Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to April 23 inclusive:
And there was much rejoicing. Wednesday’s 3-pack of first-round playoff games laid an egg – a giant turkey egg at 0-3 ATS. The rejoicing you hear is from under the bridge, where the trolls live. They come out at playoff time. And they sure do love it when my NBA picks go wrong. Such mean people, too. Why would total strangers go out of their way to hurt my feelings like that? Gosh, I think I’ll go home and cry on my wee pillow. Too bad the only thing I have to dry my tears with is ALL THIS MONEY.
Toronto vs. Brooklyn (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Speaking of which, somebody call a WAAAAHmbulance for the Nets (45-39 SU, 43-40-1 ATS). They lost Tuesday’s Game 2 100-95, creating a push on the official closing NBA lines as 5-point road dogs. Good thing we had the Raptors (49-35 SU, 46-34-4 ATS) at –4. Hey hey, there’s something to be said for early-bird NBA betting after all. Brooklyn is a 5-point home chalk on Friday’s NBA odds board with a total of 191.
Call a toe truck while you’re at it. Nets guard Shaun Livingston (14.5 PER) missed the last five games of the regular season to rest his sore toe, and he also missed Thursday’s practice with an undisclosed illness, although Livingston is expected to play Friday. The Raptors go into this matchup with a healthy roster and the usual level of disrespect from the NBA betting public – note how this game is being broadcast on The Deuce. Do they still show lumberjack competitions? What about Kiana Tom?
NBA Pick: Take the Raptors +5 (–106) at Matchbook
Chicago vs. Washington (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The Wizards (46-38 SU, 45-38-1 ATS) were a fashionable pick to take down the Bulls (48-36 SU, 41-42-1 ATS) in the first round, and they’ve done a fine job so far, winning the first two games of this series in Chicago. Tuesday saw the Wizards come back from a late seven-point deficit to force an extra frame before claiming the 101-99 victory, cashing in as 5-point road dogs. On Friday, Washington is laying three points with a total of 182.5.
I’m content to keep pounding the Wiz here. This is a much better team now that Nene (16.6 PER) is back in the lineup; Washington is 6-0 SU and ATS in its last six games, while the Bulls are 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS in their last six. I’m not declaring Chicago dead by any means here, but it looks like the combination of Nene and Marcin Gortat (17.6 PER) is good enough to frustrate Joakim Noah (20.0 PER) and any power forward the Bulls put next to him.
NBA Pick: Take the Wizards –3 (–102) at Island Casino
Houston vs. Portland (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT)
For the second game in a row, the Rockets (54-30 SU, 40-42-2 ATS) had the advantage in turnovers and offensive rebounds, giving them six more field-goal attempts than the Trail Blazers (56-28 SU, 46-38 ATS). But for the second game in a row, LaMarcus Aldridge (21.8 PER) went nuclear, scoring 43 points in Wednesday’s Game 2 as Portland (+6.5) won 112-105. The Blazers are 3-point home faves on Friday with a total of 216.
Well, shoot, I guess I’ll have to switch over to Portland. This reminds me a bit of the Washington-Chicago series, in that Nene is causing trouble for the Bulls at power forward. Houston doesn’t appear to have an answer to Aldridge. Terrence Jones (19.1 PER) hasn’t stopped him. Defensively challenged Donatas Motiejunas (10.7 PER) hasn’t played a minute in this series. Maybe Omer Asik (14.0 PER)? I might switch back to the Rox if they come up with something, but for now, welcome to Cascadia.
NBA Pick: Take the Trail Blazers –3 (+100) at Pinnacle