Happy Monday. The NBA record last night was 5-7, which isn’t great. I lost 6.2 units on NBA plays last week, which isn’t great either. Not our week there. We bounce back this week. On the bright side, I went up 5.69 units on college ball last week to roughly even things out, and we’ll have the chance to end that season on a high note tonight. But first, a look at last night’s action…
- Pascal Siakam scored 36, Fred VanVleet scored 20 points and dished out 20 assists, and the Raptors had no issues in Charlotte. The Raps have won seven of ten, and they remain tied with the Hawks for the 8 seed with the Bulls one game behind. They clinched a play-in spot yesterday. Another game in Charlotte awaits tomorrow, but the closing stretch is brutal with two games in Boston before a visit from Milwaukee. The Hornets have waved the white flag on the year; Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre, and PJ Washington all joined LaMelo on the sidelines last night. Charlotte will finish with the league’s fourth-worst record, but they might not be done winning quite yet with a home game against the Rockets coming on Friday.
- The Jazz came roaring back in the fourth, but the Nets held on in Brooklyn. Utah scored 42 in the fourth, and they were led by another strong performance from Talen Horton-Tucker. THT is averaging 29.3 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds per game over his last four, which is a promising sign for the Jazz. Less promising is their current playoff positioning. They’re a game and a half out with four to play. Tomorrow’s home game against the Lakers is a must-win. The Nets’ magic number for clinching a playoff spot is down to 2. With games against the Pistons and Magic remaining, the 6 seed is all but theirs.
- Shaedon Sharpe dropped 27, and a hapless and purposefully tanking Blazers team managed to win in Minnesota. It’s not a great result for either team. Portland was on a crash course with securing the 5th spot in the lottery, but they’re just half a game behind the Pacers and a game behind the Wizards and Magic after last night. Minnesota, meanwhile, falls to the 9 seed after their third straight loss. They’re a game and a half back of the Lakers and Pelicans, who are tied for the 7 seed. They’re a game up on the 10 seed Thunder and two up on the 11 seed Mavs. This was one they really could have used; tomorrow’s trip to Brooklyn is suddenly a lot more important. Anthony Edwards scored 37 in the loss, but no other Timberwolves scored more than 13.
- The Grizzlies were up by 15 at half in Chicago. Twenty-four minutes of game time later, they had lost by 21. Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan combined for 67 for the Bulls, who will keep pace at a game back of the Hawks and Raptors with the win. Their magic number to clinch a play-in spot is down to 1. Tomorrow’s home game with the Hawks is a massive one for seeding. The loss probably kills the Memphis bid for the 1 seed, but they’ve still won eight of ten and have two games on the Kings and the 3 seed. They’ll be fine.
- Eight Magic scored in double figures, and Orlando blew out the Pistons. Detroit is going to finish with the league’s worst record. All eyes are on the lottery there. The win keeps the Magic alive in the play-in chase for another day, but mathematical life doesn’t actually mean a whole lot at this point. In more important news, they’re now tied for the seventh-worst record after sitting in the fifth-worst spot for a decent while. There’s still plenty to be figured out there with 5-8 within a game of each other. But the Magic are more likely to enter the lottery at 7 or 8 than 5 or 6 for the first time in a long time.
- Doug McDermott dropped 30, Julian Champagnie scored 26 in his thirteenth ever NBA game, and the Spurs toppled the Kings in OT. The win puts the Spurs a game and a half ahead of the Rockets, and that’s probably a gap they won’t make up with so few games left. San Antonio will likely enter the lottery in the 3 spot, which means equal odds with the Pistons and Rockets for the top pick but also less protection from a slide down the draft board. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis combined for 54 for Sacramento, and the Kings will want this one back. You can’t drop a home game to the Spurs. This was a chance to take advantage of the Grizzlies’ loss and pull within a game of the 2 seed, but they missed it.
- Kyrie dropped 41, but a more balanced effort from the Hawks ultimately won out in another OT shootout. Dejounte Murray and Trae Young combined for 49 for the Hawks, who keep pace with the Raptors and Bulls. Atlanta owns the tiebreaker over the Raptors, so they technically have the 8 seed for now. They won’t own the tiebreaker over the Bulls if they lose tomorrow though, so a loss could drop them all the way to the 10 seed. It’s a huge game for both sides. The Mavs are still a game out of the play-in. They’ve lost three in a row. They need to finish 2-1 or better, and that would be made much easier if they beat the Kings at home on Wednesday.
- Jalen Brunson and Quinten Grimes both scored 27, Immanuel Quickley added 22, and Obi Toppin dropped 21 in a win over the Wizards. New York played without both Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, which might have been close to a net wash given Barrett’s negative impact this season. The Knicks are still more than 10 points worse per 100 possessions when he’s on the court than when he’s on the bench. New York is very close to wrapping up the 5 seed. Corey Kispert dropped 29, his third time scoring 26 or more in his last five. The Wizards played without Porzingis, Beal, and Kuzma once again, and the inability of their best players to stay on the court continues to be a massive issue. The only remaining question for them is where they’ll sit between 5 and 8 in the lottery pecking order.
- AD dropped 40, LeBron put up an 18-point triple-double, and the Lakers rolled in Houston. The Rockets are closing in on the 2 spot in the lottery, but they need a few more losses to get there. The Lakers are tied with the Pelicans for the 7 seed, and they both have a good shot at staying in the top eight with the Timberwolves a game and a half behind. The Warriors and Clippers are both only half a game up, so the top six is still in play too. The Lakers play in Utah Tuesday and then “at” the Clippers on Wednesday, and that’s going to be a huge back-to-back for them. Regardless, they’ve done well to climb back into things since the trade deadline.
- SGA put up 39, but the KD-led Suns still won comfortably in Oklahoma City. The Thunder have won just two of their last seven, but they’re still holding on to that 10 seed with the Mavs and Jazz unable to take advantage of their slide. They have a really tough trip to Golden State coming up tomorrow before a trip to Utah and a home game with the Grizzlies. It’s not very hard to see them going 0-3 across those three games, but that might still be enough to sneak into the play-in at this point. They own the tiebreaker over the Mavs. The Suns are pretty much locked into the 4 seed at this point with at least two and a half games on either side of them. They’ll have home court for a first round series against the Warriors/Clippers/Lakers/Pelicans and then likely get the Nuggets in the West semis if they advance.
- Giannis scored 33, Middleton, Lopez, Holiday, and Portis all scored at least 18, and the Bucks handled the Sixers in Milwaukee. The win clinches a top two seed for Milwaukee, and the magic number for the 1 seed drops to 3. Philadelphia is where they were before the game – the likely 3 seed with the Nets the likely first round matchup.
- Donovan Mitchell’s 40-point effort led the Cavs to a win over the Pacers in Cleveland. One more win or Knicks loss clinches a top four seed for the Cavs. On the other side of the coin, one more loss or Sixers win makes the 4 seed the ceiling. So the Cavs are going to be the 4 seed, and they will (very likely) face the Knicks in the first round. The Pacers are right in the middle of that mess of teams fighting for the 5-8 spots in the lottery. They currently have the 6 spot but have played an extra game than everyone else. Haliburton, Turner, and Hield remain out.
- Michael Porter Jr and Jamal Murray combined for 55 to help the Jokic-less Nuggets hold off the Warriors in Denver. The win, combined with a Memphis loss, all but secures the 1 seed for the Nuggets. The magic number is down to 1. The Warriors continue to struggle on the road, where they are now 9-30. They’re holding onto a guaranteed playoff spot by a thread. Tomorrow’s game against the Thunder is a big one.
No games yesterday. It all ends tonight.
NBA record: 213-185-7 ATS, 32-63 ML, 112-88-3 O/U, 1-9 parlay, 0-1 props, -18.82 units
CBB record: 254-229-12 ATS, 57-83 ML, 5-5 O/U, 17-25 parlay, -14.33 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, 1-0 ML, 1-0 parlay, +3.3 units
NCAA Tourney record: 17-12 ATS, 7-7 ML, 1-1 O/U, 0-0 parlay, +7.35 units
- UConn -7.5 – 4.5 UNIT PLAY
Let’s get within 10 units of even on the CBB season. UConn is the play. They’ve been steamrolling everyone. I don’t think that stops tonight. San Diego State is a dang good team with a lot of veteran winners, but they’re not going to be able to keep up tonight if the shots are falling for the Huskies.
CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT CHAMP PICKS
Record: 11-21 (10 losses in title game)