• It’s not the size of the card, as they say. I hated Tuesday’s short card, but I rather like Thursday’s short card. Go figure.

    #Blazers @ #Rockets

    This one got moved to a weird early start time, and it’s another one where I think we caught a glimpse of the likely line (Rockets by 2) before it got yanked off the board in a bunch of spots. Frankly, I don’t think I care. I’m leaning hard to Houston. The Blazers are basically a fade for me these days as they don’t play defense, and without CJ and Nurk (and RoCo), they really don’t have the horses to beat good teams or cover against bad teams. The Rockets aren’t really either of those – they’re in between – but they seem to be having fun, and the resurgent Boogie Cousins just adds another element. More importantly, he takes away one of Portland’s only remaining strengths, and that’s Enes Kanter’s offensive rebounding.

    #Clippers @ #Heat

    This is now the Heat’s second game back home and it’s the tail end of a back-to-back for an already-tired team. Still, we saw Orlando respond well to the back-to-back after getting home, and I think Miami does, too. Plus, they desperately need a win, so I reckon they’ll take even the shorthanded Clippers seriously enough. I expect Miami to be a 3-5 point favorite, and I lean their direction as the Clips slowly grind to a halt without their stars.

    #Lakers @ #Pistons

    If the Lakers weren’t such insane road warriors, this would be a prominent letdown spot. A back-to-back off the ESPN game with Philadelphia the night before… but then, these are the Lakers. This is angry LeBron and newly minted team leader Anthony Davis holding his guys accountable on defense. The Pistons have the Cavs the night before – hardly the get-up game the Lakers have. I have to lean Pistons even if it’s terrifying. And I think we can safely assume they’ll be catching at least 10 points… probably more.

    #Warriors @ #Suns

    I thought I saw this one listed briefly as a PICK, but then it came back down, so who knows. If indeed that’s the number, that feels odd. The Suns, I might argue, could very well be better than the Warriors on a neutral site right this second. Both teams are on a back-to-back, though the Warriors have to travel late. If the Suns have a Denver Rematch hangover, they’ll presumably get it out against the Thunder. I have to lean to the home team here, though I admit, it wasn’t my intent when I thought the Suns would be a favorite of 2-4.

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