The betting market made it clear that a downward adjustment had been made on the Brooklyn Nets’ power rating last week when they closed as underdogs at home against the Indiana Pacers. The Nets went on to win and cover that game and two more heading into Tuesday night’s contest in Phoenix, which Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant sat out. The Suns closed as eight-point favorites due to the two missing stars, and the Nets covered in a come-from-behind, 128-124 victory.
Analysis of the lines the market was setting for the Nets showed the downward adjustment had been too much. In no world are the Nets worse than Indiana. Over the weekend, the Nets closed as 3.5-point favorites in Golden State, just one more point than what Toronto had laid the month prior at Chase Center. On Monday in Sacramento, the Nets closed laying the exact same number did Memphis the night prior. The Nets won going away. The Grizzlies and Nets, without Durant, should not be identically power-rated, and the market learned that lesson. I’ve been on the Nets each of these games, and I will continue to do so when they have at least two of their three stars on the floor.
More Respect for Jazz
Did the oddsmakers finally make an upward adjustment to the Jazz’s power rating? On Monday night, the Jazz were set to host the 76ers, when Joel Embiid was ruled out an hour before the game, causing the line to close as high as nine points. Ben Simmons was one rebound away from a 42-point triple-double, but we did not get to see the clash we wanted with the top two teams in the NBA as the 76ers lost, 134-123, and failed to cover.
There seemed to be quite the adjustment on Utah’s power rating when the opening numbers were posted. The Jazz initially opened as 6.5-point favorites on Tuesday night, five points higher than the opening 1.5-point line Friday night in Utah’s contest with Milwaukee. Remember, the Jazz eventually closed as seven-point favorites against Miami on Saturday as well. Are the 76ers really only a half-point better than the struggling Heat? We know that is not the case, so we can logically deduce that there has been an adjustment made on Utah’s power rating. Bettors did not get the opportunity to test that theory due to the injury to Embiid, but the Jazz opened a two-game series with the Clippers starting on Wednesday that can be examined for more clues.
Same Ol’ Bucks, Same Ol’ Problems
In the immortal words of the late Dennis Green, the Milwaukee Bucks are who we thought they were. Milwaukee ended a six-game road trip with three consecutive losses, the low point being a five-point defeat at Oklahoma City. Over those final three games, the Bucks gave up 41.9 percent shooting on 3-pointers. This season, Milwaukee ranks 29th in overall opponent 3-point shooting (39.8 percent) and 27th in opponent corner 3-point shooting (44.4 percent).
Their defensive philosophy in which they put an emphasis on rim protection and almost never switch has burned them in the past, and it might do so again this season. The Suns exploited that flaw on Wednesday. Utah killed them with their perimeter shooting on Friday night and Oklahoma City did so, as well, in an upset win.
The Bucks are a fine team that likely will earn a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference, but if they continue to roll out this scheme on defense, it is likely Giannis Antetokounmpo will be watching the NBA Finals from home again this season.