I bounced back with a strong 5-0 performance last night to up my record to 15-7 (68 percent) three days into the season. It must be something about those five games a day that makes me perfect.
We’ve got a big slate of games tonight, so hopefully I can build momentum.
I’d like to give a shout-out to TNT and the EJ, Jet, Shaq and Charles Barkley NBA team. They are tremendous before, during and after the games. I wish TNT had a nightly broadcast all season.
Toronto struggled to distance themselves from the Cavs, whereas the Pacers put the Pistons away in their opener. It’s never easy to win on the road in the NBA, but I think the Pacers are clearly the better team and will show it here.
The Pick: Pacers 98-90
The Heat are rolling, but the Celts’ zone D may have exposed them. Charlotte is going to be tough at home, and even though the Heat look strong, I don’t expect them to run over the Bobcats tonight. Charlotte will keep it close, but they’re not going to give Miami a loss.
The Pick: Heat 104-93
The Wizards don’t have a lot of talent on their team, and Atlanta is coming off handing the Nets a beat-down last night. This game is going to be a blowout in the Hawks’ home opener.
The Pick: Hawks 107-87
The loser of this game could be picking No. 1 in June. Neither looks great, but I think Cleveland is headed for a better season. Detroit really lacks firepower. Scoring is going to be a problem all season. The Cavs pull an upset here.
The Pick: Cavs 88-85
The Hornets are still coming together as a team after the big trade of a couple weeks ago. They pulled off the upset in Phoenix on Monday night and should be competitive against a Celtics team playing their third game in four days. This one should go down to the wire, but I like Rajon Rondo to step up and deliver his team a win.
The Pick: Celtics 94-90
Two great teams hook up in Memphis tonight. They could face off again in the playoffs. The Thunder are adapting to having the target on their back, and the Grizzles are ready to break out this year and advance further than they ever have in the playoffs. I think this game means more to Memphis.
The Pick: Memphis 103-97
The new-look Clippers travel to San Antonio for a big test tonight against Tim Duncan and the Spurs. The Clippers are learning to play together, but showed in the fourth quarter against Golden State that they can come together in the crunch. San Antonio impressively dismissed Memphis in their opener with the same discipline their past great teams have shown.
Power forwards and point guards cancel themselves out in this one, so that means the Clippers need someone to step up and take Ginobli on. I don’t think they have anyone to do that tonight.
The Pick: Spurs 98-93
The Jazz were out of tune last night in L.A. as the Lakers destroyed them. Utah couldn’t make shots in the second half, and it got ugly at Staples.
The Nuggets were impressive in their opener as they went to Dallas and dominated the defending champs. I think their home opener is going to see them run up and down the court, and that’s not Utah’s game. Another ugly one for the Jazz.
The Pick: Nuggets 108-82
The Suns blew the lead late and couldn’t execute on their last possession as they literally threw it away in the final seconds. The Sixers challenged Portland and just came up short.
I know it’s just one game this year, but it looks like Doug Collins has his team playing well like they did the second half of last season. Phoenix doesn’t have the scorers to take advantage of Steve Nash’s playmaking. Look for the Sixers to get their first win.
The Pick: 76ers 99-94
This is a great matchup. I think it’s a potential “trap game” for the Knicks. They’re coming off the big win to open the season over the Celtics and play the Lakers tomorrow night.
Mark Jackson got his first win over Chicago Monday, and his team is looking better defensively and more disciplined on offense.
This game comes down to the focus and maturity of the Knicks. Can they not overlook today’s opponent for the more high-profile one tomorrow? After seeing Carmelo again hit clutch shots down the stretch, it’s hard to go against the Knicks.
The Pick: Knicks 99-96