Betting News and Notes - Dec 31

Betting News and Notes - Dec 31

Pitt loses point guard to broken foot

Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon got the crushing news that starting point guard Levance Fields will miss the next 8-12 weeks after suffering a broken foot Saturday.

Fields was hurt driving to the basket in No. 6 Pittsburgh's (11-1) first defeat of the season, an 80-55 loss in Dayton. He will have surgery Monday on the fifth metatarsal in his left foot, the school said Sunday.

"With Levance being as competitive as he is, we knew it had to be something when he went down yesterday," Dixon told FOXSports.com on Sunday afternoon. "All guys respond differently, but we're hopeful he can come back at the end of the regular season."

The 5-foot-10 Fields is arguably the most important player on the Panthers. His injury comes a little more than a week after Pittsburgh lost starting wing Mike Cook to a season-ending knee injury.

Fields was averaging 11.9 points, 5.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds and a best-case scenario has him returning to the court by the end of the regular season.

Now Ronald Ramon, who is more of a shooting guard, will move over and run the team.

"We'll be OK," Dixon said. "We've got guys to replace them."

That may be true, but now Pittsburgh goes from a team that could compete for the Big East championship to a team that more realistically can hope to finish above the .500 mark in conference play.

Pitt is down to nine scholarship players because redshirt freshman Austin Wallace was lost for the season when he fractured the patella in one knee in practice earlier this month.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Dec 31

NBA Today - December 31
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD

Toronto at New Orleans (8 p.m. EST). Chris Paul of the Hornets is averaging 24.6 points and 10.0 assists in December.

STARS

- Amare Stoudemire, Suns, had 31 points and 17 rebounds in a 117-102 victory over Sacramento.

- Tim Duncan, Spurs, had 24 points and 17 rebounds in a 111-87 win over Memphis.

- Paul Pierce, Celtics, scored 33 points in Boston's 110-91 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

- Baron Davis, Warriors, scored 28 points to help Golden State beat Denver 105-95.

BLAZING

The Portland Trail Blazers rallied to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 97-72 on Sunday for their league-leading 13th straight win. It is the second-longest winning streak in Blazers history. Portland won 16 straight in the 1990-91 season.

OFF THE BENCH

Ben Gordon scored 25 points in his second consecutive strong performance since returning to a reserve role, leading the Bulls to a 100-83 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday. Gordon, the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year as a rookie in 2004-05, scored 31 points Friday in a victory over Milwaukee. He made 11 of 15 shots Sunday in another good outing at Madison Square Garden.

STREAKING

Boston extended its winning streak to six games with a 110-91 win over the Lakers on Sunday night. The Celtics improved their record to an NBA-best best 26-3.

SNAPPED

Golden State beat the Nuggets 105-95 on Sunday night, ending a seven-game losing streak in Denver. The Nuggets ended their season-high seven-game winning streak with the loss. Golden State last won in Denver on Feb. 24, 2003.

SLUMPING

San Antonio beat Memphis 111-87 on Sunday night, handing the Grizzlies their fifth straight loss. Memphis has lost eight of 10.

SPEAKING

''I'm definitely not embracing it but what can I do. I have to use the minutes that I have and try to be productive and if I don't play a lot of minutes, I don't play a lot of minutes. There's nothing I can do. I can't sub myself into the game. I'm not going to go to him crying and whining about playing and starting and all that stuff. It definitely bugs me. I think I'm a starter in this league, but I guess not on this team.'' - Knicks center Eddy Curry said of his reserve role after New York's 100-83 loss to Chicago on Sunday.

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Monday's NBA matchup notes
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Indiana at Charlotte

The Bobcats won the previous meeting between the teams 96-87 on Nov. 9.

Orlando at Chicago

The Magic took two of three meetings with the Bulls last season, including the lone game in Chicago.

Milwaukee at Detroit

Pistons should have little trouble extending this streak, having won four straight and nine of 11 against Milwaukee. The Bucks have won only once in their last eight trips to The Palace of Auburn Hills, where Detroit is 12-2 this season.

Golden State at Houston

Yao Ming was held to a season-low 10 points in the Rockets' first meeting with the Warriors (18-13) on Nov. 29. Golden State's Baron Davis had 27 points, eight assists, five rebounds and five steals to lead the Warriors to a 113-94 home win in that game - their third straight victory over the Rockets.

Toronto at New Orleans

New Orleans has lost seven of its last nine games against Toronto, including four of five at home.

Portland at Utah

Portland goes for its 14th straight win - and third against the Jazz during the streak - when the teams meet Monday night at Utah.

Minnesota at L.A. Clippers


The Clippers lost two of three games against the Timberwolves last season.

Philadelphia at Seattle

Philadelphia has won four of the last five meetings in the series, including both last season.

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Auburn's Korvotney Barber breaks bone in left hand
ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn forward Korvotney Barber, the national field-goal percentage leader at 72.0 percent, is expected to be sidelined at least four weeks after breaking his non-shooting left hand.

Barber, averaging 13.8 points and 6.9 rebounds, was injured Saturday in the Tigers' 79-59 victory over Towson.

The injury leaves the team with just six available scholarship players.

''For our team, it is heartbreaking, and I feel for them. Obviously, it is an unbelievably difficult situation,'' coach Jeff Lebow said Sunday.

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Iowa forward Jarryd Cole tears ACL, out for the season
ASSOCIATED PRESS

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa freshman forward Jarryd Cole tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Saturday and will miss the rest of the season.

Cole, who had recently moved into the starting lineup, was averaging 6.6 points and 4.4 rebounds. He injured his knee midway through the second half of Iowa's 57-50 win over Southeastern Louisiana, landing awkwardly after a dunk.

''I feel badly for Jarryd,'' coach Todd Lickliter said. ''Injuries such as this are something you don't anticipate or prepare for.''

Iowa (7-6), which has lost six of its last nine games, will open Big Ten play Wednesday at home against Indiana.

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Texas freshman Gary Johnson cleared to play Jan. 2 after being sidelined.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas freshman Gary Johnson, sidelined this season because of an unspecified heart condition, can play his first game Jan. 2 against TCU.

Johnson was ''cleared to participate in all physical activity at the University of Texas,'' UT trainer Fred Burnett said in a release Saturday.

Johnson, the No. 9 Longhorns' top recruit, has been monitored for the last six months by Dr. James Willerson, president-elect of the Texas Heart Institute and president of the UT Health Science Center in Houston.

The 6-foot-7 forward was allowed to practice but held out of regular-season games during his evaluation. University officials released no other details on the heart condition, which was diagnosed in May.

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Monday's NCAAB matchup notes
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Iona at No. 15 Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt won 92-56 in 1980 in the only previous meeting between these teams.

Fordham at No. 8 Georgetown

The Rams lead the all-time series against Georgetown 27-22, but this is the first matchup since the Hoyas won 75-65 during the 1978-79 season.

Rice at No. 11 Texas A&M

Overall, Texas A&M leads the all-time series between the teams 104-81, including 59-34 at College Station.

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Portland (18-12, 19-11 ATS) at Utah (16-16, 14-16-2 ATS)

The red-hot Trailblazers take a league-leading 13-game winning streak into Salt Lake City for a divisional battle against the struggling Jazz.

Portland made it 13 in a row with Sunday’s 97-72 victory over the 76ers as a 6½-point home favorite. The Blazers, who are 12-1 ATS during their incredible run, have the longest winning streak in the NBA this season and the second longest streak in franchise history.

Utah has dropped consecutive games, falling to the Lakers on the road (123-109 as a five-point underdog) and Celtics at home (104-98 as a six-point pup). The Jazz have lost 11 of their last 14 games overall, and they’re just 4-11 ATS in their last 15. However, 10 of their last 14 outings have come on the road.

The straight-up winner is 23-3 ATS in Portland’s last 26 games and 24-2 ATS in Utah’s last 26 outings.

One of the victories during the Blazers’ long winning streak came at Utah on Dec. 11, a shocking 97-89 win as a 14-point underdog. Three days after that, Portland hosted the Jazz at the Rose Garden and won 99-91 as a six-point home pup. Including the two victories this season, the Blazers are on positive streaks of 4-1 SU and 5-1 ATS against the Jazz. On the downside, they’re still just 4-9 ATS in their last 13 visits to Salt Lake City.

Although the Blazers have won three straight road games, they’re only 3-9 on the highway this season (6-6 ATS). Meanwhile, despite Saturday’s loss to Boston, the Jazz are 10-3 at home (8-3-2 ATS).

Utah is 2-7 ATS in its last nine against Northwest Division rivals.

Both of this year’s head-to-head meetings stayed under the total, and the under is 6-2 in the last eight battles in Salt Lake, 7-3 in Portland’s last 10 overall and 7-4 in Utah’s last 11 overall.

ATS ADVANTAGE: PORTLAND and UNDER

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McMillan to miss Monday game in Utah

The Trail Blazers will attempt to run their winning streak to 14 on Monday in Utah, but they will have to do it without coach Nate McMillan.

McMillan on Monday will attend the funeral of his mother-in-law in North Carolina and is set to rejoin the team on Tuesday in Minneapolis. Lead assistant Dean Demopoulos will coach the team.

It will be the second time Demopoulos has served as head coach of the Blazers. Last November, in the season's sixth game, a home contest against New Orleans, Demopoulos took over when McMillan left the team for another family matter. The Blazers fell behind 40-17 early in the second quarter, but they stormed back and won, 92-91, doing the same things a McMillan-coached team is schooled in: taking care of the ball (13 turnovers) and getting to the free throw line (40 attempts to the Hornets' 16).

Two seasons ago, Demopoulos took over when McMillan was ejected after getting two technicals with 10:48 left in the third quarter of a December game in Minnesota. At the time, the Blazers were trailing 50-48. They went on to win 91-83.

Demopoulos always tries to deflect credit for both of those victories, saying he leans heavily during the games on all the assistants, particularly Monty Williams, whom McMillan and Demopoulos both say has a future as an NBA head coach.

"I have all the confidence in my coaching staff,'' McMillan said after making the surprise announcement during his press conference after Sunday's 97-72 win over the 76ers. "Regardless of who is here, we have been trained and conditioned to play that game one way, and that's to play hard for 48 minutes and to play together. Coach Demopoulos won't be trying to coach like me. He has to do what he feels is best tomorrow night. I'm confident he will do a good job.''

The players, who found out during McMillan's post-game address in the locker room, seem unfazed.

"I would probably be more nervous going into Utah without him if we didn't have a winning streak,'' Roy said. "So if there is a good time for it, it's now, because everybody is playing so well. But we are all definitely praying for him and his family that they can get through this with good spirits. But we have to handle this. Maybe we can use it as motivation, as in 'Let's get this one for Coach.' ''

Added Jarrett Jack:

"It will be different, not hearing him holler from the sidelines. We should show Coach that we are grown up enough to where we don't need him around as much,'' Jack said. "I think he would love to see what would happen when he's not around and to see if we can pull ourselves out of a tough situation. I'm not saying that Coach Demopoulos is going to leave us out there by himself. He has coached us to two wins since I have been here, and I'm sure he is going to do a great job.''

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Artest could face surgery on elbow
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento's Ron Artest could face possible surgery this week to remove chipped bone fragments in his right elbow, a team spokesman said.

Artest missed his second straight game Sunday against the Phoenix Suns. The Kings are 2-7 without him in the lineup.

He is averaging 19.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 19 games this season. An eight-year veteran, Artest missed the first seven games this season while serving a suspension. He also didn't play in a Nov. 21 game in Phoenix because he was visiting his ailing daughter.

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