Happy Wednesday. I apparently forgot to hit publish on yesterday’s Mike Bets, so that’s my bad. It was essentially a wash with a 2-1 CBB record and a 3-4 NBA record, so I guess it was a decent day to forget about. You never want to release bets the day after the games for the sake of believability, but it should be hard to think that I made up the fact that I went 5-5 with both the Grizzlies and Pelicans blowing coverage late. In any case, we’re on to today. Let’s make it a good one. But first, a look at yesterday’s action…
- The Celtics couldn’t hang with a Wizards team down both Beal and Kuzma in Washington, and the 111-130 loss dealt a huge blow to their chase of the 1 seed. The Bucks, with seven games to play, now have a magic number of just 5, which means that the Celtics could win out and beat the Bucks tomorrow night and still not end up with the 1 seed even if Milwaukee loses another game somewhere. Obviously going 5-2 to finish isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it’s a lot more realistic than the first part of that conditional (Boston winning out). If the Bucks do beat the Celtics tomorrow, you can sharpie them in as the 1 seed. This win keeps the season alive for Washington. They’re still two and a half games out and probably need at least five wins in their last six games, but they’re not dead quite yet. Kristaps Porzingis put up 32 and 13 last night, and his strong season will be a bright spot to build from regardless of how the next few games go.
- The Hawks held off a late charge from the Cavs for a big win. Their magic number to clinch a play-in spot is down to 3. The fight for the 8 seed – which means only having to win one play-in game to make the playoffs – is still going strong though. Atlanta is tied with Toronto, and they’re going to have to pick up some more wins over good teams across their last six games to hold on to that 8 seed. Chicago is only a game and a half behind too, which doesn’t eliminate them from consideration either. For the Cavs, the loss hurts their chances at finishing in the East’s top three. They’re two games back of the Sixers and don’t own the tiebreaker. It will probably be the 4 seed for Cleveland. Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, and Evan Mobley combined for 91 last night, but the rest of the team scored just 27 points with Jarrett Allen out.
- The Raptors handled the Heat in Toronto. Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, and OG Anunoby all scored at least 22 points, and Barnes was a few rebounds away from a triple-double. Toronto keeps pace with Atlanta, and they’ve created some separation from the Bulls and the 10 seed. Even getting the 9 seed matters to some degree; it gives you a home game instead of having to win two road games to get to the playoffs. Miami falls a half game back of the Nets and the 6 seed with the loss. Brooklyn owns the tiebreaker. Tomorrow’s trip to MSG will likely matter a decent amount for the Heat, as the Nets are likely to beat the Rockets tonight. You don’t want to fall a game and a half back at this point.
- The Grizzlies got off to a fast start and held off a late charge to beat the Magic and pick up their seventh straight win. Desmond Bane led the way with 31. Memphis is closing in on the West 2 seed; they hold a three game lead over the Kings. The race for the 1 seed isn’t done quite yet either. They’re three games back of Denver (which makes them rising up to 1 about as unlikely as them falling down to 3). But they’ll be applying pressure as long as they keep winning. Orlando is very close to being mathematically eliminated, but they still have plenty to build on from this year, especially in the play of Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero, who combined for 49 last night. Wendell Carter Jr headlines the rest of what is a stronger base than Orlando has had in quite a while. They also might end up with a top 5 pick. They’re a half game behind the Blazers for the league’s fifth-worst record after last night.
- PJ Washington dropped 43, and the Hornets edged past the Thunder in a shootout despite not having Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, or Kelly Oubre (never mind LaMelo). Seven of the eight players that scored for Charlotte scored at least 11 points. The Hornets are locked in to that fourth-worst record, so these results don’t mean a whole lot either way in that respect. But we’ve seen some promising signs from Steve Clifford and Co. the last few weeks and months. This was a tough loss for OKC. They didn’t have SGA, but they did get 95 points from Isaiah Joe, Josh Giddey, and Jalen Williams. You want to win when that happens, especially against a team like the Hornets. They’re tied with the Mavs for the 10 seed, and tonight’s game with the Pistons is one they need to take advantage of.
- The Pelicans led for much of the game, but they simply couldn’t hold steady as the Warriors roared back in the second half. New Orleans led by 17 at half and lost by 11. Steph dropped 39 to lead the way for Golden State. Both of these teams are right in the middle of the clump of Western Conference teams from 4-12. The Warriors are alone in the 6 seed with half a game on either side. The Pelicans are alone in the 8 seed. This one would have been huge for the Pels with a pretty brutal closing stretch (@Denver, Clippers, Sacramento, Memphis, New York, @Minnesota) coming up, but it slipped away.
- We’ll have an all Conference USA title game in the NIT after North Texas and UAB won last night. UNT shut down Wisconsin in the second half, holding them to just 13 points to spark a comeback from 12 down. The Badgers did not score in the last nine minutes of the game. A frustrating close loss was a fitting end to a season full of them. UAB held off a good Utah Valley team in OT to punch their ticket to the title game. It should be a fun one. These two have played three times already, with North Texas sweeping the regular season and UAB grabbing a win in the CUSA tourney semis.
NBA record: 201-175-7 ATS, 31-58 ML, 106-85-3 O/U, 1-9 parlay, 0-1 props, -16.69 units
- Bucks -12
- Knicks -5
- Sixers -4
- Sixers Mavs U232
- Clippers +4
- Clippers Grizzlies U233.5
- Jazz -5.5
- Bulls ML (+125)
- Thunder -11.5
- Kings -13.5
- Timberwolves +5
CBB record: 253-229-12 ATS, 55-82 ML, 5-5 O/U, 17-25 parlay, -18.53 units
CBB regular season record: 198-181-8 ATS, 47-75 ML, 4-4 O/U, 12-24 parlay, -30.85 units
CBB conference tourney record: 34-31-4 ATS, 7-10 ML, 0-0 O/U, 4-3 parlay, + 5.87 units
NIT record: 5-5 ATS, 0-0 ML, 1-0 parlay, +1.1 units
NCAA Tourney record: 16-12 ATS, 6-6 ML, 1-1 O/U, 0-0 parlay, +5.35 units
CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT CHAMP PICKS
Record: 11-21 (10 losses in title game)