NBA stretch offers lazy D

Mar 24, 2009 4:05 PM
Feist Facts by Jim Feist |

There are three more weeks to go in the NBA regular season, which means there are professional athletes going on vacation soon.

Will the majority of the players on the Sonics, Clippers, Wizards, Kings and Grizzlies be working as hard the next few weeks as those teams on the playoff bubble, like the Bucks, Bobcats, Suns and Bulls?

The fact is good coaches are as hard to find as self-motivated athletes. This is the time of year when some disappointed teams play out the schedule and think less about preparing for their next opponent and more about golf or early spring/summer family vacations.

Losing is no fun. Teams hit the 70-game mark this week, and many players on losing teams realize they have no shot at the postseason, which means the year was a failure.

Some fans and local newspapers are focused more on where their team will end up in the draft, rather than show an interest in the last few weeks of the season. The Clippers were hoping for big results from Marcus Camby and Baron Davis, but injuries have devastated a potentially improved team.

It’s difficult for anyone to give 100 percent when unhappy. Since late January the Clippers have been on a 7-19 SU, 8-18 ATS run.

Take Miami last year. No one envisioned a train wreck season with the worst record in the NBA while winning 18 percent of its games. They were a go-against all season, starting 10-23 ATS at home and 4-22 SU (7-18 ATS) in the conference.

Lethargic play on bad teams is first noticeable at the defensive end. Athletes that have nothing to play for are more inclined to pad their own stats on offense, but expend less energy on defense. Part of it is psychological and part is simply that defense requires a lot of hustle and little recognition. Unmotivated teams have less energy at practice or in game conditions to bring their ‘A’ game on ‘D’.

That can be reflected with totals, as well. The last two weeks the Golden State Warriors had five straight overs, even though oddsmakers kept juicing their totals up from 207 to 244!

You don’t always have to back the good teams to win and cover. There are plenty of go-against spots.