Pacers vs Rockets
The Pacers still haven't had a game where all of their pieces old and new have connected in a coherent way. If Siakim can provide the Pacers what Anonoby is giving the Knicks, the East playoffs are going to be bananas. You're telling me that you would pick the Heat over this team in a series? Really? A Sixers team without Embiid? Whatever the hell Milwaukee is? Assuming everyone is fully healthy and rosters are as currently constructed, I would only take Boston, New York, and Cleveland over this Pacer team. I don't think that we will see Joel Embiid again this season. This is the top scoring team in the league with a real star in Austin Croshere. Jesus Christ I'm sorry I blacked out for a second I meant to say Danny Granger.
Getting the Rockets at home is a chance to build some cohesion through a good old-fashioned ass kicking. If the Pacers get a double digit lead at half, Houston is likely as not to just fold being the poor road team they are. Perhaps Houston jumps up here and pays attention for once on the road, but I don't think so. Pacers by a couple scores.
Final: Pacers 118, Rockets 102
Dallas Mavericks vs Brooklyn Nets
The Nets have been downright plucky as of late and scoring tons of points. My buddy even tried to tell me Ben Simmons actually played and had a great game. How fucking dumb does he think I am? I saw Ben Simmons die several years ago with my own eyes. Ben Simmons played the other night? GTFOH with that man.
I just have no idea what I'm getting from this Mavericks team night to night. Luca's old man wearing a knee brace in the rec league game is not the stuff that League Pass boners are made of. I see this game being super close or the Mavs laying down and getting blown out.
Final: Nets 117, Mavs 116
Orlando Magic vs Miami Heat
Orlando is Huge, now that they have most of their guys back. Miami, by definition, is not huge. If Miami could guarantee themselves the 10 seed and a spot in the Play-In right this moment, they would gladly forgo the rest of the regular season. It's very obvious to me this team doesn't think it needs to do anything until April. Perhaps they can rekindle the playoff magic again this year, but that seems like a hard way to live year-in and year-out. Then again, they might get the Bucks or the Sixers again and everything I just said is digital garbage.
Final: Orlando 114, Miami 106
Memphis Grizzlies vs New York Knicks
God only knows what team of furniture movers and UPS drivers the Grizzlies are going to put out there tonight. The Grizzlies had more life than expected the first few games after Ja went out, but the harsh reality of what this roster is at present is setting in quickly on this team. Ja, JJJ, and Bane are nowhere near good enough or healthy enough as a trio for this team to actually seriously compete. They won't have to worry about that this season though, 1-2-3 Cancun is mercifully just around the corner Grizz fans.
Is it just me or have the Grizzlies been hurt for 15 straight seasons? Seems like those grit and grind teams were always missing 3 1/2 guys a night too. Is Memphis just incredibly unlucky with all the injuries they seem to have every year or is something actually going on there with that training staff and organization? I feel like I would fall over fucking dead if I saw Morant, JJJ, Bane, Adams and Smart on the court at the same time. I know that it's happened (minus Adams), it must have just been all those other times that I wasn't watching I'm sure of it. Being a Grizzlies fan is hard enough (please don't interpret that as me saying that I am one. Even self loathing nematodes like me have standards) but this shit with the injuries this team has every single season has to be maddening. Vince Williams is a fun story. There, I said something nice about Memphis, can I go out to recess yet Mrs. Krabappel?
Final: Knicks 124, Grizzlies 92
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Chicago Bulls
I hate this game. If you fade my pick, somehow you'll be wrong either way. Minnesota should show up this team's face in the toilet. It's Minnesota though, so Towns might go for 107 in a loss. Either Minnesota is going to be locked in and play the type of defense that keeps the Bulls around 100 points, or they are going to PF Chang's and sending the D League squad over.
Final: Wolves 115, Bulls 101
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Utah Jazz
This should be a track meet. Perhaps an overtime game in the 270s. Because I have to say this every night in this league, I think both of these teams play their guys and try. This is a virtual coin flip to me, with the nod going to Utah being at home. Maybe this game even eclipses the 309 point high watermark for the NBA this season.
Final: Jazz 142, Thunder 138
Milwaukee Bucks vs Phoenix Suns
I didn't think it would be possible for me to dislike a team with Giannis Antetokounmpo on it, but we're there. Damian Lillard will be, and should be elected to the Hall of Fame. His defense should be elected separately into the hall of Shame, along with the rest of this Bucks team, when they don't have the ball. Doc Rivers is also not going to take this team anywhere except the golf course starting on about May 8th. He's a decent coach, but how many coaches in the league could have one of the title with the Celtics in 08? Half? I'm being totally serious. Those Celtics teams were good enough that we should be lambasting Rivers for not winning multiple titles instead of congratulating him on the one that he did. This act that he is currently vomiting on us in the media that he is doing Gods work to coach Giannis, Dame, and the team currently in possession of the 2 seed is intolerable. This is where that guy from Family Guy comes in and calls Doc Rivers a great big phony about 1000 times we're not actually playing the song on the keyboard. Doc Rivers ain't know shit about actually coaching defense. He's certainly not going to be the first coach to get Damian Lillard to play any. The only way you could possibly get Damian Lillard to play defense is if you offered him $200 million a season. Lillard, more so than anything to do with the coach, is the reason the Bucks have zero shot at winning the title this season. Zero. You can't win a title with the defensive effort Lillard puts forth. It's positively shameful.
This is why I will never be an NBA GM. it's not possible to count the amount of times out of 100 that I would rather have Jru Holliday on my basketball team than Damian Lillard. I can win a title with Jru Holiday going 7 for 20 every other game. Why? because his teammates knew without a doubt to the last dying man that he would give his life on defense if it meant the stop they needed.
Here's another controversial take. It takes snowballs whatsoever to shoot shots at the buzzer to win games. None. In fact, everyone in the league except for Bennifer Simmons would relish the chance to shoot game-winning shots all the time. You make them, everybody goes nuts. Miss? Oh well, you still made $700,000 for the game. Do you know what takes actual balls Damian Lillard? Playing 4 quarters of defense in a tight playoff game where one stop is going to win the game.
I ain't never seen that version of "Dame Time." Neither have you. Or will you.
Betty White would have looked like Red Auerbach out there with Kevin Garnett at the peak of his defensive powers in 08. ChatGPT could have coached that team. I forgot Doc, you didn't have Perk or you would have been the Patriots. He absolutely would have stopped Our Lady of the Peace and 6 for 24 Kobe from scoring 83 total points and stealing ame 7 on your floor LOLZ. All-time stinker Doc. Holy shit Doc Rivers, I think I can still smell the stink on you from that game 13 1/2 years later. Somebody open the window, I just let out a wicked Doc and it's going to stink somethin' terrible real soon.
I'm not sure there is anyone currently in the NBA landscape that has been associated with the game as long as Doc Rivers has and carries less gravitas as a championship coach. Frank Vogel and Mike Budenholzer haven't been on my TV for the last 40 years. I'd still rather have both of them or Rick Carlisle, or Nick Nurse, or Tyronn Lue, or Michael Malone 1000 Times out of 1000 over Doc Rivers. What has he actually done besides underachieve with talented rosters? I don't need to list all of the playoff gaks, I didn't pay for a deluxe enough plan with Wix to list that much info. The nicest thing I have ever heard anyone say about Doc Rivers is Bill Simmons earlier this year when he was upset he wasn't able to podcast and golf with Doc anymore after (spoiler) Rivers rolled Adrian Griffin out of Reacher's helicopter. Please don't confuse proximity with virtuosity when it comes to Doc Rivers. He's like a fentanyl-riddled, JV Magic Johnson in the sense that Doc is always there for the checks and cameras and microphones, just not for any actual process or work. What percent out of 100 of the credit pie do you give Doc Rivers for the 08 championship? That's what I thought. The same amount of defensive possessions this season Damian Lillard will squat below a 135 degree angle even once and have both his cheeks pointed at his own baseline. That would be zero if you're stupid and can't follow along. The Bucks will get tired of Rivers' shit within 2 years, tops. Or, he will decide that putting in a half-ass effort takes half-again too much time.
Either way, he'll be right back on our screens in a couple years telling us what the next job is that he wouldn't "wish on anyone." What serendipity Doc! You're perfect for the job.
I can't think of anyone better than you to not coach the Bucs to not winning the title this season.
Final: Suns 134, Bucks 107
ML Parlay of the Day
IND, BKN, ORL, NY, MIN, UTA, PHO