Throughout the 82 game regular season there will be highs and lows for both players and teams. Winning and losing streaks can begin and end without warning. Often these streaks can change a team’s season and certainly affect the public’s perception of those teams.
The Los Angeles Clippers have been a major disappointment thus far as we near the midpoint of the season. But starting with their Christmas Day win over the Lakers, the Clippers have won 9 in a row through Sunday, going 7-2 ATS. At 25-13 the Clips have moved into the fourth seed in the West. And that’s with star Blake Griffin out for an extended period of time.
Once a streak ends a team often follows up that streak-ending result with a second straight such result. Thus when the Clippers’ winning streak does come to an end you might wish to play against the Clippers in their next game.
With the NFL season winding down the NBA will start to garner most of the nightly headlines and become a greater part of the general sports consciousness for the next several months leading up to the Playoffs that start in mid-April, a couple of weeks after the college basketball season ends and the new baseball season is in its infant stages.
Here’s a look at three games this weekend.
Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers (Friday): Washington has not been playing well of late, dropping 5 of 7 through Sunday. At 16-19 the Wizards are one of just six losing teams in the East. Indiana is 21-16 but has been basically a .500 team over the past month. Washington’s season has to be considered a disappointment thus far after winning their opening Playoff series vs. Toronto last season. Indiana missed the Playoffs last season due to key season long injuries but appeared back on track.
Indiana won the only prior meeting, winning 123-106 as a 3 point road underdog just before Thanksgiving. The Pacers are the better defensive team, allowing 5.6 fewer points per game while also slightly outscoring the Wizards. As with most NBA teams, the Pacers are a much better team at home than on the road with seven double digit wins less than halfway through their home schedule. INDIANA.
Golden State Warriors at Detroit Pistons (Saturday): With last season’s NBA title and this season’s incredible start, a visit by Golden State becomes a host team’s biggest game of the season prior to the stretch run to make the Playoffs in April. Golden State defeated the Pistons, 109-95, as 12.5 home favorites in early November. Detroit has shown solid improvement versus last season and started this week 21-16. They have already had four winning streaks of at least three games. They are 13-5 SU, 13-41 ATS at home.
It is always easy to make a case to play on Golden State. But we must be picky in looking to play against the defending champs. This is a challenging schedule spot for the Warriors, who are playing in their eighth separate venue in 12 days since their second of back-to-back home games on January 4. Golden State has been favored by at least 6 points in 14 of their 20 road games. DETROIT.
Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs (Sunday): At 32-6 San Antonio started the week with the second best record in the NBA, overshadowed only by Golden State. The Spurs continue to retool on the run, adding a key player or two to their roster even as they remain among the NBA’s elite. This season’s key acquisition has been LaMarcus Aldridge and he’s been a solid addition to one of the best organizations in all of sports. Dallas has not been nearly as successful in sustaining success although their 22-16 start has them with the fifth best record in the West.
In their only prior meeting, the night before Thanksgiving, SA defeated the Mavericks 88-83 but failed to cover as 9.5 home favorites. The Spurs continue to lead the NBA in allowing just 89.7 points per game, with Miami a distant second (94.8). Their differential of +13.9 points per game also leads the NBA, better than Golden State’s margin of 12.2 ppg. The Spurs last played on Thursday and will be off again until next Thursday, making this their only game in a week. SAN ANTONIO.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to GamingToday readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Email: [email protected]