Swinging Johnson - NBA Record (1-3, -7.8 units)
*Games assigned 1 to 5 units.
Okay boys and girls, your old buddy SJ is on a three game cooler as I flamed by a hair last night when I advised backing the Denver Nuggets -8 over the Boston Celtics. Of course the Nuggets won...by seven. So this is a sort of caveat emptor, buyer beware, that I am seeing the games clearly - if of course I resided in a parallel universe where losses were graded as wins.
New Orleans Hornets (19-35 SU, 30-23-1 ATS)
The Hornets are looking to rebound after a disappointing effort last night in their home arena when they fell 98-87 to the Chicago Bulls. Prior to that game the Hornets had won four of their last five with top draft pick Anthony Davis playing some of his most inspired basketball of his rookie campaign. Davis has strung together a pair of big games, dropping 21 points and 11 boards in a 99-63 trouncing of the Trailblazers and played well in defeat last night against the Bulls when he tacked on 15 points and 10 rebounds to the stat sheet.
New Orleans will be without the services of Eric Gordon, who has averaged 22 points per game against Cleveland during his career, as a preventative maintenance measure for his right knee which caused him to miss the first 29 games of the season. That will be a big blow to a team that needs every ounce of offense that averages just 94 points per game ranking them 24th in the league.
Cleveland Cavaliers (16-37 SU, 25-27-1 ATS)
The Cavs have dropped their last three games in a row with Kylie Irving stinking out the joint in their last game before the All-Star break which was a 96-95 heartbreaker to the team with the best record in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs.
But Irving shined at the All-Star festivities collecting 32 points in the Rising Stars Challenge, winning the 3-point contest and connecting for 15 points in the All-Star game. In addition, second-year man Tristan Thompson has been scoring over 15 points per game and averaging almost 53% from the floor over his last 14 games.
The Cavs are not known as a prolific scoring team but they have lit it up recently, averaging over 107 points per game during their last six contests. They will need a strong effort against a Hornets team that has held the opposition to under 82 points per game over their last three.
Aside from their recent offensive surge the Cavs have been nothing special this season and in fact have been downright lousy. The fact that the NBA odds makers have listed them as -2.5 point favorites goes to show just how lousy the Hornets have been as well.
They are 24th in points allowed, 22nd in rebounds and 25th in assists per game. They've got Kylie Irvin leading the team in points, assists and steals while the rest of the team pretty much watches. The team has had to rework their power positions with Anderson Varejao sidelined due to a blood clot in December which has led to increased minutes for Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller. Zeller had a nice game against San Antonio with 16 points and 9 rebounds, while blocking a shot and adding four assists.
Let's not forget kids, I am doing my best Brock Landers impersonation lately, winless in my last three NBA picks but here goes. Last year at about this time the Hornets came to Cleveland and walked away with a 89-84 victory. But this time will be different. Though the Cavs have dropped three straight, they played the best team in basketball toe-to-toe for 48 minutes before getting gutted by a three pointer with only 2.9 seconds remaining. The Hornets will be without Eric Gordon while Clevland's Kylie Irving will want to atone for his worst performance of the season in that loss to the Spurs.
NBA Picks: Play the Cavaliers at a Pick for 2 units at Betonline.ag.