with him out on the floor.
The Warriors are a much better team at nearly every position. Bynum’s size will be missed, and Warriors’ center Bogut should dominate the paint defensively. Golden State should blow Cleveland out of their own building.
Pick: Warriors -6.5
Sacramento heads to Texas to take on the Spurs as they try to knockoff two NBA Finalists in 72 hours.
The Kings broke a 10-game losing streak in their win against the Heat, winning 108-103 in a hard fought overtime battle. The win moved them to 9-19 on the season. Center DeMarcus Cousins was the catalyst for this win, dominating the paint and scoring 27 points and grabbing 17 boards in the victory. Cousins is averaging 25 points and just over 12 rebounds in the last five games for the Kings. The victory against the Heat may go down as their best win this season as they are near the bottom of a tough Western Conference.
The Spurs bounced back from a loss against Houston with a 116-107 victory at Dallas on Thursday, moving their record to 22-7 on the season. Playing dedicated team basketball as usual, San Antonio forced Dallas into several turnovers and got solid contributions from their bench. Danny Green scored led all scorers with 22 points.
The Kings win over the Heat was an emotional moment for the downtrodden franchise, and I expect a letdown game in this one. The Spurs rarely lose to extremely poor teams, so I think a win is a near lock, but that is not what is important for us. We need to cover.
Matchup wise, I think there is a significant edge for the Spurs. Cousins was so dominant against the Heat because their lack of a big man to defend in the paint. This will not be the case tonight. Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter should do a much better job in Cousins, who has been prone to foul trouble and emotional outbursts.
San Antonio will gameplan for him and should limit his ability in this one. This one should be a blowout by the fourth quarter.
Pick: Spurs -12