One might say that the Sixers have a bit of an edge being well rested as the Miami Heat travel north after a game on opening night at home, but that person would be mistaken. The Heat came out in full force with a 107-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday and are a definite threat to “3-peat.”
After a scorching hot return in the preseason, the Heat held superstar Derrick Rose to just 12 point with 5 turnovers on 4-15 shooting from the field. This was an ugly return to the regular season for Rose as Chicago quickly got out to an early lead, only to have Miami take control of the game, outscoring Chicago 37-18 in the 2nd quarter.
Lebron James led the way for the Heat with 17 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds, but James wasn’t about taking over the game; he wanted his teammates to get involved. Shane Battier was a key contributor with 14 points on 4-4 shooting from 3-point range. Miami’s bench killed Chicago in the plus/minus ratio category and that was basically the difference in the game.
Now, the Heat take on a Philadelphia 76’ers team that played poorly in the preseason and not much is expected from them in the regular season. The only advantage that Philly has in this game is home court. The Sixers traded away their best player in Jrue Holiday in exchange for Nerlens Noel, who was the 6th overall pick in the NBA Draft, and is out for the season and a 1st round pick in 2014. Philadelphia will look for offense from the combination of Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner. Michael Carter-Williams, who was the 11th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, will also see a great amount of playing time. Carter-Williams showed great athleticism during his time with Syracuse, but is he ready to face the likes of Lebron James and to be hounded defensively by an experienced player in Shane Battier?
Miami is a huge 11.5 point NBA pick favorite on the road and deservedly so. The Sixers don’t have the roster, talent, and experience to compete with the best team in the NBA.
NBA Pick: Miami Heat -11.5 at Bet 365
Brooklyn Nets (0-0) at Cleveland Cavaliers (0-0)
With the addition of Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry, owner Mikael Prokhorov has proven that he’s striving to win a championship this season. That said, the Nets open up the season with a tough matchup against Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varajeo, and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
New acquisition, Andrew Bynum, who was a superstar in his last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, is continuing to be a question mark as he’s listed as inactive to start the season. The Nets might not have all of their pieces together yet as Kirilenko is out for the tonight’s game while Deron Williams is listed as questionable and Paul Pierce isn’t 100%. Facing a stud such as Kyrie Irving, the Nets need their point guard Williams to “quarterback” this lineup and get off to quick start to the season.
Odds makers have shown great respect for Brooklyn even with all of the injuries. The Nets are a 3.5 point favorite on the road and this is due to the great talent and depth on their roster. Even with the addition of Kevin Garnett to this team, Brooklyn is Brook Lopez’s team and look for the offense to revolve around Lopez. This is a legitimate 7-footer with ice in his veins and a sweet touch. Varajeo could present a problem for Lopez as he had his best season of his career last year and was a nightly double-double. This will be a good matchup as Varajeo is the better rebounder while Lopez is the better shooter. This game should be very close
I have much respect for the improvement in the Cleveland Cavaliers offense, but the Nets should be dominant this season. Let’s take the 1st game of the season slow and eliminate the NBA odds point spread while laying extra juice.
NBA Pick: Brooklyn Nets- ML -170 at Bet 365