DEFENCE wins championships. So the old cliche goes anyway.
No coincidence, thus, that the teams shipping the most points in the NBA are miles away from a title. Conceding points does not win prizes.
But the leakiest rearguards also bring good value when looking at points spreads, especially when confronted with opponents who are polar opposites.
Top of the hit list are the Phoenix Suns who are conceding 112.1 points per game, one more than the equally porous Los Angeles Lakers.
Only eight of the Suns 42 contests so far have delivered less than a total of 200 points and their Friday meeting with the free-scoring Houston Rockets should be a shootout where taking over 215.5 total is a solid shot.
It’s a not dissimilar story for the Lakers who gained a rare low-scoring win against the offensive void that is Sacramento in midweek.
Before that, it had been ten games since they held anyone to less than 109. And when they face a Spurs team on Thursday that ranks second defensively, expect LA to be strangled in a manner that hints at going under 203.5 total points.
For a contrast in styles, however, Wednesday’s contest between the New Orleans Pelicans (giving up 110.9 per game) and the Memphis Grizzles (scoring only 98.9) is a perverse must-watch.
Minus Mike Conley, the Grizz have been up and down and with so many deficiencies on both sides, look at the Pelicans at no more than -3.5 at 2.18.
Mark's Tip (1am)
- Under 206.5 total points in New Orleans v Memphis
- (13-10, Unibet)