This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Best and Orlando Magic have not been synonymous for a long time. However, the Magic dealing Serge Ibaka for Terrence Ross is not as much of an immediate loss as some might think. It did mark the end of an experiment gone haywire, given the Biyombo-Ibaka-Vucevic big man trio simply did not pan out. Orlando was not competing for anything, save for the lottery, this season, so getting Ross and an additional first round pick, to go with the two they already have, essentially waved the white flag on their season.
At least Aaron Gordon and Ross can also jump out the whole damn building.
Last week: 1-1 (19-19-1 on the season). I am doomed to being completely mediocre at this.
Knicks at Thunder (-7)
The Knicks big win on Sunday was impressive, given their 50 percent shooting as a unit, compared to the 36.3 percent the Spurs put forth. I'd like to say that the Spurs woes were because of elite Knicks defending, but they weren't. San Antonio simply could not get open shots to fall – all teams have those days. The Thunder, on the other hand, dropped their third game to the Warriors this season as they welcomed back Kevin Durant.
If the Knicks offense ran through Porzingis, I'd take the points here, but they still rely far too much on Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony, who is still dictating the scoring. Steven Adams has handled experienced bigs in the league – Porzingis is unique, but he's not playing like Nikola Jokic at the moment.
For good measure, the Thunder are 26-7 as favorites this season.
The pick: Thunder -7
Heat at Rockets (-9)
The Heat are 8-2 over their last 10 contests, and prior to the back-to-back losses, they ripped off a 13-game winning streak. Over the course of that 13-2 period, the road victories came against the Nets (twice), Bucks, Timberwolves and Bulls.
The Heat defeated the Rockets 109-103 in Miami earlier this season, but the recent two game skid is more telling of the Heat than the win streak was.
The pick: Houston -9