ATS – FRIDAY: 3-1…Maybe this is a sign of things to come!
Overall – CBB: 15-13 NBA: 57-56 NFL: 22-20
UTAH JAZZ (-3) @ LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
While the Jazz have been unbelievable at home (17-3), they’ve been just the opposite on the road (6-15). The biggest reason for their struggles has been coming-out of halftime flat, especially at the defensive end. While the Vegas experts may tell you the trend will continue, Jerry Sloan is too good a coach to let this continue and knows this team needs every victory to position themselves for the playoffs. Sloan has vowed to treat the remaining road games with a playoff type of intensity, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they look like a completely different team over the next few weeks away from Salt Lake City. The Jazz just beat the Clippers at home by 18 Friday, and I can’t see how they reverse the outcome by 15 points by playing in-front the 2nd-tier Hollywood stars. Especially...
Especially with nobody to handle Captain Carlos at PF (Tim “No-D” Thomas, Josh Powell, & rookie Al Thornton) and Sam “I am an Alien” Cassell responsible for prevented the deceptively-strong Deron Williams from getting into the pain, I see the Jazz winning easily and the combo of Dan Dickau & Brevin Knight guarding D-Will after Cassell comes down with a mysterious thigh injury…Jazz by 8-12 points
PORTLAND BLAZERS (PICK) @ ATLANTA HAWKS
Nobody in the league seems to bring the passion every game like Nate McMillian & Brandon Roy. Especially coming off a loss, where the Blazers haven’t lost back-to-back games since Dec 2nd, I expect the deep, disciplined shooters to surprise the Jekyll & Hyde Hawks with an energy that they usually don’t see from opponents playing in-front of 12 fans. Sure the Hawks have surprised some and have a legit opportunity to make the playoffs in the East, but the biggest reason for their success has been the veteran influence of Anthony Johnson at the point…and he’s actually been suspended for today’s contest. While Acie Law may be solid in a couple years & Tyronn Lue is always one of my 1st Free Agent pick-ups on X-Box, I don’t see Josh Smith & Marvin Williams benefiting from the line-up change and expect them to take twice as many 3-pointers as normal…Blazers by 4-8 points
SAN ANTONIO SPURS (-5.5) @ CHARLOTTE BOBCATS
Normally, I’d never take the Spurs on the road against one of the seller-dwellers around mid-season, but with Pop’s boys only having 2 wins in 6 games I’m expected a route from the defending champs. I know the Cats O Bob have played better of late, especially at home, but they have the shortest bench in the league and are catching the Spurs with everybody healthy. Especially with only Okafor & Mohammed to handle Timmy D and his 7-foot bouncers (Oberto & Elson), I expect the Spurs to run everything through the big-fellow and Parker & Ginobili to utilize it to the tune of at least 40 points & 55% shooting. While Gerald Wallace as been ridiculous lately, their success has predicated on him playing out of position at the four, and that can’t work against a team like the Spurs. Similar to the Hornets 28-point victory against them Friday when Tyson Chandler & David West dominated the paint, expect the Cats O Bob to struggle having to change their style and to be in foul-trouble all-night …Spurs by 9-13 points
CHICAGO BULLS @ MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (-1)
After blowing-out the Pistons Saturday (where I sat 5th row behind Rasheed Wallace…and I am absolutely convinced he’s bi-polar), I think Vegas knows everybody and their mother will be playing the Bulls today. As for yours truly, watching the Pistons off a back-to-back, and more importantly, wanting nuttin’ to do with the negative 50 degree wind-chill, I wasn’t as impressed as most of Chicago’s beat-writers. Especially with the loss of PG Chris Duhon and a still banged-up Kirk Hinrich, I have a feeling the speed of rookie Mike Conley will cause all kinds of trouble on MLK Day. Not to mention, Pau Gasol will be looking to impress Johnny Pax to finally get his ticket out of Memphis, while Rudy Gay & Mike Miller should be able to match the productive of Nocioni & Gordon on the wing. As for Deng, he sat-out Saturday’s contest as his nagging Achilles injury flared-up, and I can’t see how two days of rest will make that much of a difference. I know my Chi-Town boys will hate me for this, but the Grizz win this one easily today…Grizz by 8-12 points