Charlotte Bobcats at San Antonio Spurs (-11, 191.5)
San Antonio All-Star Manu Ginobili isn’t reading too much into the team’s 110-80 loss to the Miami Heat this week.
"They needed the game more than us," Ginobili said. "They were more upset than us and they are a great team. We are not playing against a second-division team in Asia. We are talking about the Heat."
And with a date with the Dallas Mavericks slated for Friday night, the Spurs have been gearing up all week to be better prepared against the league’s elite. The team spent extra time in the film room this week before enduring its longest practice of the season on Wednesday. Reporters at the session noted the team typically has scrimmages ending in the 60s as far as scores. But following the marathon practice, the scoreboard read 102-95.
“Today was one of those days,” McDyess said. “We want to do the things that will lead into Friday’s game, because we’ve been lacking on defensive schemes and out of whack on offense. We want to clean up a lot of things.”
That momentum figures to carry over against the Bobcats. Charlotte has lost seven of its past 10 games and is just 4-6 ATS over that span.
Pick: San Antonio
Cincinnati Bearcats at Connecticut Huskies (-3.5, 129.5)
So much for the curse of winning the Big East Tournament.
Connecticut responded to winning its league tournament – five wins in five days – by totally dismantling an overmatched Bucknell team in the first round, 81-52.
Kemba Walker had 18 points, a career-high 12 assists and eight rebounds to solidify his case as an NBA lottery pick. But even more importantly, he got plenty of support from the rest of the roster. Roscoe Smith poured in 17 points and Jeremy Lamb chipped in 16 for the fresh-looking Huskies.
"For a lot of these kids, everybody really except for Kemba, no one else had meaningful NCAA minutes," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "So Kemba, who's been our scorer, became our initiator. He made some big baskets, but his biggest contribution was controlling the game on the offensive end."
Cincinnati has had issues dealing with Connecticut this year. The Huskies picked up a 67-59 win in Ohio in late February thanks to Lamb and Smith, who combined for 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting, including a sparkling 4-of-6 beyond the arc.
Following that defeat, Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin was as displeased with the performance of his backcourt as any game this season. "Our guards got as outplayed as you possibly could today," he said.
Don’t expect that to suddenly change.