NBA Today - Nov. 1

NBA Today - Nov. 1

NBA today - November. 1
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD


Thursday, Nov. 1

Detroit at Miami (8 p.m. EDT).

Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and the Heat make their season debuts when they host the Pistons.

STARS

Wednesday

-Carmelo Anthony, and Allen Iverson, Nuggets. Anthony had 32 points and Iverson added 25 and 14 assists in Denver's 120-103 victory over Seattle.

-Manu Ginobili, San Antonio, scored 30 points, including the go-ahead basket with 32 seconds left, and the Spurs beat the Grizzlies 104-101.

-Richard Jefferson, New Jersey, scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Nets' 112-103 overtime victory over Chicago.

-Chris Paul, New Orleans, had 22 points and 12 assists to lead the Hornets' to a 104-90 win over Sacramento.

DEBUTS

Kevin Durant's scored 18 points in 31 minutes, but shot just 7-of-22 in his NBA debut, in Seattle's 120-103 loss to Denver. ... Rashard Lewis scored 26 points to lift Orlando to a 102-83 victory over Milwaukee. ... Jamaal Tinsley scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and Indiana Pacers beat Washington 119-110 on Wednesday night to give coach Jim O'Brien a win in his debut. ... Newly acquired shooting guard Morris Peterson had 13, including three 3-pointers for the Hornets' in a 104-90 victory over Sacramento, to spoil the coaching debut of Reggie Theus.

WRIGHT STUFF

Antoine Wright scored 14 of his career-high 21 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to lead New Jersey to a 112-103 victory over Chicago on Wednesday night.

LE-BRICK

Jason Terry scored 24 points, Dirk Nowitzki added 15 and Dallas, beat Cleveland 92-74. LeBron James had the worst opening night of his brilliant career. He had 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting and was a non-factor in the Cavaliers' most lopsided home loss since April 5, 2005.

MAKING MOVES

The Houston Rockets on Wednesday extended guard Luther Head's contract through the 2008-09 season. The 6-foot-3 Head has averaged 9.8 points and 2.6 assists since the Rockets drafted him 24th overall in the 2005 draft. ... The Minnesota Timberwolves exercised the third-year option on guard Randy Foye and the fourth-year option on guard Rashad McCants. Foye, a second-year player from Villanova, earned NBA All-Rookie first-team honors in 2006-07. McCants averaged 7.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 79 games as a rookie. ... The Toronto Raptors signed forward Kris Humphries to a contract extension through the 2010-11 season.

OUT

Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal sat out Indiana's regular-season opener against Washington on Wednesday night because of a hyperextended left knee. O'Neal, a six-time All-Star, was hurt Oct. 8 when he collided with Shawne Williams during practice. The Pacers beat Washington 119-110 in overtime.

SUSPENDED

Lakers owner Jerry Buss has been suspended for two games and fined $25,000 by NBA commissioner David Stern in conjunction with Buss' conviction on a misdemeanor drunk driving charge. Buss, 74, was arrested in May in Carlsbad and pleaded no contest to the drunk driving charge on Sept. 4. He was placed on five years' probation and fined $1,900.

STREAKS

Richard Jefferson, had 29 points and 10 rebounds as the Nets won their 12th straight against the Bulls in New Jersey.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Gilbert Arenas scored 34 points and Antawn Jamison had 27 points and 16 rebounds in Washington's 119-110 overtime loss to Indiana. ... Ben Gordon had 27 points and Luol Deng added 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who lost to New Jersey 112-103 in overtime. ... Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 17 points and 18 rebounds in Cleveland's 92-74 loss to Dallas.

SPEAKING

''I thought he played all right for a 19-year-old kid playing his first game. It ain't about how individuals play. It's how our team played. We got beat.'' - Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo after No. 2 pick over Kevin Durant scored 18 points and shot 7-of-22 from the field in the SuperSonics' 120-103 loss to Denver.

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Re: NBA Today - Nov. 1

Pacers O'Neal misses season opener
ASSOCIATED PRESS

INDIANAPOLIS -- Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal sat out Indiana's regular-season opener against Washington on Wednesday night because of a hyperextended left knee.

O'Neal, a six-time All-Star, was hurt Oct. 8 when he collided with Shawne Williams during practice.

''Jermaine practiced today, but he's not ready to play,'' Pacers coach Jim O' Brien said. ''We expect him to play (Friday) against Miami.''

Ike Diogu replaced O'Neal in the starting lineup.

Pacers center Troy Murphy also missed the game because of a strained left Achilles' tendon. Williams sat out the first game of a three-game suspension for getting caught driving without a license.

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Detroit (63-35, 48-49-1 ATS) at Miami (44-42, 42-40-4 ATS)

Two bitter Eastern Conference rivals tip off the season against one another, as the star-studded Pistons visit South Beach for a matchup against the Heat, who are forced to start the season without All-Star guard Dwyane Wade.

Wade will be out at least until mid-November as he continues to recover from offseason knee and shoulder surgeries. With their superstar sidelined at the end of last season, the Heat stumbled down the stretch, losing their final six games, including a four-game opening-round playoff loss to the Bulls.

Miami also closed out last year by going 0-11 ATS overall and an 0-7 ATS at home. For the season, the Heat went 27-16 SU and 21-21-1 ATS in South Beach (playoffs included).

The Pistons reached the Eastern Conference finals for the fifth straight year in 2006-07, but for the second time in a row, they got eliminated, this time by the Cavaliers in six games. Detroit capped the playoffs in a 1-8 ATS slump, including six consecutive non-covers to end the year.

Detroit finished the regular season on a 12-1 ATS run, including 7-0 ATS in the final seven. Overall, the Pistons went 31-18 SU and ATS on the highway last year (playoffs included).

The home team has won seven of the last eight meetings in this rivalry going back to a 2006 Eastern Conference Finals matchup (6-1-1 ATS). Last year, Detroit won two of the three meetings, but Miami went 2-0-1 ATS.

When playing on Thursday, the Pistons are on an 8-3 ATS run, while Miami is on a 6-2 ATS roll.

The under is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings overall and 10-1-1 in the last 12 clashes in Miami, including 6-0 “under” in the last six in South Beach.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


Houston (1-0, 0-1 ATS) at Utah (1-0 SU and ATS)

The Rockets get an early-season shot at revenge when they visit Salt Lake City for a battle with the Jazz in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference opening-round playoff series.

Houston took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series against Utah last year, only to drop four of the next five games (0-5 ATS), including losing all three contests in Salt Lake by double digits. Over the last two seasons (playoffs included), the Jazz are 9-5 SU and ATS against the Rockets, including 6-0 in Utah (5-1 ATS).

Both teams opened the season with road victories on the West Coast. The Jazz throttled the Warriors 117-96 as a two-point road underdog, while Houston held off the Lakers 95-93, but failed to cover as a 5½-point road chalk. The Rockets led by 12 points with 1:36 to go but needed a three-pointer from Shane Battier with less than three seconds left to win the game.

Going back to last season, the Rockets are mired in a 3-14 ATS slump. On a positive note, they’re 17-7-1 ATS in their last 27 Thursday tip-offs.

Utah closed out last year by going 8-1-1 ATS at home. However, unlike Houston, the Jazz have struggled recently on Thursdays, going 2-7 ATS in their last nine.

The under is 4-0 in the last four series meetings in Utah.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UTAH and UNDER


Phoenix (67-26, 45-43-5 ATS) at Seattle (0-1 SU and ATS)


Steve Nash’s quest for an elusive trip to the NBA Finals resumes at Key Arena in Seattle, where the Suns open the 2007 season against the Sonics.

After advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2005 and 2006, Phoenix’s playoff run ended in a six-game loss to the Spurs in the conference semifinals last year. On the bright side, the Suns have won three straight Pacific Division titles and are heavily favored to make it four in a row in 2007-08.

Seattle opened the season with last night’s 120-103 loss at Denver as an 11-point road underdog. Highly touted rookie Kevin Durant played 31 minutes and went 7-for-22 from the field for 18 points. The Sonics are coming off a last-place finish in the Northwest Division, going 31-51 SU and 35-40-7 ATS.

The home team won all three meetings last year and is 4-0 SU in the last four. The straight-up winner is 9-1 ATS in the last 10 clashes in this rivalry.

The Sonics went 20-21 at home last year, but just 14-24-3 ATS, including 3-8-1 ATS to end the season.

Phoenix was solid on the road last year, going 30-16, but only 23-21 ATS, including 3-6 ATS in the final nine regular-season road contests.

The under is 7-2 in the last nine series clashes (4-0 last four), and 10 of the last 13 head-to-head battles in Seattle have stayed under the total.

ATS ADVANTAGE:  SEATTLE and UNDER

gametimepicks.com

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Thursday's TNT doubleheader
VegasInsider.com 

NBA on TNT carries over its tradition of Thursday night doubleheaders with two primetime matchups beginning at 8:00 p.m. EDT. Payback is in the air, as Detroit will look for revenge against a Miami team that tossed the Pistons out of the Conference Finals during the 2005-2006 season (the Heat took the series 4-2, taking the NBA Championship over Dallas).

**Detroit at Miami**

Playing their first game of the season, the Pistons will travel to Miami in an Eastern Conference clash on Thursday. Even with Detroit sticking to its guns in the personnel department and Miami making some last-minute transactions, expect this matchup to resemble games played in the past.

Shooting guard Dwyane Wade continues to recoup from knee and shoulder surgery, while center Shaquille O’Neal is still a bit gimpy after suffering a bruised left quadriceps in during the preseason. The biggest shakeup on the roster was acquiring forward/guard Ricky Davis from the Timberwolves. Davis will be an immediate replacement for the injured Wade.

When we look at the Pistons, we see the same group that took the NBA Championship during 2003-04 (minus Ben Wallace). Is that a good thing? It’s tough to tell at this point, but there’s no doubting that Detroit is an aging squad, averaging 27.2 years. Point guard Chauncey Billups is 31, Richard Hamilton is 29, Lindsey Hunter is the oldest at 36 and Antonio McDyess is 33. This is by no means a youthful club.

Getting back to the Heat, Ricky Davis is coming off a productive season, averaging 17 points per game with 4.8 assists per game. However, his scoring numbers have been on the decline. Davis averaged 19.4 PPG in 2005-06, two whole points lower than last season.

During this preseason, Miami went 0-7 straight up.

The only explanation for a winless record before the start of the regular season; the injury bug. Brian Chase, Jason Williams, Marcus Slaughter, Penny Hardaway, Wayne Simien, and Michael Doleac where all banged up but all reports indicate that the players who have made the cut will appear in their debut on Thursday.

In their last 10 head-to-head matches, the Heat have gone 5-5 SU and 7-2 ATS (the last contest on April of 2007 resulted in a push).

A real quick look ahead has Miami going up against Indiana, Charlotte, San Antonio and Phoenix, while Detroit will focus on Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago and the L.A. Clippers in its next four games after Thursday’s contest.

Detroit went 31-18 SU and ATS on the road last year.

Most books have initially opened the Pistons as four-point visiting favorites, with a total set at 181.

**Phoenix at Seattle**

In the second game of the double-header on TNT, the Suns will open their bag of tricks for the first time this season. Seattle will get the home court advantage in this 10:30 p.m. EDT West Coast challenge.

There’s no hiding the fact that if this is the year to make things happen in Phoenix, then now is the time. Losing big man Kurt Thomas to the same Sonics squad that will be playing the Suns on Thursday, there seems to be somewhat of a void behind starting forwards Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion. Sean Marks and Brian Skinner will, in all likelihood, be the supporting cast. Marks is a 3.1 PPG scorer over his seven-year career, only appearing in three games for the Suns last year.

Phoenix ended the 2006-07 season with a 61-21 SU and a 44-37-1 ATS record.

Led by newly installed head coach P.J. Carlesimo, the SuperSonics are sitting with a very young team (24.8 average age). Looking to insert rookie Kevin Durant right into the mix, Seattle does have some solid players coming off the bench. Veteran guard/forward Wally Szczerbiak is coming off a 15 PPG season last year and forward Kurt Thomas ('questionable') may see starting time with Robert Swift ‘doubtful’ to make the opening day roster.

The Sonics where 31-51 SU and 38-40-4 ATS last season.

Just glancing at these two teams on paper, there’s obviously a disparity in talent and experience. The Suns own the run and gun game, led by shooting guard Raja Bell. The only weight in Phoenix’s lineup is Grant Hill. I raised this question in the fearless predictions piece, but the main question is can Hill keep up with the frenetic end to end action?

The Suns left last year behind, averaging a league high 110.2 PPG, but gave up one of the league’s worst 102.9 PPG.

In the end, Phoenix has yet another long journey ahead of them. I’m pretty sure they’ll rank right up their with the best of the teams in the league, but can they bring themselves together once a San Antonio matchup repeats itself (if that’s the destiny in the future)?

The Sonics posted a below average 2006-07 home record at 20-21 SU, while only cashing tickets with a 14-24 ATS resume.

Bodog.com has opened Phoenix as a 9 ½-point visiting favorite, with a total set at a high 215.

Update: Seattle opened up the season on Wednesday, losing to Denver 120-103. The Sonics where unable to cover the 11 1/2 points set by most books, and the 'over' cashed in heavy. Seattle's Damien Wilkins led the team with 21 points, while bringing down eight boards in 35 minutes of action. In Kevin Durant's first NBA game, the first round pick drained 18 points and nabbed three steals.   

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Pistons' Hamilton to miss opener

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Detroit guard Richard Hamilton is expected to miss Thursday night's season opener against the Miami Heat as he tends to a family emergency.

The Detroit Free Press reported on Thursday that the Hamilton is missing the game, adding the reason for the emergency is unknown.

Rookie Arron Afflalo is expected to start in Hamilton's place..

Hamilton averaged 19.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game last season. All those numbers are above his career averages of 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

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