Love is all you need
I was in attendance the first time these two teams played one another, and Kevin Love absolutely crushed the Wiz. While it’s likely he does it again tonight, I doubt any other of the Wolves have great games. The Wizards are improved defensively this season, and they will try as hard as they can to slow the speed of the game down in Minnesota tonight.
While the Wolves play as fast as any team in the NBA, the Wizards play a much more half court oriented game, and it has led to them being ranked 21st in the NBA in Pace. Love crushed the Wiz in the first half of their first meeting, however he was quieter in the 2nd. If Nene struggles to defend Love again, look for Randy Wittman to make a change, and go with Trevor Booker or even Kevin Seraphin defending Love. Both are much younger and a little lighter on their feet than Nene at age 31.
If the Wizards can continue defending Love like they did in that second half, (9 points) and hold Kevin Martin to a poor shooting night again, not only do I think they can get the cover, but I think they will cash the under in Minneapolis.
The Sharp Pick
The under cashed in their last meeting about a month ago, as well as four of the last five times these two teams have played one another. The Wolves are also on an under streak in Minnesota right now. They have cashed the under set by sportsbooks in five of their last seven home games, and against the East, they are only giving up around 97 points per game. 207 ½ is just a bit too high.
John Wall will make sure Ricky Rubio doesn’t turn him over too much tonight, and I expect the young point guard (who better be voted into the All Star game, wink) to control the pace of the game. Washington also hasn’t played since the 21st, giving them a total of five days off in between games, which should really help their defense.
Washington has also won their last three games in a row SU, and all three of them were on the road, thost two factors together should help them in the NBA odds. While their scoring has been improved in those games, the Wolves are only giving up around 100 points per game at home this season, and only around 97 points per game to the East.
The Wizards also have Trevor Ariza for this matchup. Ariza has not available in their first matchup due to a strained hamstring, and he should be a welcome defender on Love as well. Ariza lit up the Celtics for 27 points in Boston about six days ago, and after the break, I see he and the Wizards holding down the Wolves enough to cash the under, and cover the spread for our NBA picks.
My Pick: Wizards +6 & UNDER 207 ½[gameodds]5/251342/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]