Running Diary of Golden State Warriors at Indiana Pacers (2/26/13)

11:36  Klay Thompson opens the game with a nice drive off a curl screen, but is blocked by Roy Hibbert. Hibbert may be struggling offensively, but he is one of the best defensive centers in the league and will help seal off penetration by the Warriors, who’s guards are relatively inept at finishing around the rim.

10:50  The pacers initiate the offense in a two high post horns style look.  Hibbert sets a screen at for George Hill going left, then rolls through the lane for deep position on the right block.  As Paul George clears baseline to the left of the court, Hill passes to David West, who makes an entry pass to Hibbert for a post isolation.  Though he has good position, Hibbert gets little lift and has his shot blocked by Biedrins.

10:05:  Steph Curry hits a pull-up midrange jumper off a screen above the three point line by Biedrins.  Hibbert sags into the paint, as is typical of the Pacers’ defense, leaving Curry the ling two.  Curry will likely be able to get this shot throughout the game, and will need to have a good shooting night for the Dubs to win this game.

9:55:  Another Pacer possession, another post clear out for Roy Hibbert.  Again, he doesn’t get lift on the jump hook, and is blocked.  Hibbert has been incredibly inefficient this year, and it may benefit the Pacers more to leave Paul George on the wing, hoping his man will help down on HIbbert, allowing a kick out that leaves the Warriors defense off balance.

7:22  Steph Curry pushes the ball up the court and kicks it out to Harrison Barnes, then immediately runs back to the three point line for a rhythm jumper.  12-6 Warriors.  The Warriors often run staggered screens for Curry in semi-transition, and though that was just a normal drive and George Hill over-helped, the Warriors will want to get out in transition to combat the Pacers’ league leading defense.

6:55  Paul George hits a tough baseline fade-away 16-footer over Harrison Barnes, who displayed why he has such high defense potential, forcing George out of deeper position and not letting him penetrate baseline.

5:54  This time, George gets deeper position on the post-up, but immediately tries to force a pass into traffic for a cutting Lance Stephenson.  David Lee gathers the loose ball and pulls an uncoordinated version of the Blake Griffin, dribbling the ball up the court and drawing a foul on the layup.

4:42  Klay Thompson beats Paul George off the dribble and… KLAY THOMPSON BEAT PAUL GEORGE OFF THE DRIBBLE!!!  Unfortunately for Thompson’s assist numbers, David Lee blows the easy finish off the pass than goaltends the offensive rebound.

3:10  Andris Biedrins just blocked Hibbert with his stomach.  To say Hibbert stuggles offensively may be an understatement.

1:17  29-22 Indiana. The Warriors have struggled to score the last few possessions, while George Hill and transition offense have put the Pacers on a 9-0 run.

2nd Quarter

9:38  Indiana still has yet to score in the quarter narrowing the score to 31-30 Pacers.  Without George Hill or Paul George to run the offense, the Pacers seem unable to generate good shots.  Dj Augustin has underperformed so far this year for the Pacers, who expected him to replace the current Maverick Darren Collison as backup point guard.

6:44 Back to back threes by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson put the Warriors up 4, but the Warriors follow up the momentum swing with consecutive turnovers.

2:23  Harrison Barnes does a good job attacking the close-out and draws a shooting foul.  He has looked more aggressive in this game than any over the past two weeks.

1:53  In a bout of self-pity, Steph Curry completely destroys George Hill’s ankles.

1:22  Steph Curry pushes the ball in transition and penetrates than clears back out and gets a down screen from David Lee for an open three, which he drains.  Though the Pacers have them locked up in the half court, the Warriors have taken advantage of transition opportunities.

1:12  Another transition bucket for Curry, this time a floater in the lane.  That’s 21 in the 1st half for Steph.   After a Lee layup and Paul George missed three, the Warriors enter halftime down 1.

3rd Quarter

10:45  Just as with the 1st half, Klay Thomson starts the second on the Paul George.  He has done a good job denying George space as he comes off screens while forcing George into the help defense.

7:35  More good defense from Harrison Barnes forces Lance Stephenson into a step-back jumper, which he misses.  Barnes’s speed and strength make him one of the few players in the league able to guard a his man in space without forcing him into the help defense, and when the “help defense” consists of David Lee and Andris Biedrins, that is a very valuable skill.

5:53  Klay Thompson blows an easy fastbreak layup.  He really needs to work on his finishing skills to be able to take advantage of transition plays and defenders that overplay him on curl screens.

End of Third:  The Warriors ran a lineup of Festus Ezeli, Carl Landry, Draymond Green, Richard Jefferson, and Jarret Jack to close out the 3rd.  Playing three offensively inept players, along with a struggling Carl Landry is probably not the best method to stay in a game against the Pacers.  Though Jarret Jack tried to carry the offense, the Pacers will carry a 12 point lead entering the 4th

4th Quarter

9:21   Some improved offensive play and an incredible three by Steph Curry bring the Warriors within 6.  Jarret Jack is taking advantage of his ability to get in the lane off the dribble, and in typical Pacer fashion, the defense is not helping off perimeter players, leaving Jack to draw fouls.  With 2 more fouls the warriors will be in the bonus the rest of the fourth.

7:30  The Klay Thompson layup extravaganza continues as Klay misses a semi-contested reverse.  The play did display Klay’s inane ability to navigate off-ball screens offensively.

6:10  Hibbert and David Lee go at it off ball and a fight breaks out.  Steph Curry ran at Roy Hibbert who through him down with an elbow.  No punches were thrown, but the Warriors, with the Rockets, Jazz, and Lakers breathing down their necks can not afford to have Curry suspended.

6:10  Hibbert is ejected, and Steph Curry, David Lee, David West and Klay Thompson all receive technicals.  If the fight hadn’t spread to the stands the reaction to the biggest brawl in the nba this year would likely have been less severe.

1:34  Pacers up 108-93.  Post brawl, they were able to take advantage of David Lee in the post and grabbed a few key rebounds, enough to close out the Warriors, who will regret letting the league’s 22nd ranked offense score so easily.

54:  A garbage time post up by Harrison Barnes displays what has been his most promising offensive skill so far this year.

The Pacers benefited from Warriors turnovers throughout the game, and were able to score efficiently enough in the post and on spot up threes to beat the Warriors, who suffered from lineup spurred offensive dry spells, in Indiana.

Picks for February 26th, 2013

Golden State at Indiana +7.5

The Pacers have won 10 of their last 15 games and overtaken the New York Knicks for 2nd place in the East.  Over those 15 games, the Pacers have outscored their opponents by 12.9 points per 100 possessions (per  Meanwhile, the Warriors have struggled over the same span, winning only 7 of their 15 games, and have been outscored by 4.2 points per 100 possessions (per  However, in these teams first matchup, the Warriors did an excellent job denying Paul George the ball off the dribble handoffs Indiana runs to give him favorable position.  By forcing Paul George to catch the ball further from the basket and helping down on David West, the Warriors should at least keep this game close by limiting the Pacers 22nd ranked offense, which only scores 103.2 points per 100 possessions.

Orlando at Philadelphia +10.0

With the return of Thad Young, Philadelphia is a better team than Orlando as currently constructed.  However, the 76ers only have 7 wins all season by more than 10 points, and have struggled to separate themselves even from weaker teams.

Miami Heat vs. Sacramento Kings -15.5

The Miami Heat have one 11 straight games, while Sacramento has continued their struggle, winning only 2 of their last 10 games.  Sacramento runs the leagues worst defense, allowing 111.8 points per 100 possessions, a flaw that will prove fatal against Miami’s tied for league leading offense.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls +7

Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and the Cavs should be able to take advantage of Taj Gibson’s recent injury and the strain it will put on the Bull’s defensive rotations.  Though Chicago’s 4th ranked D will likely trap or pocket Kyrie Irving in the pick and roll, Irving scores 1.08 points per possession in isolation, good for 2nd in the Nba.  Irving’s ability to draw fouls on Joakim Noah and score efficiently to end the game should allow Cleveland to pressure the Bulls in Chicago.

Milwaukee Bucks at Dallas Mavericks +5.5

Though the Bucks starting guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are generally highly inefficient, they should be able to penetrate freely against the Maverick’s weak perimeter defenders and take advantage of the Maverick’s non-existent interior defense. J.J. Redick should provide a nice boost off the bunch for the Bucks, as Maverick’s guard O.J. Mayo generally struggles with off-ball defense.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Phoenix Suns +1.5

Though they are still without Kevin Love, with a healthy Andrei Kirilenko and a recovering Ricky Rubio, the Wolves are a much better team than the Phoenix.  The lowly suns have the league’s 23rd ranked defense and 27th ranked offense, and may find further difficulty scoring if Ricky Rubio is healthy enough to pressure Goran Dragic into an inefficient game.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Charlotte Bobcats +16.0

Charlotte has both the worst record and point differential (-9.2) in the league, while the Clippers have the both the 4th best record and point differential (+6.3).   Charlotte’s surrenders 111.8 points per 100 possessions, trailing only the Kings in the race for most porous defense, while the Clippers score 109.2 points per 100 possession (a rating that would be much higher had Chris Paul not missed several games).  Though 16 is a lot of points, Charlotte’s defense may be unable to keep this game within reach.


Year to Date: 12-6

Trade Deadline Reactions

Houston Rockets:  Trade Marcus Morris

Phoenix Suns:  Trade 2013 second round draft pick

In what appears to be an effort to free up playing time for the other young forwards on their roster, Houston gave up last years 14h overall pick, allowing Marcus to reunite with his brother, Markieff, in Phoenix, where they will likely compete, along with Michael Beasley, for playing time at both small forward and power forward.  The rockets likely envisioned Marcus as a stretch four, able to space the floor while still rebounding at a high rate.  This season, Marcus is shooting a decent 38.1% on 6.1 3 point attempts per 38 minutes, however, due to struggles from midrange (30% from 10-15 ft and 28.6% from 16ft to the 3 point line), Marcus’ True Shooting % is merely 52.9%.  With Donatas Motiejunas, Terrence Jones, Royce White, and recent addition Thomas Robinson all awaiting playing time at power forward, Houston had no real reason to retain the older Marcus Morris.  The Rockets likely accepted a 2nd round draft pick from Phoenix rather than a 1st from a better team because 2nd round contracts are not guaranteed, allowing the Rockets to easily drop the draft pick if he does not produce. Though Phoenix already has Markieff, a similar player, there is no real detriment to taking a chance with Marcus Morris while only surrendering a 2nd round draft pick.

Houston Rockets: Trade Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas

Sacramento Kings:  Trade Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia, and Tyler Honeycutt

Unfortunately for King’s fans, this trade is clearly motivated by the financially futile soon to be ex-owners of the Kings desire to cut costs.  Though the trade does not save significant (on an NBA salary scale) money over the course of the contracts, the Maloof’s plan to sell the team after this season, and this trade, especially the departure of Francisco Garcia, save the Kings over 4 million dollars in salary.  As an added bonus, the Houston Rockets reportedly sent Sacramento 1 million dollars to complete the trade.  Though Patrick Patterson started for Houston this year and is likely currently a better player than Robinson, Robinson’s combination of athleticism, offensive skill, and rebounding leave him with far more upside than Patterson.  Robinson was projected to be a devastating pick and roll man in the NBA, and though he has struggled as a roll man so far, scoring only 0.37 points per possession on 27.3% shooting, he has not been properly set up by the poorly operated Sacramento offense.  Also, as he has somewhat inexplicably received only limited playing time, Robinson’s terrible numbers in the pick and roll may be attributed to statistical variation, as he has only registered 19 plays as a roll man, per  Robinson, one of 5 top-5 picks traded in his rookie year, clearly holds long term value for the Rockets, he may also benefit them as early as this season.  Robinson, a hyper-aggressive rebounder, has a 12.5% offensive rebound rate, which should directly help Houston, the 24th ranked offensive rebounding team, while likely drawing defensive attention off Omer Asik, allowing the young center to attack the boards as well.

Orlando Magic:  Trade J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon, and Ish Smith

Milwaukee Bucks:  Trade Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb, and Beno Udrih

Milwaukee added the Magic’s sought after shooting guard J.J. Redick, making it clear that they have no desire to face the Heat in the first round of the playoffs.  The Bucks should benefit from Redick for the rest of the season, but may struggle to retain him after his contract expires at the end of the year, as Redick may be looking to sign with a contender.  From the Magic’s perspective, this is likely a better haul than the first round pick they were seeking from some of the other contenders for Redick’s services.  20 year old Tobias Harris is already an above average defender, and may develop a more efficient offensive game as his career progresses. While Beno Udrih is likely not part of the Magic’s long-term plans, his ability to distribute should benefit the Magic’s young wing players for the rest of the season.  The Magic added Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb to their collection of decent players on rookie contracts, furthering their rebuild after the departure of Dwight Howard.

Toronto Raptors:  Trade Hamed Haddadi and 2014 2nd round pick

Phoenix Suns:  Trade Sebastian Telfair

The Toronto Raptors added Sebastian Telfair to reinforce John Lucas III and their bad-at-best point guard corps.  Telfair is generally regarded as a more traditional pass-first point guard than Lucas, however his 22.0 assist percentage is slightly lower than Lucas’ 23.8.  Though Telfair may compete for the backup point guard minutes, this trade is generally inconsequential as both players are below mediocre and have little bearing on the Raptors success.  The Phoenix Suns added Hamed Haddadi, who never played a game in Toronto, and received a future second rounder for their troubles.

Washingon Wizards:  Trade Jordan Crawford

Boston Celtics:  Trade Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins

Leandro Barbosa recently tore his acl, leaving the Celtics short a guard, while the Wizards clearly had no interest in retaining Crawford long term.  Crawford has flashed potential as a scorer, rating in the top 10 in isolation points per possession per, but has an inefficient 51.2% true-shooting percentage. The Wizards may have been able to gain a decent asset for Crawford, but, as Barbosa and Collins will both play no significant roll, were clearly eager to rid themselves of the volatile shooter.  The Celtics will hope that their veteran core can instill some basketball rationality into the young shooting guard, and perhaps may look back on this trade as a steal.

Oklahoma City Thunder:  Trade Eric Maynor

Portland Trailblazers:  Trade rights to Georgios Printezis

After a strong start to the 2011 season, Eric Maynor tore his acl.  Maynor, once a prized future asset for Oklahoma City, lost much of his value upon his return this season.  He has struggled, only shooting an abysmal 41.0% true shooting percentage, and Oklahoma City has been outscored by 7.0 points per 100 possession with Maynor on the court.  With Reggie Jackson’s emergence as a decent backup point guard, Oklahoma City was able to deal Maynor for the trade exception used to acquire Ronnie Brewer.  Georgios Printezis will likely never play in the NBA, and was only included because the Blazers are required to give up something.  Though Maynor had little value to the Thunder, he may already be the best bench player on the Blazers.  As Maynor recovers from his injury, there is a decent chance he will progress from his promising pre-injury form.  When Damian Lillard exits the game, the Trailblazers are outscored by 8.6 points per 100 possesions, as current backup point guard Nolan Smith is generally unable to run the offense.   After Maynor’s contract expires, assuming he does not make a significant leap in his recovery this season, he will likely accept the 3.4 million qualifying offer in an attempt to prove he deserves a longer contract after the 2013-2014 season.

Oklahoma City Thunder: Trade 2014 2nd round draft pick

New York Knicks:  Trade Ronnie Brewer

Though he recently fell out of the Knicks rotation, Ronnie Brewer is a decent acquisition for the Thunder.  The first real backup small forward for Kevin Durant will not play heavy minutes, but could be used to pressure offensive creators on the Thunder’s competitors such as Jamal Crawford, Ray Allen, and Manu Ginobli while Durant or Thabo Sefolosha rest.

Miami Heat:  Trade 2013 2nd round draft pick and Dexter Pittman

Memphis Grizzlies: Trade rights to Ricky Sanchez

In exchange for lessening the Miami Heat’s luxury tax burden by absorbing Pittman’s contract, the Hawks were awarded a 2nd round pick.  Like many of the foreign players affiliated with NBA times, Ricky Sanchez will likely never play  a game in the NBA.

Atlanta Hawks:  Trade Anthony Morrow

Dallas Mavericks:  Trade Dahntay Jones

Though he is an elite three point shooter, Anthony Morrow’s defensive flaws will likely limit his playing time in Dallas just as they did in Atlanta, Golden State, and New Jersey.  Jones is a defensive focused veteran who isn’t especially good at defense, and likely will play behind both Kyle Korver and John Jenkins in Atlanta.  Though he has yet to earn consistent minutes, there is a chance Morrow will prove valuable as a floor-spacer for Dallas, likely the only possible outcome that affects either team.

Golden State Warriors:  Trade Charles Jenkins

Philadelphia 76ers:  Trade protected 2nd round draft pick

Entering the trade deadline, the Warriors were only just over a million dollars above the luxury tax line.  Though they likely could have afforded the luxury tax fees, management wanted to avoid exposing themselves to the harsher repeater tax, which punishes teams that are over the luxury tax line for 3 years in a row.  By trading Charles Jenkins and Jeremy Tyler, the Warriors are able to dip under the tax line, allowing themselves to enter in later years when the team is more likely to make a deep playoff run.  As a Warriors fan, it is disappointing to see Charles Jenkins traded.  The 44th pick out of Hofstra University almost singlehandedly foiled the Warriors attempt to shamelessly tank the 2011-2012 season, displaying his Stephen Curry-esque 46.4% midrange jumper while averaging 5.1 assists per game as a starter.  While the Warriors are hoping he doesn’t become the next Jeremy Lin, Jenkins should be an effective backup for Jrue Holiday in Philadelphia.

Golden State Warriors:  Trade Jeremy Tyler

Atlanta Hawks:  Trade future draft considerations.

Though he flashed potential as a mobile-shot blocking power forward, Jeremy Tyler never played a significant role for the Warriors.  The “draft considerations” the Warriors received for Tyler, another victim of the Warriors desire to get under the luxury tax, are likely a top 55 protected pick that the Warriors will never receive if Philadelphia does not finish with a top 5 record (which they without a doubt will not).

A Break in the Storm

Miami…  January 27th, 2013:

The sea churned and clouds gathered like vultures to a carcass over American Airlines Arena, while furious waves crashed the rocky shore, waiting to sweep the Boston Celtics to oblivion.

Ok, maybe it was a day game, and Miami was actually enjoying a quite pleasant tropical day.  Nevertheless, unlike Miami’s free-agent appealing climate, the Boston Celtics’ season was in turmoil.  The Celtics were struggling through a 6 game losing streak and had dropped two games below .500 into the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.  Prior to the season, the Celtic’s chose to keep their aging assets Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and sign veteran guard Jason Terry in an attempt to build upon, or at least maintain, the previous year’s success despite an ever-aging core. In all but position, the center of the Celtic’s organization was all-star point guard Rajon Rondo.  Through January 27th, 71.4% of the Celtics’ possessions with Rondo on the court (he played 51% of their minutes despite missing games to suspension and injury) ended in an assist, field goal attempt, free throw attempt, or turnover by Rondo.  Just hours before their pivotal game against Miami, the Boston Celtics were informed that Rondo had, in the previous game against the Atlanta Hawks, torn his ACL, and would likely miss the rest of the season.  In the midst of their losing streak, this news seemed to spell the end for the once-mighty Celtics.  Yet, seemingly riding the emotion induced by Rondo’s injury, the Celtics upset the Heat 100-98.  Though the waves lapped at their feet, the Celtics had persevered through the storm.   As one would expect, the Celtics rode this emotional high for another game before succumbing to the challenges of playing without their star.  They were unable to generate sufficient offense, while Pierce and Garnett felt the burden of an increased minutes load, and like every empire before them, the Celtics crumbled, fading out of playoff contention.

However, as is often the case with the Garnett-era Celtics, what one would expect did not coincide with reality.  Despite losing Rondo, the Celtics have not yet faltered.  Since Rondo’s injury was announced the Celtics have won 7 straight games.  The common rhetoric used to describe this phenomenon focuses on the ideas that “Boston is just making shots,” or that, “Rondo was holding the Celtics back.”  Though these reasons may prove to be somewhat true, it is likely that other factors play the major role in the Celtics’ newfound success.

The Celtics’ win streak can largely be accounted for by the level of competition they have faced.  Of their seven opponents, only Miami, the Los Angeles Clippers, and Denver are above .500, and the Clippers were playing without Chris Paul and his +9.4 efficiency differential (per, while Denver faced Boston on the second night of a back to back, and lost Andre Iguodala during the game.  Though the Celtics’ opponents had the average point margin, 0.67, expected of a 43-39 team at the end of a season, the aforementioned conditions vastly decrease the quality of these wins.

Though the Celtics’ schedule may have been soft, NBA teams habitually lose to worse ones (case in point: all 9 of Charlotte’s victories last year).  The Celtics have clearly played very well over the last 6 games, so what have they changed, and is the success relatively sustainable?  Throughout Rondo’s tenure as point guard, the Celtics have relied heavily on the mid-range jump shot.  Be it off a pick and pop for the big man or a Paul Pierce isolation, the Celtics have constantly sought out the exact shot most defenses attempt to force their opponents into taking.  Before Rondo’s injury, the approximately 34.8% of the Celtics’ shots were attempted from 10 feet out to the three point line.  Though Rondo’s injury would seem to necessitate a major change, the Celtics, consistent with the typical shot selection, have taken 35.7% of their field goal attempts from the long-two region since Rondo’s injury.  The only significant change in the Celtics’ basic shot selection is an increase in 3 point field goals attempts under 30 feet.  Prior to Rondo’s injury, 19.7% of the Celtics shots were taken from this range, and through 7 games without him the rate has risen to 22.2%.

While the Celtics general shot selection has only undergone minor changes, their effectiveness has drastically improved. Since Rondo’s injury, the Celtics have made 35.6% of their 3 point attempts, up from 33.5%, and have converted 50.8% of their 2-point field goals, up from 48.9%, increasing the Celtics adjusted field goal percentage from a 14th ranked 49.1% to what would be a 7th ranked 51.4%.  This, along with a 2% spike in free throw percentage have increased the Celtics’ true shooting percentage from 52.8% to 55.6%, and boosted the Celtics offensive efficiency from 1.020 points per possession to 107.8, a rate that would place them 7th in the league a drastic improvement for a previously 28th ranked offense.

Though the Celtics shot selection would suggest little schematic change, in their efforts to replace Rondo the Celtics have pressured the rotations of the relatively mediocre defensive opponents they have faced over the last 7 games, resulting in better looks, albeit from similar regions.  With Rondo out, the Celtics appear to have adopted a Denver Nuggets drive, re-drive, and kick style offense, with intermittent Kevin Garnett post ups, Jason Terry pick and rolls, and Paul Pierce isolations to disrupt the defense.   The Celtics Rajon Rondo run offense was often criticized for the predictable pick and pops with little off ball movement.  Though defenses will eventually adjust, the Celtics were able to succeed against these 7 teams with Avery Bradley or Courtney Lee running the baseline, Paul Pierce attacking the wing, and a point guard-by-committee initiated offense.  Oddly, through this seven game sample the Celtics have rebounded at the exact same 47.9% total rebounding rate as they had throughout the season.  Given their historical hatred for offensive rebounds, the Celtics should struggle to generate enough extra opportunities to compensate for defensive adjustments, and likely falter as the opposition quality rises.  Without their franchise rudder to guide them, the Celtic’s ship will eventually succumb to the seas.

(Unless otherwise specified, all stats are from

Picks for February 13th, 2013

San Antonio at Cleveland + 5.5
      Despite playing without their big 3, San Antonio just beat the Chicago bulls in Chicago by double digits. Though the cavaliers have been playing well recently, the spurs, even without their stars, will likely out execute the cavaliers.
     Indiana vs. Charlotte -10
Indiana is simply a much better team than the no longer 7-5 bobcats. The bobcats should struggle to score against the pacers vaunted defense.
Los Angeles Clippers vs.  Houston -10
      James Harden will not play due to an ankle injury he suffered during last nights game against the warriors. With Harden out the clippers will be able to load up strong-side help on Jeremy Lin and force him to try and initiate offense under Chris Paul’s defensive pressure.
Brooklyn vs. Denver -2

With Denver sitting Danillo Gallanari and Andre Igoudala, Brooklyn should be able to handle Denver at home.

Atlanta at Orlando +4

Boston vs. Chicago -2

Toronto at New York +8.5

Wash at Detroit +2

Portland at New Orleans +5

Utah at Minnesota -2

Sacramento at Dallas +10


Year to date:  5-3

Picks for February 11th, 2013

Indiana Pacers -8.0 vs. Brooklyn Nets

Though the standings would indicate that this is a relatively even matchup, the Nets are only 9-18 versus teams above .500.  The Nets will likely struggle to score against the league’s top defense, while the Pacers, though in a permanent struggle to score, will have a favorable matchup in David West against either Reggie Evans or Kris Humphries.  Given that the Nets are on the second night of a back to back, the Pacers have a reasonable chance to win this game handily.

Los Angeles Clipper -5.5 at Philadelphia 76ers

With Chris Paul back in the line-up the Clippers (30-11 with Chris Paul) should are a reasonable bet to beat the struggling 76ers, especially with Thad Young injured.  Without Young on the court, the Sixers have been outscored by 11.8 points per 100 possessions.

Charlotte Bobcats +4.0 vs. Boston Celtics

Last night, the aging Celtics played a triple overtime game versus the fast paced Denver Nuggets.  Kevin Garnett played 47 minutes, Jason terry 43, Avery Bradley 46, and Paul Pierce 54.  Though the Celtics are a much better team than the Bobcats, Celtic’s coach Doc Rivers may be forced to play his best players limited minutes the night after a grueling victory.

Cleveland Cavaliers -6.5 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

The ailing Wolves are only 1-9 in their last 10 games, while the Cavaliers have found success since the additions of Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington.  The Wolves lack the interior defense to guard Kyrie Irving (not that he is guardable regardless), and, barring the return of Andrei Kirlenko will struggle to generate efficient opportunities with an offense that scores 1.8 points per 100 possessions more with Kirlenko on the court and is missing several vital players.

Detroit Pistons -4.0 vs. New Orleans Hornets

Though they are only 2-3 since trading for Jose Calderon, the Pistons were outscored by merely 0.4 points per game, and played only one team below .500, the then surging Los Angeles Lakers.  Calderon’s presence allows Brandon Knight to adopt a more natural scoring-centered roll, while enabling the Pistons to concentrate the offense around Calderon and Greg Monroe’s superior passing ability.  On the second night of a back to back, and possibly without Eric Gordon, the Hornets may struggle to overcome the Calderon-era Pistons, who have a positive .027 efficiency differential and an offense scoring 1.093 points per possession, comparable to the 7th ranked offense, since trading for Calderon.

Washington Wizards +4.0 at Milwaukee Bucks

Since the return of John Wall January 12th, the Wizards are an impressive 9-7, and are only allowing 96.3 points per 100 possessions.  Though the bucks boast an impressive interior defense, per they rank 15th in the league at defending the pick and roll ball handler, 13th against the roll man, and 27th versus the post up. The Wizards should be able to attack the Bucks defense with John Wall – Nene pick and rolls, especially if they are able use this action to create beneficial post position for Nene.

Atlanta Hawks +4.0 at Dallas Mavericks

As Dirk Nowitzki has returned to form and Darren Collison has provided a more steady contribution the Dallas Mavericks have improved over the last month.  The Atlanta Hawks, conversely, have fallen off the torrid pace they started the season at, and are suffering through Josh Smith trade rumors and a Louis William’s acl injury.  Though recent performance may suggest otherwise, the Hawks should be able to challenge Dallas as Josh Smith and Al Horford harass Dirk defensively.

San Antonio Spurs +1.5 at Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have struggled against top-level teams, and, though Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli are both likely out for the Spurs, the Bulls defense will struggle stop San Antonio’s efficient machine with Joakim Noah hobbled.