Are you willing to place your NBA pick tonight on Dallas beating Sacramento for the 21st time in a row on this court or will the improved Kings break the strangle hold?
Each November, there are some surprises out of the gate in the NBA. The unlikely leader at the top of the Eastern conference is the Toronto Raptors at 6-1, outscoring the opposition by 11.6 PPG for the largest differential in the league. Over in the Western conference, perennial contender, OKC is struggling at 2-5 SU, scoring 92 PPG as they find a way to cobble it together without the services of their 2 best players, Durant and Westbrook. And who would have figured the defending champs, San Antonio, with virtually their entire roster intact, to have opened 3-3 SU with an offense averaging just 92 PPG, 4th worst in the NBA. But, the biggest surprise in the league must be the Sacramento Kings who are off to a 5-2 SU beginning.
The Kings are a team that has long floundered in the cellar of the Western conference. In the strike-shortened season of 2011-12, the Kings went 22-44. In the season ending 2013, they were little improved at 28-54. Last year, it was exactly more of the same, 28-54! Yet, a mid-season acquisition of Rudy Gay from Toronto showed promise for this team. This year, Gay has opened up the year averaging 22 PPG after 7 games. He has teamed with double-double machine, Cousins, to provide a lethal offensive tandem for the Kings. With the addition of PG Collison to stabilize the proceedings and 2nd year wing-man McLemore adding offensive balance, this has become the team who could well challenge for a playoff position. The defense is improved at 42 PPG, while they are a +8 rebound margin. Remember, that defense and rebounding are the combination that will win you a lot of basketball games. The Kings were embarrassed by a 101-93 loss at OKC on Sunday. In that game, they could never recover after trailing 56-39 in the 3rd. Expect a bounce back from a team who is far more cohesive and better balanced this season.
There is little doubt that Dallas will contend for the top spot in the West. They have veteran experience to back up that claim. Chandler has returned to patrol the paint, while Parsons (only shooting 39% TY) and Nowitzki make it a dangerous front line. The backcourt is the perfect complement of PG Nelson and Monte Ellis. But, the Mavs are struggling on the defensive end allowing 47% shooting which is among the worst in the league. Seldom has Dallas performed to expectations under HC Carlisle at this level of home favoritism. Witness their 105-96 loss Sunday to Miami at this price point.
The Kings have begun to catch the attention of those placing NBA picks this season. They are capable of erasing a lot of negative history. Among those numbers tonight will be the fact that the Kings have not started 6-2 SU since 2001 and that Dallas has won 20 consecutive games against Sacramento on this court since 2003. That all comes to an end tonight!
Free NBA Pick: Kings at BookMaker