Happy Tuesday. We went 4-2 last night. We’re rolling, hitting on 60% of spread picks so far. The Bucks and Grizzlies didn’t cover, but the Sixers, Pacers, Rockets, and Kings all got the job done. Let’s keep the momentum going. But first, some thoughts on last night’s action –
- The Sixers didn’t need Joel Embiid to take down the Wizards. James Harden dropped 23 and dished out 17 assists. Tyrese Maxey scored 28. Philly is 4-4 and starting to stabilize a little bit. They’re 10th in net rating.
- In Washington, Kyle Kuzma has found himself in a rut over the last two games. He’s averaging 9 points per and shooting just 33% from the floor and from three. That won’t get the job done if the Wizards are going to consistently win games. Dating back to the start of last year, Washington is 9-19 when Kuzma scores less than 15 points and 23-22 when he scores 15 or more.
- The Kings came back from 15 down at half to pick up a huge win over the Hornets and get to 2-4 on the year. We’ve talked about the Hornets’ strong start, but these – games against relatively weak competition – are the ones Sacramento will need to win to build a play-in worthy record.
- The Raptors throttled the Hawks without Fred VanVleet. Pascal Siakam (26.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists per game) continues to play at an All-NBA level. Toronto is 3rd in the East in net rating, and while there’s a significant gap between them and the top (currently the Bucks and Cavs) that likely won’t be bridged, it’s not difficult to see the Raptors lodging themselves into a top 5 seed once again.
- The Hawks, meanwhile, are 9th in the East in net rating, and they’ve yet to beat a team other than the Pistons, Magic, or Rockets. They’ll have another chance to change that tomorrow night in MSG. The defense, so far at least, has not been any better than it has been in years past, which is an issue.
- The Nets got revenge on the Pacers last night and improved to 2-5, but it wasn’t enough to save Steve Nash’s job. The bottom line with Nash seems pretty clear. He wasn’t a particularly good coach; there’s never been much reason to believe in his on-court influence. That doesn’t mean his coaching career is doomed – see Jason Kidd – but the decision to move on from Nash given Brooklyn’s expectations is certainly justifiable. The issue is that Nash is not the sole, or likely even main, reason that the Nets are where they are right now. Ben Simmons is awful. The offense is non-existent beyond Kyrie and KD, and only so much of that can be chalked up to scheme. The same can be said of the bottom-of-the-barrel defense. Firing Nash makes sense. It won’t fix any problems overnight though. One last note – the Udoka hire is a joke. Flat-out absurd.
- The Pistons are starting to put together some more promising results, but they still fell short against the Bucks last night. Milwaukee is now 6-0. Pat Connaughton and Khris Middleton have yet to play a game, never mind Joe Ingles. Brook Lopez is averaging more than 15 points and 3 blocks per game.
- The Jazz are 6-2. The Jazz are good. The Jazz are 7th in the league in net rating. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, will need to be better defensively; they’re last in the league in defensive rating after last night.
- Paul George stepped up in a big way with 35, 8, and 9 to help the Clippers avoid a loss to the Rockets and a 2-5 start. Los Angeles will need more games like that from George as long as Kawhi remains hampered by injury.
NBA record: 21-14 ATS, 2-5 ML, 2-3 O/U, 0-0 parlay, 0-1 props, +0.12 units
- Bulls ML (+110)
The Nets are playing for the second time in two days, and there’s still not much reason to back them.
- Thunder -3
The Thunder have been halfway decent this year. The Magic haven’t been awful, but they have been bad. At home with this small line, I like the Thunder to get it done.
- Suns -4
The Suns have been quite good so far. I’ll ride until the train stops.