Nene no no
The Wizards will be without their starting power forward, Nene for the foreseeable future, and maybe for the rest of the regular season with a knee sprain. He has about the same injury that Marc Gasol had that forced the Memphis big man to miss nearly two months, so unless Nene’s is less severe, it looks as if they will be without him until April at the earliest.
This does two things to the Wizards. Firstly it takes away a solid big man on the offensive end. They lose 14 points per game, and even though he isn’t the best defender individually, the second thing they lose is his team defense, which is solid as well. The combination of him and Marcin Gortat is an above average frontcourt on both ends, and now without him, they lack a lot of size down low. Kevin Seraphin is also slightly banged up, and there is still no word on his status for tonight’s game. His absence again would really thin out the Wizards’ frontcourt to just Gortat and Trevor Booker.
However either way, the spread to me is a wash, but the total looks very nice as a value play. Both of these teams play very good defense, and with both rested, I like the NBA Odds of the under tonight.
The Sharp Pick
This will be the fourth time these two teams have played one another this season, and in all three of the previous matchups, the total has gone under. The total has cashed in four straight and in seven of the last eight matchups between these two teams.
The Raptors are a tough matchup at home, and they have a great track record of slowing down opponents at home this season. They have cashed the under in four of their last six games overall, and two of those under cashes came at home.
Washington is no slouch defensively either, and if they can bring it along with them without Nene, I doubt either team has a big night offensively. They have both been slumping some this month on the defensive end, but because the Wizards have climbed the standings in the last several weeks, this game has some playoff implications.
This could be a first round playoff matchup, and as of right now, the Wizards are within three games of the Raptors in the East standings. With the players of course knowing this, I see it adding to the defense being played in this game already. We are getting down to crunch time in the NBA, and besides being tired, teams are also buckling down defensively. We might start to see more and more games go under the total as we get towards the end of the regular season.
I see a final score in the low to mid-90s, but nothing more than that for these top ten defensive teams. Kyle Lowry will clamp down on John Wall tonight, and with Nene gone, the Wizards might struggle to find consistent scoring behind Wall. If that is the case, Washington might not even get above 90 points tonight, which makes a play on the total look good for our NBA pick.
My Pick: UNDER 195