Browsing Posts published in February, 2014

The Brookyln Nets (26-28) are midst a western road trip. So far, the Nets are 2-1 on their west coast swing with wins over Utah and the LA Lakers and a close loss to the Golden State Warriors. They’ll race their toughest test Wednesday night in Portland. The Portland Trail Blazers (39-18) are one of the league’s top scoring teams and have ripped off three straight victories. The Blazers are playing without power forward, LaMarcus Aldridge, who is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a groin injury. In his absence, point guard Damon Lillard has assumed the scoring responsibility. Since the All-Star break, Lillard is averaging 30 points per game. Lillard has been feasting on opposing point guards, so Deron Williams will have his hands full trying to contain Lillard.

The Trail Blazers are playing a ‘back-to-back’ after a 100-95 road win over Denver last night. Portland’s three best players, Lillard, Nicolas Batum, and Robin Lopez all logged over 37 minutes in the win. Could the young, up-start Blazers feel the effects after playing in Denver’s ‘mile high’ climate? Not having power forward, Thomas Robinson, who filled in for Aldridge, will be a big issue. Robinson left Tuesday’s game with an injury and did not return.

Portland has one of the better home records in the West (21-7) and is a staggering 17-4 against the Eastern Conference. Outside of Robin Lopez, the Blazers don’t have much size so expect Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche, and Andrei Kirilenko to establish themselves early on. If the Nets can slow down Portland’s efficient offense, they’ll have a chance to win.

Current NBA odds have Portland listed as a 3-point home favorite. We think that number is pretty small for a Blazer team that plays very well at home. Brooklyn has already ‘broke even’ per se on this road trip, so they’ll look forward to getting back to New York. Back Portland and lay the points in this match-up.

Over the last two days, future NFL talent participated in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. After reviewing tape and listening to interviews, there’s no denying that this year’s draft class is super deep with high end talent. On NFL Scout mentioned that this is the deepest draft in 30 years! While there is obvious talent on both sides of the ball, this article will focus strictly on quarterbacks. Fantasy footballers are looking for the next big thing at quarterback. Let’s break down which players were impressive and disappointing during the 2014 NFL Combine.

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Fresh off a very disappointing 98-93 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the New York Knicks (20-33, 9-15 away) must travel to New Orleans to face the Pelicans (23-29). After a rocky ending to the first half of the season, Mike Woodson did not reassure New York ownership that he’s the right man for the job. After playing three solid quarters of basketball, the Knicks fell back into their lazy defensive ways which led to 32 points for Memphis. Carmelo Anthony’s final stat line (32 points, 11 rebounds) looks impressive, but he was very sluggish during the fourth quarter and deferred big shots to JR Smith and Pablo Prigioni (gulp). Anthony did play 42 minutes, but every game has meaning and the Knicks cannot afford to squander away fourth quarter leads. 

The New Orleans Pelicans ranks towards the middle of the league in all offensive and defensive categories. Led by Anthony Davis, the Pelicans present an uber athletic power forward that will give Anthony fits on the defensive end. The Pelicans also feature a three guard lineup of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and Tyreke Evans that is extremely difficult to defend. 

Current NBA odds have the Pelicans pegged as four-point home favorites. In fact, it’s hard not to like the Pelicans in this game. The Knicks have lost six of their last seven games and lost their only road back-to-back game of the year in early January. Anthony looked completely gassed during the fourth quarter and more travel time will not do him any favors. I like the Pelicans in this match-up. Expect the Mike Woodson replacement rumblings to continue.

Pick: Pelicans -4

The New York Knicks (20-31) currently sit in tenth place in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks dropped a tough 112-110 decision in Oklahoma City to the Thunder on Sunday. The Knicks hung tough for three quarters, but were unable to stop Kevin Durant in the fourth quarter. They’ll try to right the ship when the struggling Sacramento Kings (17-35) come to the Big Apple. The Sacramento Kings have dropped three straight games including an embarrassing 109-99 decision last night to an undermanned Cleveland Cavalier squad. Demarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas combined to score 37 points, but did not receive much support from their team mates. They’ll need more help if they want to knock  off the Knicks.

These two teams have their fair share of issues with personnel and coaching. In addition, both squads have players that seem uninterested in the final result. DeMarcus Cousins regularly gets ejected from games while JR Smith acts completely indifferent during games. Trade rumors continue to swirl around Carmelo Anthony, but I have a hard time believing the Knicks will trade him. Carmelo will opt out of his contract this summer and have the ability to sign with any team. The Bulls are a rumored trade partner, but I can’t see the Knicks taking draft picks and young players for their franchise player. 

Current NBA odds have the Knicks slated as a comfortable 5.5-point home favorite. The Knicks need to this game to keep pace with the rest of the Eastern Conference and to keep Carmelo happy. I think the Knicks will come out and put on a big performance in front of the home crowd against a lowly Kings team.

Pick: Knicks -5.5

After ripping off four straight wins, the New York Knicks (19-29) have dropped their last two games. On Saturday Night, the Miami Heat came to New York and beat down the Knicks, 106-91. LeBron James, who always relishes the opportunity to play in NY, had 30 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and six steals. Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points. On Monday Night, the Knicks dropped a rough 101-98 decision in Milwaukee to the hapless Bucks. The Milwaukee Bucks (9-39) are one of the league’s worst teams and this loss demonstrates how inconsistent the Knicks are. The Knicks made just 15-of-24 free throws and allowed Milwaukee to drain 11-of-18 three pointers. The Knicks must limit the three point barrage if they want to win on Wednesday night.

The Portland Trail Blazers (34-14) enter Wednesday’s tilt ranked third in the Western Conference. Their game against the Knicks is the ‘sandwich game’ of a short three-game road trip out East. On Monday night, the Blazers lost 100-90 to the resurgent Washington Wizards. Portland’s Big 3 of Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum, and LaMarcus Aldridge all scored 18 points or more in a losing effort. After opening Portland as a 1.5 point road favorite, the line shifted to favor Washington by one point. 

Current NBA odds have the Blazers pegged as a 3.5 point road favorite. The Blazers had a day to rest after a tough road loss while the Knicks could be reeling after an inexcusable loss to Milwaukee. The Knicks tend to play-up (or play-down) to their competition. Wednesday’s game will be nationally broadcasted on ESPN, so I’m expecting a strong effort the Knicks.

The Pick: Knicks +3.5