The NBA odds makers say the Wizards are double digit road dogs but Washington hopes to put a spell on Golden State to remain in the playoff hunt. Read my preview inside.
Washington Wizards (36-37 SU, 37-36 ATS)
Washington is on the playoff bubble and within the next few weeks that bubble will burst because they will either oust Indiana or Detroit, or pack their bags and get ready for next year. With only nine games remaining on their schedule the Wizards will have to conjure a powerful potion to bridge the three game gap between them and those occupying the coveted playoff spots. But you can't say the Wizards haven't given it their all down the stretch, winning six of their last eight and now tied with the Bulls on the outside looking in.
In their last outing the Wizards kicked off a five-game road swing with a trip to the Staples Center and a date with the Los Angeles Lakers. The fact that the Washington, a sub .500 team, is on the road and laying close to double digits is a stinging indictment of just how bad the Lakers are this season. The NBA odds makers needed to dangle a carrot in front of those who would back the big home dog in their NBA picks. However, the 9 ½ points proved to be not nearly enough as the Wizards notched a 101-88 victory and covered the number with ease.
Golden State Warriors (66-7 SU, 39-31-3 ATS)
The Warriors are on a mission and have been since the beginning of the season. Defending their championship title was, and is, first and foremost. But Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest of the GSW crew got on an epic roll and haven't looked back. They are challenging a record that few thought would ever be eclipsed, that of the 72 win season of the '95-'96 Chicago Bulls. Nine games remain and the Warriors must win seven in order to top the team that has held the mark for almost 20 years. Golden State has won 18 of their last 20 and ironically their two losses came against one of the league's worst in the LA Lakers and one of the best in the San Antonio Spurs.
Golden State has gone 4-1 straight up over their last five but a disappointing 1-4 ATS. On Easter Sunday they welcomed the 76'ers to their lair like a lamb to the slaughter and though the Warriors cruised to a 117-105 win it was hardly enough to cover the prodigious 22 point impost. Perhaps that is why the Warriors ATS mark is far removed from their brilliant straight up mark. The squares see the win/loss record and lay the big number regardless of who they are playing and without any reservation as to where they are playing. Tonight they will welcome a hungry Wizards team desperately trying to crash their way into the postseason party.
These clubs have met only once this season with Golden State winning a 134-121 shootout in DC on February 3rd. Almost two months later the teams meet again only this time the venue has changed and the motivations are different for both. Golden State would love to inch closer to that historic record while the Wizards need a win to continue their pursuit of a playoff seed. But there are rumors that coach Steve Kerr would like to rest his players down the stretch. Kerr is keenly aware that the 72 win Chicago team may have put them in the record books but that squad did not win a championship. Exhaustion in the second season is a real factor and Kerr is bracing for it despite his players' protestations.
Both teams have another date on the hardcourt staring them in the face after they are through this evening with Golden State flying to Utah and Washington making the quick hop over to Sacramento to take on the Kings tomorrow night. Therefore both teams have that "overlook" factor heading into this one. But something tells me Washington is far less likely to fall into that trap. How can they not get up for a game against the Dubs? Furthermore, the Warriors' defense was not stout against an anemic Sixers offense in their last outing.
I say John Wall will have another terrific performance as he will refuse to get outshone by his fellow superstars on the other side of the court. Wizards keep this one close...enough! Not an ATS bettor? Check out our top value picks for the O/U totals odds
Free NBA Pick: Washington +13
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle