It was a regular season game between two of the NBA’s monied but mediocre teams, but the making of history means that Sunday’s clash between the Brooklyn Nets and the LA Lakers will be recalled for years to come.
But the presence of new Net Jason Collins, now the first openly gay player in the league, doesn’t figure to add much as on the court for his side than it will off it.
The veteran centre is only on a ten-day contract and while Brooklyn pulled out a win, he contributed only two rebounds and zero points. That’s not a huge amount less than his career mark of 3.6 points and 3.8 boards.
In the short-term, Collins may have some impact in giving Kevin Garnett extra rest time while adding a little to a roster that is 29th in the NBA with just 39 rebounds per game.
Yet hopes have long faded that New York’s other team can justify the biggest salary in basketball. They remain 30.00 to win the title and 15.00 third-favourites for the Eastern Conference and while they can still improve through the end of the regular season, the hoopla will be around their latest arrival, not their play.
Fittingly Monday brings together some of the league’s worst and as we head towards the final stretch of the regular season, keep an eye on who lacks the motivation to fight to the end.
The Utah Jazz have lost three straight as they head into their home clash with the Boston Celtics and while they’ve moved off the foot of the West, this is a young roster whose coach Tyrone Corbin will be on the hot seat come the summer.
And while C’s coach Brad Stevens has huge job security, Boston has dropped four in a row and look like they will drop like a stone. Have a punt at the Jazz on the handicap of -6.5 at 2.45.
Two other basket cases square off in Philadelphia with the 76ers hosting the rock-bottom Milwaukee Bucks.
Philly has lost 10 straight but they will likely add trade deadline acquisitions Danny Granger, Byron Mullens, Eric Maynor and Henry Sims on Monday. That should help a team which has been out-scored by 20.3 in this current slump.
And with the Bucks simply awful, go with the Sixers on the handicap of -3.5 at 2.60.
Best bet: Back Utah over Boston on the handicap of -6.5 at 2.45