We will start this post off with the crazy controversy in San Antonio last night, as the Spurs came back from a 21 point deficit to win in double overtime, for just their 3rd win in 14 games. James Harden had 50 points in this one, but he should’ve been credited with 52. Unfortunately, the referees thought that this dunk attempt by Harden in the 4th quarter did not go in.
Now, let me first start off by saying, I have come to grips with the fact that human error is part of the game. It is what it is. BUT, I also think missing this is inexcusable. I do think the Houston Rockets should have closed the game out, controversy or no controversy. They pretty much unraveled after they were denied a review on that. Harden did hit a 3 point shot on the next possession, but Lonnie Walker was on fire and the Spurs, give them credit, they continued to fight until the very end, getting a much needed victory without their second leading scorer in LaMarcus Aldridge.
As far as the result being final, the Rockets think they have a chance at successfully protesting this game and potentially receiving a retroactive W, or even replaying the final 8 or so minutes when the botched call occurred. I personally don’t believe the Rockets have much hope, but ESPN’s Tim MacMahon tweeted out last night that a Rockets source is optimistic about their chances.
All in all, I’m just struggling to understand how a league that is as successful as the NBA and has all the technological resources you can ask for, was unable to review this call to make the quick and necessary change. Here is a transcript of the explanation the ref gave for the missed call.
Anyways, it will be interesting to see how the NBA goes about this situation in the next 24 hours or so. With that being said, clearly the Rockets pick of -6.5 did not come through, though it did look good for the majority of the game.
The Magic pick to win straight up over the Washington Wizards went much smoother. As I said in my analysis, the Wizards simply play no defense. They had given up about 130 points per game on their recent 4 game road trip on the west coast and they were also without two big men who are their 2nd and 6th leading scorers respectively.
The real story in this one in my opinion is Markelle Fultz. My analysis on this game focused predominately on the Wizards’ poor defense and injuries to their big men. What I did not really spend much time on is Fultz, and his return to DC. Fultz played high school ball at Dematha, so he had plenty of support in the crowd last night. For those that haven’t watched Fultz much, or only remember his awkward shooting form from his previous stint with the 76ers, this kid is going to be damn good. He already is. I’d argue he was the difference maker in this one. He got wherever he wanted to on the court, and Fultz looked like he was toying with the smaller Isaiah Thomas, backing him down, and hitting midrange jump shots with ease over the smaller defender. He looked smooth, and confident, and like a former number 1 overall pick. Fultz went for a career high 20 points in his return to the DMV, going 9-17 from the floor, to go with 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 4 turnovers, in 31 minutes. The Magic are not quite fully healthy, missing their 2nd leading scorer and leading rebounder in Nikola Vucevic, along with bench contributor, Al-Farouq Aminu, in this one, but if and when they get all the pieces together, the Magic should solidify themselves for one of the final two playoff spots in the eastern conference.
Stay tuned for more picks throughout the week. NBA Pick Record is 2-2.