As we move further into the NBA season, it’s all the more evident to me that the Celtics won’t be keeping up with the Cavs and Magic. They’re hurt too much and don’t have the killer instinct of two years ago. Speaking of the Magic, they host fellow Florida team Miami on Sunday, and out west there’s a huge game as Denver heads to LA.
The Lakers are 43-15, 6-4 in their last 10, and just kinda going through the motions right now. Michael Jordan always said for great teams, February was the “dog days” of the NBA season, so maybe that’s all it is. But if they can’t get jazzed up for a visit by fellow Western powerhouse Denver, that’s a whole different story. Denver score and gives up about 5 more points than the Lakers. I’m actually surprised at this point the Lakers still give up 96 points a game, as Artest’s addition was billed as just as much a defensive stopper as an offensive boost. With their 38-19 record, Denver still has its sights set on that No. 1 seed, and something tells me they’re going to bring some intense emotion to this road contest. And they might even pull off the upset. LA will get about a 4-point line, but I’d take a chance on Denver upsetting.
Miami, preparing to just get through this .500 season and then figure out what to do once Wade bolts, heads to my current No. 1 team in the East – Orlando. If this game were in Miami, I’d actually think about recommending the upset, as the Magic are a disappointing 17-13 away from home. But they’re 22-6 at home, and although Miami will make the playoffs, the Heat really have nothing to play for. They’re a lame duck team if I’ve ever seen one. The Magic will get a nice line, probably 8-9 points, and I think this one will be a blowout. Both teams hold opponents to 95 points, and I think they’ll come through and we’ll see a lower-scoring game, maybe a 94-82 type finish. Bet the Magic and the under.