NBA News and Notes Wednesday 12/31

NBA News and Notes Wednesday 12/31

NBA Today

SCOREBOARD


Wednesday, Dec. 31

Denver at Toronto (7 p.m. EST). The Raptors return home from their six-game trip to host the Nuggets, who are playing their third of four in a row on the road, in a matchup of U.S. Olympic teammates Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.

STARS

Tuesday

— Chris Paul, Hornets, had 15 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds for his third triple-double this season, leading New Orleans over Washington 97-85. It was Paul’s seventh career triple-double, tying a club record.

— Jason Terry, Mavericks, scored 24 of his 29 points in the second half and Dallas completed the biggest comeback in club history, rallying from a 29-point deficit to beat Minnesota 107-100.

— Joe Johnson, Hawks, scored 12 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to help Atlanta beat Indiana 110-104 for its sixth straight victory and ninth in 10 games.

— Dwyane Wade, Heat, had 21 points and 12 assists in Miami’s 104-95 win over Cleveland.

— Leandro Barbosa, Suns, scored 22 of his 28 points in the second half, filling in admirably for an ailing Steve Nash in Phoenix’s 101-89 victory over Memphis.

— Michael Redd, Bucks, had 25 points and 10 rebounds as Milwaukee held off San Antonio 100-98.

FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE

New Jersey declined to match Oklahoma City’s offer sheet to Nenad Krstic, giving the Thunder another 7-footer in their search for a reliable center. The 24th overall draft pick in 2002, Krstic was playing in Russia when the Thunder extended an offer sheet to him last week. The Nets had a week to match it because Krstic was a restricted free agent. “He is someone that we feel helps this team both in the short and long term,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement.

BIRTHDAY BUMMER

On his 24th birthday, LeBron James scored a fitting 24 of his 38 points in the second half—almost enough to rally Cleveland out of its biggest deficit of the season, a 16-point hole at halftime. But the Miami Heat dropped King James’ pro record on birthdays to 0-3 with a 104-95 win over the Cavaliers (26-5), who had won six straight.

CHART CLIMBING

Shaquille O’Neal scored 24 points for Phoenix in a 101-89 win at Memphis to move into eighth place on the NBA scoring list. O’Neal also had 13 rebounds and three blocks, and his fourth-quarter dunk moved him past Oscar Robertson on the career scoring chart with 26,711 points. O’Neal finished the night with 26,715. Next up is Hakeem Olajuwon, who has 26,946.

WHAT TIME IS IT?

New York and Charlotte played a portion of their game with the public address announcer announcing when the shot clock was winding down and occasionally giving the score because of a technical glitch at Time Warner Cable Arena. After a delay of about five minutes, the game began with no shot clocks or game clocks above the baskets. When the horn stopped working, officials at the scorer’s table used a portable air horn when there were substitutions and timeouts. Officials were forced to blow their whistle to signal the end of the first quarter. Then the overhead scoreboard froze midway through the second quarter. That left the PA announcer to occasionally give the score and announce when the shot clock was under 10 and 5 seconds. The shot clocks and horn started working late in the first half, but the overhead scoreboard was still blank. The Knicks won 93-89.

SIDELINED

Steve Nash sat out Phoenix’s 101-89 victory at Memphis because of back spasms. Nash, a two-time NBA MVP and six-time All-Star, left Monday night’s game against Oklahoma City when his back started acting up in the first quarter. … Utah forward Carlos Boozer will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Boozer has missed 21 straight games because of a strained quad tendon. The Jazz said in a statement that a date for the surgery has not been set, but doctors said it likely wouldn’t occur until Jan. 9.

THE BIG MAN IS BACK

Houston re-signed 42-year-old center Dikembe Mutombo for the remainder of the season, adding an emotional leader and a backup to Yao Ming. Mutombo, who supplants 39-year-old Sam Cassell as the NBA’s oldest active player, appeared in 39 games for the Rockets last season, logging most of his minutes after Yao broke his left foot in February. Mutombo became a free agent after last season and contemplated retirement before deciding to come back for an 18th season.

TOSSED

First-year Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was ejected for arguing a non-call in the second quarter of Dallas’ 107-100 victory over Minnesota. It was Carlisle’s first ejection of the season. Assistant coach Dwane Casey took over for Carlisle.

SPEAKING

“I’m really upset with myself. I’ve missed about 5,000 free throws. If I had only made half of those, I’d probably be No. 3 right now.”—Phoenix center Shaquille O’Neal, after passing Oscar Robertson for eighth place on the NBA scoring list with his 26,711th point.

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Orlando Magic vs. Chicago Bulls

The Magic had their seven-game win streak snapped in an 88-82 loss to the Pistons last time out. The Magic were favored by 3.5-points in that game, while the game's 170 points fell well UNDER the posted total of 185.

Dwight Howard netted a double-double with 18 points and 18 rebounds in the loss.

The Bulls scored 30 points in the fourth quarter and ran away with a 100-87 victory over the Nets as 5-point underdogs on Monday. The 187 points fell UNDER the posted total of 209.5.

Ben Gordon led the Bulls with a team-high 24 points, and Derrick Rose tossed in 21 points with 13 assists.

Team records:
Orlando: 24-7 SU, 20-10-1 ATS
Chicago: 14-17 SU, 15-16 ATS

Orlando most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 4-6
Before playing Miami are 7-3
After playing Detroit are 4-6
After a loss are 7-3

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 3-7
Before playing Cleveland are 6-4
After playing New Jersey are 5-5
After a win are 2-8

A few trends to consider:
Orlando is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Chicago
Orlando is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 games
Orlando is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
Orlando is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
Chicago is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Chicago's last 7 games when playing Orlando
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Chicago's last 6 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Chicago's last 11 games when playing at home against Orlando

Next up:
Orlando home to Miami, Friday, January 2
Chicago at Cleveland, Friday, January 2


New Jersey Nets vs. Detroit Pistons

The Nets were upset 100-87 by the Bulls last time out, as 5-point favorites at home. The combined 187 points fell UNDER the posted total of 209.5.

Vince Carter dropped a game-high 31 points for the Nets, while Devin Harris had 26 in a losing effort.

The Pistons ended Orlando's seven-game winning streak as they upset the Magic 88-82 last time out. The Pistons won the game as a 3.5-point underdog, while the game's 170 points fell well UNDER the posted total of 185.

Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 19 points, while Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince added 16 apiece in the win.

Current streak:
Detroit has won 4 straight games.

Team records:
New Jersey: 15-16 SU, 16-15 ATS
Detroit: 18-11 SU, 13-16 ATS

New Jersey most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 9-1
Before playing Atlanta are 6-4
After playing Chicago are 5-5
After a loss are 7-3

Detroit most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 6-4
Before playing Sacramento are 3-7
After playing Orlando are 7-3
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
New Jersey is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games on the road
New Jersey is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 5 of New Jersey's last 6 games when playing Detroit
The total has gone OVER in 9 of New Jersey's last 12 games on the road
Detroit is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing New Jersey
Detroit is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing at home against New Jersey
Detroit is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Detroit's last 6 games when playing New Jersey

Next up:
New Jersey home to Atlanta, Friday, January 2
Detroit home to Sacramento, Friday, January 2


Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets

The Bucks earned a hard-fought 100-98 upset victory over the Spurs on Tuesday, as 8-point underdogs. The 198 points made it OVER the posted total of 187.

Andrew Bogut led the Bucks with 20 points and 14 rebounds for a double-double. Michael Redd added a game-high 25 points in the win.

The Rockets were upset 89-87 by the Wizards as 12-point favorites last time out. That game's 176 points fell UNDER the posted total of 191.

Ron Artest led the Rockets with 20 points, and Luis Scola had 16 in a losing effort.

Team records:
Milwaukee: 15-17 SU, 21-10-1 ATS
Houston: 20-12 SU, 15-17 ATS

Milwaukee most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 2-8
Before playing Charlotte are 5-5
After playing San Antonio are 7-3
After a win are 5-5

Houston most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 6-4
Before playing Toronto are 7-3
After playing Washington are 6-4
After a loss are 9-1

A few trends to consider:
Milwaukee is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Milwaukee's last 6 games when playing Houston
Milwaukee is 3-7 SU in its last 10 games on the road
Milwaukee is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Houston
Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Milwaukee
Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Milwaukee
Houston is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games at home
Houston is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games when playing at home against Milwaukee

Next up:
Milwaukee home to Charlotte, Friday, January 2
Houston at Toronto, Friday, January 2


Denver Nuggets vs. Toronto Raptors

The Nuggets were toppled 109-91 by the Hawks last time out, as 5-point underdogs. The 200 points made it OVER the posted total of 199.

Kenyon Martin shot 8-for-13 from the field with 19 points, and Carmelo Anthony had 16 in the loss.

The Raptors were defeated 117-111 by the Warriors last time out, as a 1.5-point favorite on the road. That game's combined score sailed OVER the posted total of 212.5.

Chris Bosh also tossed in a game-high 30 points in the loss.

Current streak:
Toronto has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Denver: 20-12 SU, 17-14-1 ATS
Toronto: 12-19 SU, 11-19-1 ATS

Denver most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 5-5
Before playing Oklahoma City are 5-5
After playing Atlanta are 6-4
After a loss are 7-3

Toronto most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 8-2
Before playing Houston are 6-4
After playing Golden State are 3-7
After a loss are 2-8

A few trends to consider:
Denver is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games when playing Toronto
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Denver's last 5 games when playing Toronto
Denver is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games when playing on the road against Toronto
Denver is 17-8 ATS in its last 25 games when playing Toronto
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Toronto's last 7 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Toronto's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Toronto's last 5 games when playing Denver
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Toronto's last 6 games when playing at home against Denver

Next up:
Denver at Oklahoma City, Friday, January 2
Toronto home to Houston, Friday, January 2


Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

The Warriors had six players reach double figures as they defeated the Raptors 117-111 on Monday. The Warriors won that game as a slight 1.5-point underdog at home, while the combined score sailed OVER the posted total of 212.5.

Stephen Jackson led the way with a game-high 30 points, and Marco Belinelli added 23 points in the win.

The Thunder lost 110-102 to the Suns last time out, as 9.5-point underdogs at home. The 212 points made it OVER the posted total of 210.5.

Russell Westbrook netted a game-high 31 points for the Thunder, and Jeff Green had 22 in the loss.

Current streak:
Oklahoma City has lost 5 straight games.

Team records:
Golden State: 10-23 SU, 14-19 ATS
Oklahoma City: 3-29 SU, 19-13 ATS

Golden State most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 4-6
Before playing Minnesota are 7-3
After playing Toronto are 4-6
After a win are 2-8

Oklahoma City most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 3-7
Before playing Denver are 6-4
After playing Phoenix are 2-8
After a loss are 1-9

A few trends to consider:
Golden State is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Oklahoma City
Golden State is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing Oklahoma City
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Golden State's last 6 games when playing Oklahoma City
Golden State is 11-3 ATS in its last 14 games when playing Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Oklahoma City's last 6 games when playing Golden State
Oklahoma City is 18-7 SU in its last 25 games when playing at home against Golden State
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Oklahoma City's last 7 games

Next up:
Golden State at Minnesota, Friday, January 2
Oklahoma City home to Denver, Friday, January 2


Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Clippers

The 76ers were defeated 112-95 by the Jazz last time out, as 6.5-point underdogs. The combined score made it OVER the posted total of 193.

Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala tossed in 17 points apiece in a losing effort.

The Clippers lost 92-90 to the Kings last time out, as 2.5-point underdogs on the road. The 182 points went UNDER the posted total of 192.5.

Marcus Camby dropped 15 points to go with 24 rebounds in a double-double for the Clippers.

Current streak:
Philadelphia has lost 4 straight games.
Los Angeles has lost 4 straight games.

Team records:
Philadelphia: 12-18 SU, 12-18 ATS
Los Angeles: 8-22 SU, 11-18-1 ATS

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 5-5
Before playing Dallas are 4-6
After playing Utah are 5-5
After a loss are 3-7

Los Angeles most recently:
When playing on Wednesday are 6-4
Before playing Phoenix are 4-6
After playing Sacramento are 4-6
After a loss are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
Philadelphia is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games when playing on the road against LA Clippers
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Philadelphia's last 6 games when playing LA Clippers
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 5 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the LA Clippers last 6 games when playing Philadelphia
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the LA Clippers last 5 games at home
LA Clippers are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games when playing at home against Philadelphia
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the LA Clippers last 6 games when playing at home against Philadelphia

Next up:
Philadelphia at Dallas, Friday, January 2
LA Clippers at Phoenix, Friday, January 2

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ORLANDO (24 - 7) at CHICAGO (14 - 17)
Top Trends for this game.
ORLANDO is 21-10 ATS (+10.0 Units) in all games this season.
ORLANDO is 52-31 ATS (+17.9 Units) as a favorite over the last 2 seasons.
ORLANDO is 40-21 ATS (+16.9 Units) in road games over the last 2 seasons.
ORLANDO is 11-3 ATS (+7.7 Units) in December games this season.
ORLANDO is 21-10 ATS (+10.0 Units) first half of the season this season.
ORLANDO is 12-4 ATS (+7.6 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record this season.
ORLANDO is 10-2 ATS (+7.8 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 99+ points/game this season.
ORLANDO is 9-0 ATS (+9.0 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 99+ points/game this season.
CHICAGO is 23-35 ATS (-15.5 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent over the last 2 seasons.
CHICAGO is 3-15 ATS (-13.5 Units) off an upset win as an underdog over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
ORLANDO is 5-3 against the spread versus CHICAGO over the last 3 seasons
ORLANDO is 7-1 straight up against CHICAGO over the last 3 seasons
6 of 8 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


NEW JERSEY (15 - 16) at DETROIT (18 - 11)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
DETROIT is 6-2 against the spread versus NEW JERSEY over the last 3 seasons
DETROIT is 7-1 straight up against NEW JERSEY over the last 3 seasons
5 of 7 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


MILWAUKEE (14 - 17) at HOUSTON (20 - 12)
Top Trends for this game.
MILWAUKEE is 139-179 ATS (-57.9 Units) in non-conference games since 1996.
HOUSTON is 89-62 ATS (+20.8 Units) against Central division opponents since 1996.
HOUSTON is 44-25 ATS (+16.5 Units) in non-conference games over the last 3 seasons.
MILWAUKEE is 20-10 ATS (+9.0 Units) in all games this season.
MILWAUKEE is 20-10 ATS (+9.0 Units) first half of the season this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
HOUSTON is 4-0 against the spread versus MILWAUKEE over the last 3 seasons
HOUSTON is 4-0 straight up against MILWAUKEE over the last 3 seasons
2 of 4 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


DENVER (20 - 12) at TORONTO (12 - 19)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
DENVER is 3-2 against the spread versus TORONTO over the last 3 seasons
DENVER is 4-1 straight up against TORONTO over the last 3 seasons
4 of 5 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


GOLDEN STATE (10 - 23) at OKLAHOMA CITY (3 - 29)
Top Trends for this game.
GOLDEN STATE is 48-67 ATS (-25.7 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
GOLDEN STATE is 36-52 ATS (-21.2 Units) when the total is greater than or equal to 210 over the last 2 seasons.
GOLDEN STATE is 22-37 ATS (-18.7 Units) as a favorite over the last 2 seasons.
GOLDEN STATE is 2-10 ATS (-9.0 Units) in a road game where the total is greater than or equal to 210 this season.
GOLDEN STATE is 154-194 ATS (-59.4 Units) after a non-conference game since 1996.
GOLDEN STATE is 5-13 ATS (-9.3 Units) after scoring 105 points or more this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
GOLDEN STATE is 5-3 against the spread versus OKLAHOMA CITY over the last 3 seasons
GOLDEN STATE is 6-2 straight up against OKLAHOMA CITY over the last 3 seasons
6 of 8 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


PHILADELPHIA (12 - 18) at LA CLIPPERS (8 - 21)
Top Trends for this game.
PHILADELPHIA is 23-10 ATS (+12.0 Units) in road games after a loss by 10 points or more over the last 3 seasons.
LA CLIPPERS are 45-65 ATS (-26.5 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
LA CLIPPERS are 36-54 ATS (-23.4 Units) as an underdog over the last 2 seasons.
LA CLIPPERS are 5-15 ATS (-11.5 Units) as a home underdog of 3 points or less over the last 3 seasons.
LA CLIPPERS are 19-37 ATS (-21.7 Units) in home games over the last 2 seasons.
LA CLIPPERS are 9-20 ATS (-13.0 Units) in home games first half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
LA CLIPPERS are 4-14 ATS (-11.4 Units) in home games in non-conference games over the last 2 seasons.
LA CLIPPERS are 14-30 ATS (-19.0 Units) in home games revenging a loss vs opponent over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
PHILADELPHIA is 3-1 against the spread versus LA CLIPPERS over the last 3 seasons
PHILADELPHIA is 3-2 straight up against LA CLIPPERS over the last 3 seasons
4 of 5 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

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Re: NBA News and Notes Wednesday 12/31

ORLANDO vs. CHICAGO
Orlando is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Chicago
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Orlando's last 11 games when playing on the road against Chicago
Chicago is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Chicago's last 9 games

NEW JERSEY vs. DETROIT
New Jersey is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games on the road
New Jersey is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games on the road
Detroit is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
Detroit is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games

DENVER vs. TORONTO
Denver is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Denver is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Toronto is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games when playing at home against Denver
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Toronto's last 6 games when playing at home against Denver

MILWAUKEE vs. HOUSTON
Milwaukee is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Houston
Milwaukee is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing Houston
Houston is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
Houston is 15-8 SU in its last 23 games

GOLDEN STATE vs. OKLAHOMA CITY
Golden State is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games on the road
Golden State is 2-13 SU in its last 15 games on the road
Oklahoma City is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Golden State
Oklahoma City is 18-7 SU in its last 25 games when playing at home against Golden State

PHILADELPHIA vs. LA CLIPPERS
Philadelphia is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games when playing on the road against LA Clippers
Philadelphia is 1-4 SU in their last 5 games when playing on the road against LA Clippers
LA Clippers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games when playing Philadelphia
LA Clippers are 5-10 SU in their last 15 games when playing Philadelphia

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Re: NBA News and Notes Wednesday 12/31

Inside the Paint - Wednesday
By Chris David

New Year’s Eve is normally reserved for college football and this year is no different, with five pigskin games slated on Wednesday. Nestled between all of the gridiron action is a solid six-game card on the NBA hardwood. The action starts early with a pair of afternoon matinees followed by four primetime matchups. Some handicappers and gamblers side with low-scoring affairs during the holiday season since they believe most players aren’t as focused and just want to get the games finished. Unfortunately, there isn’t any serious statistical data to back of fade that theory.

Rather than play the guessing game, let’s take a closer look at three battles on the hump-day slate.

**Denver (20-12 SU, 17-14 ATS) at Toronto (12-19 SU, 11-19 ATS)**

The Nuggets will be playing the third game of a four-game road trip on Wednesday, which has seen the team go 1-1 both straight up and against the spread in the first two contests. The club’s defense (109.5 points per game) in the first two battles has been missing in action and has led to a 2-0 ‘over’ mark. George Karl’s team has gone 9-8 both SU and ATS outside of Colorado this year. Denver will be playing its third game in four nights. After this contest, the team wraps up its trek on Friday at Oklahoma City.
   
Toronto just concluded a six-game road trip against the Western Conference and unfortunately it wasn’t a successful journey. The team went 2-4 SU and 2-3-1 ATS, while the total went 3-3. The Raptors haven’t been playing well at home either, going 5-8 SU and 3-10 ATS. Toronto has dropped three straight at home too, so to say the team is overdue is an understatement.

Denver has won and covered three straight against Toronto, including a 132-93 blowout victory on Dec. 2 as a five-point home favorite. The Nuggets shot 59.8 percent from the field in the win, including an amazing 13-of-24 (54%) from 3-point land. This setback for the Raptors was the final nail in the coffin for head coach Sam Mitchell, who was let go soon after. The Nuggets are 9-3 versus the Eastern Conference this year, while the Raptors have struggled against the West (3-10).

NBATV will nationally televise this battle at 7:05 p.m. EST.

**Golden State (10-23 SU, 14-19 ATS) at Oklahoma City (3-29 SU, 17-13 ATS)**

Talk about picking your poison in this matchup folks. Golden State has gone 4-16 SU on the road while Oklahoma City is 2-14 SU at home. The Warriors already made a trip to Oklahoma this season and defeated the Thunder 112-102 on Dec. 8 as one-point favorites. The combined 214 points fell ‘under’ the closing total of 219. Last season, Golden State took three of four against the Thunder when the team played in Seattle. The ‘under’ went 3-1.

The Warriors have dropped five of their last six on the road, including a 130-113 loss to the Lakers on Sunday as 15-point underdogs. This game will be the third in four nights for Don Nelson’s injury-plagued team. Jamal Crawford returned to the team Sunday and Stephen Jackson appears to be back for good too, but the club is still without leading score Corey Maggette (19.1 PPG), who has missed the last 12 games.

Even though Oklahoma City only has mustered up three wins, the team does own an impressive 17-13 record against the spread. The problem with the Thunder is that they can’t score (93.2 PPG) on a consistent basis. The team is shooting 43.7 percent from the field and they attempt a league-low 10.6 shots from 3-point land, both numbers attributed to a lack of talent. Oklahoma City is 1-5 SU in its last six, but has gone 5-1 ATS during the same stretch. The Thunder are averaging 92 PPG at home this year, while giving up 100 PPG. The ‘under’ has gone 10-6.

**Philadelphia (12-18 SU, 12-18 ATS) at L.A. Clippers (8-22 SU, 13-17 ATS)**

The 76ers started their six-game road trip with a 19-point (110-91) loss to Boston on Dec. 23 and it hasn’t gotten any better for the club. Philadelphia has dropped four in a row, three coming on the road and that includes a 112-95 setback to Utah on Monday. The defense has given up 109 PPG in the last three on the road and the ‘over’ has gone 3-0 all three. Philadelphia has been outscored by 7 PPG (99-92) on the road this year, which has translated into a 5-10 SU and 6-9 ATS ledger. The Staples Center faithful is probably a little upset that they won’t get a chance to boo former Clippers’ standout Elton Brand, who shunned the team for the 76ers in the offseason. Brand separated his shoulder and is ‘out’ for a month.

The Clippers enter Wednesday’s battle with four straight losses (1-3 ATS), including a 92-90 setback last night at Sacramento. The losing skid comes right after Los Angeles looked like it turned the corner by winning four of the previous five. The offense has been an issue all year and it’s been horrid in the last four games. The team is averaging 81.5 PPG in the losses and point guard Baron Davis is aimlessly searching for his shot (11.8 PPG) during this stretch. It’s hard to get outscored at home but the Clippers have (99-90) this season and it’s produced a dismal 3-12 SU and 4-11 ATS record to boot. L.A. has gone 2-6 versus the Eastern Conference this year.

Philadelphia does have a chance to snap out of its funk tonight since it has beaten the Clippers in three straight games, including an 89-88 home victory on Nov. 21. The Sixers failed to cover as 9 ½-point favorites and the combined 177 points went ‘under’ the closing total of 189. The ‘under’ has gone 4-0 in the last four meetings. Another ‘under’ play is definitely possible, considering the offensive attacks by both the Clippers (93.7 PPG) and Sixers (94.4 PPG).

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Denver (20-12, 17-14-1 ATS) at Toronto (12-19, 11-19-1 ATS)

The Raptors return from a rough Western Conference road swing to take on another non-conference opponent in the Nuggets, who continue a four-game road trip with a stop at the Air Canada Centre.

Toronto lost to Golden State 117-111 as a 1½-point road chalk Monday night for its second consecutive SU and ATS setback, capping a six-game trip with a 2-4 SU mark (2-3-1 ATS). Chris Bosh (30 points, 14 rebounds) and Jose Calderon (21 points, 16 assists) had big nights, and the Raptors outrebounded the Warriors 49-37. But Golden State hit 50 percent overall from the floor and 50 percent on 3-pointers (12 of 24), while also knocking down 29 of 33 free throws.

Denver got drubbed at Atlanta 109-91 as a five-point road pup Monday, halting a two-game SU surge. The Nuggets had five players in double figures, but they topped out at Kenyon Martin’s 19-point effort. The game was won from long distance, as Denver went just 5 of 15 from 3-point range, while allowing the Hawks to knock down 12 of 23 attempts from beyond the arc.

Denver has won and covered in the last three meetings with Toronto, including a 132-93 wipeout as a five-point home favorite at the beginning of December – easily the Raptors’ worst defeat of the season so far. The Nuggets are also 5-2 ATS in their last seven trips to the Air Canada Centre.

The Raptors are on a bundle of ATS slides, including 20-41-1 overall, 3-11 at home 1-8 against the Northwest Division, 1-4-1 after a SU loss, 8-22-1 against winning teams and 7-19-1 against the West. The Nuggets, meanwhile, are on a 2-6 ATS purge overall and are just 1-4 ATS in their last five roadies, but they still carry positive pointspread streaks of 4-0 when playing on one day’s rest, 8-3 as a favorite of less than six points and 11-1 against the Atlantic Division (only non-cover coming at Atlanta on Monday).

The over is 4-1 in Toronto’s last five overall and 6-1 in Denver’s last seven non-conference contests, but the under has hit in the Raptors’ last four home games and is on further runs for Toronto of 5-1 after a day off and 7-3 against winning teams. Finally, in this rivalry, the under is on a 4-1-1 stretch in games played in Toronto.

ATS ADVANTAGE: DENVER

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