Let’s take a look at the upcoming week in the NBA.
The Golden State Warriors are officially in a tailspin. It’s true that they gave away their last game before it even started when coach Steve Kerr chose to rest his four best healthy players (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala). But Saturday’s blowout loss at San Antonio was the culmination of a stretch of basketball which saw the Warriors lose five of seven outright. Even worse, the Warriors are 1-9 ATS over their last 10 games.
There’s no doubt that the injury to leading scorer Kevin Durant has played a large role. The Warriors have scored less than 90 points in three of their last six games (after doing that in just seven of their previous 285 games). But it’s not just Durant’s offense which is sorely missed – his length and versatility on defense are key to Golden State’s switching schemes. Without Durant on the court Golden State is really small, and teams can now more easily drive to the hoop and punish the Warriors on the interior.
The good news for the Dubs is that this week’s schedule has them back at home against three teams with losing records (Philadelphia, Orlando, Milwaukee). The Warriors have won seven in a row versus both the Sixers and Magic and six of seven versus the Bucks, so they should definitely win each game straight-up. But with respect to the pointspread, the game on Tuesday vs. Philly is the one to circle for Golden State. Since March 23, 2013, the Warriors have gone 36-18 ATS at home when playing with at least 2 days of rest. Also, they’re an eye-popping 70-30-1 ATS off a loss when playing an opponent off a win. With Philly coming into Oakland off a win on Sunday vs. the Lakers, look for Golden State to blow out Brett Brown’s crew on Tuesday.
The Chicago Bulls are a mess right now. They’ve lost their last five game, both SU and ATS and the primary reason for their woes is their sputtering offense. Chicago has now scored 95 or less points in six straight games, and all six have gone Under the total. Sunday’s game at Boston was the Bulls’ worst offensive outing in their last 40 games as they converted just 33 of 87 shots (37 percent) and scored a mere 80 points.
This week, the Bulls will face the Hornets, Grizzlies, Wizards and Jazz. Of the four, Saturday’s game versus Utah has all the makings of a low-scoring game. Utah’s defense gives up the least amount of points in the league (96.4), and 14 of the last 19 meetings between the two clubs have gone Under the total. Take the Bulls and Jazz to go Under.
The San Antonio Spurs had three starters on the shelf Saturday versus Golden State as Kawhi Leonard (concussion), Tony Parker (back) and LaMarcus Aldridge (heart) missed the game. Of course it mattered very little, as Golden State played without its four best players, so the Spurs romped. It’s possible that Leonard will be back on the court Monday versus Atlanta, but Parker and Aldridge will not. Aldridge’s condition – a heart arrhythmia caused by Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome – has the potential to be long-lasting, so that’s the one which is causing anxiety among Spurs fans.
If there is a silver lining for San Antonio, it’s that GM R.C. Buford has constructed a deep and talented roster. David Lee can step in and start for Aldridge while Patty Mills will man the point while Parker heals. However, if Aldridge is forced to miss a significant amount of time then the Spurs will likely not catch the Warriors for the top seed as Golden State has an easier schedule from here on out.
This week, the Spurs will forge on and play games against Atlanta, Portland, Memphis and Sacramento. The game versus Atlanta is a revenge match for San Antonio, as the Hawks won in overtime earlier this season. That doesn’t bode well for the Hawks, as they’re a poor 72-107 ATS in the regular season as road underdogs vs. revenge-minded foes, including 19-40 ATS if they’re playing their third game in four days.
The World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers have been world-class chumps this season when playing on the road without rest. After dropping Sunday’s game at Houston, the Cavs fell to 0-9 straight-up and 1-8 ATS on the road following a game the day before. They’re also 6-20 SU and 6-19-1 ATS in this role since February 6, 2015.
This week, the Cavaliers will play back-to-back road games in Los Angeles against the Clippers and Lakers on Saturday and Sunday, so they’ll once again have an opportunity to get a road win in the second of back-to-back games.
Of course, this situation Sunday seems as if it’s the perfect time for the Cavs to snap their losing streak. First, they won’t have to travel as both games this weekend are at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Second, the Lakers are the worst team in basketball other than Brooklyn. Notwithstanding their woes, the Cavaliers should get the cash Sunday.