NBA News and Notes - Mar.20

NBA News and Notes - Mar.20

Thursday's Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference is still up in the air. Yes, Atlanta has been hanging inside the bubble for the last few weeks, but New Jersey, Chicago and Indiana are still mathematically in the race no matter how poorly they’ve been performing this season.

To begin the evening off, the aforementioned Bulls (27-40 straight up, 30-37 against the spread) will square off against a San Antonio (44-23 SU, 28-37-2 ATS) team who’s dropped four in a row and is 2-6 SU and 0-8 ATS in its last eight. Game time is scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

The Spurs currently own the third best home record in the West with a 27-6 SU record, but a mediocre 17-17 SU performance on the road has been far from impressive. With 15 games remaining on the docket, San Antonio will travel seven more times to cap the season off.

Bettors should also take heed to the Spurs 6-9 ATS performance on the road versus teams playing with a losing record. While San Antonio’s overall defense has been rock solid (91.3 PPG allowed), scoring 93.7 PPG away from home has been unremarkable to say the least.

Defending their own home town, the Bulls’ 4-6 SU and 5-5 ATS performance in the last 10 is far from representing a playoff caliber squad. Chicago is a scant 10-17 ATS in non-divisional games this season, while a 6-8 ATS record at home against teams with a winning record has been another area to avoid at the window.

In was back on Dec. 26 when both teams met on the hardwood. Taking the victory by the score of 94-79, San Antonio was able to cover the 9 ½-point spread, while earning dollars for gamblers who took the ‘under’ 186 ½-point total.

In the last 10 head-to-head contests, the Spurs have surpassed domination over the Bulls with an 8-2 SU and a 5-5 ATS record. The ‘over’ has enjoyed a 6-4 frequency over the course of those 10 contests.

On the road this season the Spurs have gone on to exceed the 185-point total 47 percent of the time, 190 points 38 percent and have been involved in ‘over’ 200-point games only 21 percent of the time. This is in comparison to Chicago’s 50 percent chance at exceeding 200 points at home in ’08.

Coming off two days of rest, San Antonio is a poor 1-4 ATS, while the Bulls are looking at a 19-17 ATS statement when coming off only one-day of R&R.

As of Wednesday, the Spurs are sitting in the No. 6 spot in the West.

TNT Specials

Boston (54-13 SU, 41-24-2 ATS) at Dallas (44-24 SU, 30-34-4 ATS): Having last met in January, Boston took the 96-90 victory over Dallas. Covering the spread and staying ‘under’ the 188 total, the Celtics improved their head-to-head record against the Mavs to 2-8 SU and 5-5 ATS in the last 10.

Boston is coming off a huge 94-74 win over Houston on Tuesday. The Celtics have worked for nine wins in the last 10 games and an ATS record of 8-2 in the same stretch is reason to rejoice as a backer.

A 5-1 SU and ATS ledger in the last six has given Dallas a small 2½-game lead over Golden State for the No. 7 spot. An 8-5 ATS record at home and versus teams with a winning record hasn’t gone unnoticed by gamblers.

Even with Boston’s Ray Allen suffering from an ankle injury, the squad hasn’t been affected. Out three games and counting, the Celtics have managed to go 3-0 SU and ATS without their 18.3 PPG scorer out of Connecticut.

It should be noted that with Boston’s air tight defense (holding opponents to a league best 90 PPG), the ‘under’ has been the total play. In their last 15 games, the Celtics have cashed heavily on low scoring affairs, going 10-5 on the ‘under’.

The up-and-coming schedule for Dallas will have this squad facing the likes of San Antonio, Denver and Golden State. In their last appearances with these three teams, the Mavericks went on to build a 2-1 SU and ATS record. The solo loss came from the hands of San Antonio on Feb. 28, with Dallas getting outscored 97-94.

The Mavs have been a scoring machine in their last five, averaging an impeccable 108 PPG. For Boston, 97.8 PPG has been effective in the same five-game span, mainly due to a defense holding opponents to 91.9 PPG.

While the Celtics enter Thursday’s contest with a 19-14-1 record on the ‘under’ on the road, Dallas has been hot on the ‘over’ with an 18-14-2 billing at home.

L.A. Lakers (46-21 SU, 40-25-1 ATS) at Utah (45-24 SU, 37-32 ATS): Alert; the Lakers are attempting to oust Houston out from the No. 1 seed in the West. Kobe Bryant and company are gearing up for a 10:30 tip-off in Utah, a city that has been unfriendly for the Lake Show.

L.A. has been a bear to backers of late. In the last five, the Lakers have not only limped across the line with a 2-3 SU performance, but a 1-4 ATS fall has been a financial burden. An 11-8 ATS walk to the window on the road and against teams playing with a winning record may install some confidence when heading out to the books, but a 2-6 ATS showing in the city of Utah in the last eight takes the air out of this argument.

And we can’t forget that a 7-1 ATS record for the home team in these head-to-head games adds more firepower to taking a look at the Jazz in this contest.

Talking about Utah, an 8-2 SU run in its last 10 has Western Conference scrambling for the occupied No. 4 seed. With a 26-15 SU conference record and on top of Northwest division, the Jazz have added a four-game cushion between themselves and the trailing Nuggets.

Continuing to carry a point difference of plus-6.2, the Jazz have been able to blow out opponents by double-digit figures in five of their last eight victories. A 29-point win over Minnesota followed by a 27-point slaughter over Denver where the highest blowouts in recent games. However, an average 5-5 outing on the ‘over’ proves that books have adjusted their totals accordingly.

With Utah coming off two days of rest, a 2-9 ATS record has been produced. But with an 11-3 ATS run at home versus teams playing above .500, once again the Jazz have a home court trend in their favor.

Total player take some time to mull over these trends; the ‘over’ is 5-1 in the Lakers last six games coming off one day of rest and the Jazz are 8-2-1 on the ‘over’ in their last 11 games following an ATS win.

Latest reports indicate that L.A.’s Pao Gasol has been down graded to ‘out indefinitely’ with a sprained ankle. Utah’s Mehmet Okur is currently listed as ‘day-to-day’ with the flu. Okur left Monday’s game against Toronto with flu like symptoms.

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NBA Today

L.A. Lakers at Utah (10:30 p.m. EDT). The Jazz have won 19 straight at home.

STARS

-Vince Carter, Nets, had 39 points with eight assists in a 125-117 win over the Hawks.

-Antawn Jamison, Wizards, had 31 points and 11 rebounds to lead Washington to an 87-86 win over the Orlando Magic.

FRIGID

Andrea Bargnani and Anthony Parker each scored 14 points, Jose Calderon had 10 points and 10 assists and the Toronto Raptors ended a season-high five-game losing streak with a 96-54 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. Miami's total tied for the third-lowest mark in NBA history since the league began using a shot clock in the 1954-55 season.

WELCOME BACK

Andre Miller scored 28 points and the 76ers spoiled Allen Iverson's return to Philadelphia by beating the Denver Nuggets 115-113 Wednesday night. Iverson, playing in Philly for the first time since being traded to Denver in December 2006, led all scorers with 32 points and added eight assists.

STREAKS

The Phoenix Suns overcame a season-high 27 turnovers to beat the Seattle SuperSonics 110-98 Wednesday night for their sixth straight win. ... The Charlotte Bobcats lost to the Indiana Pacers 102-95 for their fifth straight loss.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu scored a career-high 39 points in an 87-86 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

OUT

Larry Harris will not be offered a new contract as general manager with the Milwaukee Bucks and has left the team, owner and Sen. Herb Kohl said Wednesday. Harris asked for an early decision on the status of his contract that would have expired in June, Kohl said. By mutual agreement, he was relieved of his responsibilities so he could pursue other opportunities.

SPEAKING

``I dreamed it up a certain way, and it was better than that. Everything was perfect but one thing, and that was not winning the game.'' - Allen Iverson, scored 32 points in the Nuggets' 115-113 loss to the Sixers on Wednesday night and received a standing ovation when he was introduced in his first game back in Philadelphia since being traded to Denver in December 2006.

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San Antonio Spurs vs. Chicago Bulls

- The San Antonio Spurs and the Chicago Bulls will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at United Center.

Oddsmakers currently have the Spurs listed as 4½-point favorites versus the Bulls, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

The Spurs lost a tough 93-91 game to the Celtics last time out, as 4.5-point favorites at home. The 184 points made it OVER the posted total of 178.

Manu Ginobili scored a game-high 32 points and hauled down four rebounds in the loss.

The Bulls held New Jersey to just eight points in the second quarter, as they defeated the Nets 112-96 last time out. The Bulls covered the 6.5-point spread, while the combined score made it OVER the posted total of 200.

Drew Gooden led the Bulls with 19 points and 11 rebounds in the double-double performance.

Current streak:
San Antonio has lost 4 straight games.

Team records:
San Antonio: 44-23 SU, 29-38 ATS
Chicago: 27-40 SU, 30-37 ATS

San Antonio most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
Before playing Sacramento are 7-3
After playing Boston are 4-6
After a loss are 4-6

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 3-7
Before playing Indiana are 3-7
After playing New Jersey are 5-5
After a win are 1-9

A few trends to consider:
San Antonio is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games when playing Chicago
San Antonio is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Chicago
San Antonio is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Chicago
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of San Antonio's last 7 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Chicago's last 5 games at home
Chicago is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home
Chicago is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Chicago's last 8 games

Next up:
San Antonio home to Sacramento, Friday, March 21
Chicago home to Indiana, Saturday, March 22

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Boston Celtics vs. Dallas Mavericks

- The Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at American Airlines Center.

Odds aren't yet posted for this game, so check back later for the opening line and total.

The Celtics denied the Rockets a record-setting 23rd straight with a 94-74 win last time out, as 4.5-point underdogs. The 168 points fell UNDER the posted total of 180.

Kevin Garnett had 22 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double, while Leon Powe added 21 in the victory.

The Mavericks lost a tough 102-100 game to the Lakers last time out, as 5.5-point favorites at home. The 202 points fell UNDER the posted total of 210.

Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 35 points and hauled down 11 boards to complete the double-double in the loss.

Current streak:
Boston has won 3 straight games.

Team records:
Boston: 54-13 SU, 41-24-2 ATS
Dallas: 44-24 SU, 30-34-4 ATS

Boston most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 2-8
Before playing New Orleans are 4-6
After playing Houston are 7-3
After a win are 9-1

Dallas most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 6-4
Before playing San Antonio are 7-3
After playing LA Lakers are 8-2
After a loss are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Boston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Boston is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Boston is 13-1 SU in its last 14 games
Boston is 8-1 ATS in its last 9 games
Dallas is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Boston
Dallas is 16-2 SU in its last 18 games at home
Dallas is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing Boston
Dallas is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games

Next up:
Boston at New Orleans, Saturday, March 22
Dallas home to San Antonio, Sunday, March 23

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz

- The Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at EnergySolutions Arena.

Odds aren't yet posted for this game, so check back later for the opening line and total.

The Lakers were badly outplayed in the second half, but managed to hang on and upend the Mavericks 102-100 on Tuesday. The Lakers won the game as a 5.5-point road underdog, while the 202 points fell UNDER the posted total of 210.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 29 points and seven assists, while Vladimir Radmanovic added 21 in the victory.

The Jazz controlled the final quarter and cruised past the Raptors 96-79 last time out. The Jazz covered the 14-point spread, but the combined score fell UNDER the posted total of 213.

Deron Williams led the Jazz with 21 points, and Kyle Korver added 17 in the win.

Team records:
Los Angeles: 46-21 SU, 40-26-1 ATS
Utah: 45-24 SU, 37-32 ATS

Los Angeles most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing Seattle are 5-5
After playing Dallas are 5-5
After a win are 7-3

Utah most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing Seattle are 6-4
After playing Toronto are 5-5
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of the LA Lakers last 6 games when playing Utah
LA Lakers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games when playing Utah
LA Lakers are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games when playing Utah
LA Lakers are 15-4 SU in their last 19 games
Utah is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Utah is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Utah's last 6 games when playing LA Lakers
Utah is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games

Next up:
LA Lakers home to Seattle, Friday, March 21
Utah home to Seattle, Saturday, March 22

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