Note: My friend Kenny Ocker once said, if I ever wrote a prediction column, that I should call it “Pick ‘n’ Roll,” because my last name is Roll and I’d be picking. Teehee. Well, I never thought I’d be doing predictions, but the name is too good to pass on. So here we go, the first edition of what will likely be a very sporadic series, the Pick ‘n’ Roll.
Joining me for this inaugural edition of “Pick ‘n’ Roll” are The Brothers Kendoll. Andrew Kendoll has been watching basketball longer than I care to think about, as has Greg Kendoll (though he took a break to go to college.) For this one, we’ll be picking each game from the weekend before Christmas. It would be “The Night Before Christmas,” but there are no games on Monday.
PISTONS at WIZARDS – 7PM EST Saturday
Greg: I would go Wizards, if only because there’s bound to be some karmic retribution for a 32-point beat.
Rocko: The Wizards are bad, but definitely not this bad. Turnabout is fair play, as I think it will be for this one.
BULLS at HAWKS – 7PM EST Saturday
Rocko: There’s so many variables in this one: Luol Deng’s shoulder, Joakim Noah’s temper, and how well Atlanta can pull together after dumping two straight. I’m taking the Hawks.
Greg: If the Bulls have all their pieces, they’ll win this one. If not, it’s the Hawks.
JAZZ at HEAT – 7:30PM EST Saturday
Andrew: That’s the upset special! I can’t pick the Heat, it’s against my religion.
Rocko: No question, this one’s gonna be the Heat. Mo-Mo and Big Al are well rested and will almost certainly be focused for this match, and it will be close, but it’s the defending champs at home. Sorry.
GRIZZLIES at ROCKETS – 8PM EST Saturday
Greg: I’m going to take… (pause) I’m going to take the Rockets. Speed over size, Harden will have a big game.
Andrew: That’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever said. Speed never wins in the NBA. That’s why the Lakers have 16 rings and the Suns have zero. The Grizz are going to win a blood feud, a game with low shooting percentages and a score in the mid 80s
Rocko: Hmmm… The Grizz are hot, the Rockets are young, and they’re still trying to make Lin and Harden work together. I’m taking Memphis, but it may be close, and I think either Harden or Lin will have a big night, but not both.
PACERS at HORNETS – 8PM EST Saturday
Greg: “Krusty, lemme get this straight. You took all the money you made and bet it against the Harlem Globetrotters?” “I thought the Generals were due!” Hornets snap their skid tonight.
Andrew: The losing streak will end this week, but not against the best team they face.
Rocko: The Pacers are first in the league in rebounds per game, but 28th in points per game. ErMahGerd, Wasted Possessions. Yeah, time for NoLa to pull one out.
Greg: I love it when the Hornets play Portland and the scoreboard says “POR-NO”
CAVALIERS at BUCKS – 8:30PM EST Saturday
Andrew: Divisional matchup, but Mama always said “Pick the team that’s better.”
Greg: Actually, I think it was, “Pick the team that’s not on the road and without its best player.”
(brotherly arguing about Kyrie Irving vs. Anderson Varejao for the title of “Best Player on the Cavs”)
Rocko: While you all while away your time deciding who the best player on a lottery team is, I’m going to try and count up the number of different ways Cleveland is screwed in this game. I’m calling blowout. Bucks by 20 at least.
BOBCATS at NUGGETS – 9PM EST Saturday
Greg: We’ll take the better team at home. Wait, deja vu.
Rocko: Next question.
LAKERS at WARRIORS: 10:30 PM EST Saturday
Greg: The Lakers are stringing together a paper tiger winning streak, but Golden State is the better team.
Andrew: For the first time since God-knows-when, every team in the NBA can smell Laker blood in the water. That’s because, on any given night, any team in the NBA can beat the Lakers.
Greg: I just realized, the Lakers are the third best team in California. (maniacal cackle)
Rocko: The Lakers will get one more reminder of their need for Nash in their last game before his return. This could get ugly. It’s two teams that look nothing like their franchise stereotypes. Golden State looks like a team that belongs somewhere other than the D-League, while the Lakers look like… crap.
SIXERS at NETS – 3PM EST Sunday
Greg: The Sixers are resurgent with a healthy Jrue Holliday and the Nets are getting frustrated. Both equally motivated, I’ll take the home team.
Rocko: Sixers for me. Jrue and J-Rich are a solid team even without Bynum, and the Nets are overrated. With an injury prone center and a point guard who is not living up to the franchise player label, I see no reason for Philly to lose.
TIMBERWOLVES at KNICKS: 5PM EST Sunday
Greg: No way the Wolves handle the league’s two best teams in the same weekend.
Rocko: The Wolves are a solid team when they’re healthy, the Knicks are a great team even though they’re not.
JAZZ at MAGIC – 6PM EST Sunday
Greg: Oh, Jesus.
Rocko: The Jazz have been ok, the Magic have been more obviously rebuilding. I’ll take the Jazz, but I’m willing to be wrong. Orlando is at home and has been capable of some surprises.
MAVERICKS at SPURS – 7PM EST SUNDAY
Rocko: It’s all up to O.J. Mayo in this one. If’ he’s hot, the Mavs have a chance. If he’s not, Pop’s boys will slow it down and pound it out. I’ll take the Spurs at home, as much as I’d like to see the Mavs win.
CLIPPERS at SUNS – 8PM EST Sunday
Rocko: This is a team experiencing a renaissance against a team that desperately needs one. I’m hesitant to just automatically pick the Clips though, for the same reason that I went for the Hornets above. They gotta lose sometime.
Rocko: You guys are stoopid.
TRAILBLAZERS at KINGS – 9PM EST Sunday
Andrew: Portland knows this team by now. Getting to .500 is big for their morale, and I think they’ll keep it rolling.