You can’t say they weren’t warned.
The Sixers are now getting the full Jimmy Butler Experience as he pisses off his teammates and undermines his coach in the city of brotherly love.
They made the trade for him earlier in the season knowing this was a risk – Tom Thibodeau hung on for another few months after Butler threw his Timberwolves tantrum, but you know you’re playing wih fire when he’s in your lockerroom.
The calculation is he’s worth the drama – and you’d have to say, thus far, they’re right. Philly look a much more likely contender since his arrival and Markelle Fultz’s disappearance from the line-up.
Perhaps the fact these two played last night in Philadelphia is driving down the line, because Washington would not scare you on current form. They can score, but it’s a surprise given how Sixers have been rolling recently that they’re just -2.5 points on the spread. I’ll take them at 10/11.
It’s a clash of the leading two candidates for MVP tonight at the Toyota Center. The home favourite James Harden has just edged ahead in the betting for the crown thanks to his devastating December.
He’s been hitting close to 40 points per night over the last month or so, a run that gives him every chance of defending regular season player of the year award he earned last season.
He’s also topping the game averages by four clear points from the next player, Steph Curry. The run has lifted the Rockets back where they were last year, among the top teams out west after a slow start.
The man aiming to scupper his bid comes to town off a 43 point night against Kawhi on Saturday, followed by just the 30 against Rudy Gobert of the Jazz on Monday.
Giannis Antotokounmpo is a mouthful for commentators and a handful for the league’s best defenders. His Bucks team is benefitting from his development year-on-year and are scrapping with the Raptors at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Both of their teams are in rip roaring form going into this, so it’s too tough to pick a side. I’d look at over on the total points at 226.
Reports of the Spurs’ demise have been greatly exaggerated it would seem.
Things are back jinglin’ and janglin’ in San Antonio again after Kawhi Leonard’s was run out of town – or ran himself out – all the way to the Canadian border.
They’ve won 12 of their last 15. That has them four games back from Denver at the top after they looked like they could drop straight out of the playoff picture early in the season. That includes an oh-so-sweet win over Toronto and their returning former leader.
Spurs fans start "traitor" chant while Kawhi shoots FT's ? pic.twitter.com/NTy0zh9ry8
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 4, 2019
The Grizzlies are doing the opposite trick, tailing off after a very fast start. they’ve covered the spread just once in their last thirteen games, and have lost six straight.
We’ll bet on those trends to continue and take the away team -3.
*All odds correct at time of posting