NBA News and Notes Saturday 1/24

NBA News and Notes Saturday 1/24

Victims of circumstance: NBA situational weekend bets
By Ted Sevransky

Saturday, January 24th

New Jersey Nets at Memphis Grizzlies

The Nets have not played good basketball in recent weeks, and that’s putting it mildly. Head coach Lawrence Frank benched the team’s two leading scorers, Devin Harris and Vince Carter, in a blowout loss at home to Boston last weekend. Harris is suffering from a nasty rib injury that limited him to 1-11 shooting against Chris Paul and the Hornets earlier this week, but played 40 minutes Friday night against the Spurs.

Harris’ backup, Keyon Dooling, turned his ankle in that same game against New Orleans, a major question mark here. The Nets, outside of Friday's narrow loss to the Spurs, haven’t covered a pointspread since Yi Jianlian broke his pinky five games ago, and they’ve lost their last four games all by double-digit margins.

Of course, many teams would be winless after facing the quality of opponents that the Nets have faced during their current skid. They faced the Celtics twice, along with the Blazers, Hornets and Spurs; each and every one of them a dominant team. The banged up Nets are not a dominant team, but they are still playing hard and haven’t lost their spirit.

We saw that competitive edge for the Nets on full display against the Hornets on Wednesday night. New Orleans came out after halftime and went on a 16-2 run, leading by double digits for most of the second half. But, playing short handed, the Nets made a serious run in the closing minutes, cutting the lead to five with possession in the latter stages.

“We let one slip away," veteran guard Vince Carter said afterwards. "But the positive I take out of it is that we were able to fight back and not lay down. We lost by 10 points or so, but I think guys continued to fight, continued to play hard just to chip away and try to get ourselves back in it.”

When a banged up team is getting slapped around by quality foes but fighting hard, it bodes well for their chances when stepping way down in class. Memphis just fired head coach Mark Iavaroni on Thursday, and will be going with an interim head coach over the weekend before another new head coach is expected to be hired next week.

The Grizz, who have lost 16 of their last 18 overall, are starting three rookies in 26 of their 41 games this season. Team chemistry is clearly a problem and not something that is going to get fixed with an interim coach over the weekend.

Center Marc Gasol: “We don’t have an identity….We run around like chickens with our heads cut off. Youth can be a good thing, but we use it as an excuse. We're always making excuses. We make excuses to the referees and to our teammates. We make excuses in practice. That's all some people want to do is make excuses. You're never going to get anywhere like that.” Rudy Gay echoed those sentiments: “We ain't got no chemistry.”

Clearly, this is a spot that favors New Jersey, and the Nets banged up status and current losing streak should give bettors a relatively cheap pointspread to support them.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 1/24

NBA Today

SCOREBOARD

Saturday, Jan. 24

Cleveland at Utah (9 p.m. EST). LeBron James and the Cavaliers wrap up their four-game West Coast trip.

STARS

Friday

— LeBron James, Cavaliers, hit a 19-footer at the buzzer to give Cleveland a 106-105 victory at Golden State. James had 32 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

— Eric Gordon and Al Thornton, Clippers. Gordon had a career-high 41 points, and Thornton added a season-high 34 in Los Angeles’ 107-104 home win over Oklahoma City.

— Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace, Bobcats. Diaw dominated his former Phoenix teammates a month after being traded, finishing with 26 points and 11 rebounds, and Wallace added 28 points in Charlotte’s 98-76 home victory.

— Tim Duncan, Spurs, had 30 points and 15 rebounds in San Antonio’s 94-91 victory over visiting New Jersey.

— Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks, had 26 points in Dallas’ 112-91 win in Detroit.

— Al Jefferson and Randy Foye, Timberwolves. Jefferson had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Randy Foye finished with 24 points and eight assists in Minnesota’s 116-108 home victory over New Orleans.

— Jose Calderon, Raptors, had 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting and added 10 assists in his return from a hamstring injury to help visiting Toronto beat Chicago 114-94.

— Flip Murray and Josh Smith, Hawks. Murray scored a season-high 25 points, and Smith had 24 in Atlanta’s 117-87 victory over visiting Milwaukee.

— Danny Granger, Pacers, scored 25 points in Indiana’s 107-102 victory over Houston.

— David Lee, Knicks, had 19 points and 14 rebounds in New York’s 108-88 home victory over Memphis.

STREAKS

Memphis lost its eighth straight game Friday night, falling 108-88 in New York, a day after the Grizzlies fired coach Marc Iavaroni. Assistant Johnny Davis directed the Grizzlies as interim coach. Lionel Hollins is working on a contract with the franchise to serve as head coach for the third time. … Toronto beat Chicago 114-94 to snap a seven-game losing streak. The Raptors’ Jose Calderon was 4-for-4 from the line and has made 83 straight free throws dating to last season, the second-longest streak in NBA history. Michael Williams made 97 in a row for Minnesota in 1993.

STATS

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant had career highs of 46 points and 15 rebounds in the Thunder’s 107-104 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. … Charlotte beat Phoenix 98-78 to improve to 5-1 in its last six games. … Minnesota is 8-2 in January.

STATUS

Golden State’s Monta Ellis scored 20 points in his first game of the season for Golden State, a 106-105 loss to Cleveland on Friday night. Ellis was sidelined by sprained left ankle sustained five months ago in an accident on a motorized scooter. … Houston center Yao Ming left the Rockets’ loss against Indiana on Friday night because of a sore right knee and did not play in the second half.

SURGERY

Utah owner Larry H. Miller’s legs were amputated 6 inches below the knee Friday. Jazz spokesman Jonathan Rinehart said the surgery was the result of complications from Type 2 diabetes. The 64-year-old Miller is recovering in a hospital.

SPEAKING

“It’s a great feeling, especially when you get it like that and then you hear the horn and the shot goes in and there’s no way they can try to make a comeback at us. I wish everyone could get that type of feeling. It’s unbelievable.”—LeBron James, on his 19-footer at the buzzer that gave Cleveland a 106-104 win at Golden State on Friday night.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 1/24

NEW YORK vs. PHILADELPHIA
New York is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
New York is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games
Philadelphia is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games when playing New York
Philadelphia is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing New York

ORLANDO vs. MIAMI
Orlando is 8-1-1 ATS in its last 10 games when playing Miami
Orlando is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Miami
Miami is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Miami's last 8 games

NEW JERSEY vs. MEMPHIS
New Jersey is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
New Jersey is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games
Memphis is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing New Jersey
Memphis is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing New Jersey

SACRAMENTO vs. MILWAUKEE
Sacramento is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Milwaukee
Sacramento is 12-3 SU in its last 15 games when playing Milwaukee
Milwaukee is 11-5 ATS in its last 16 games at home
Milwaukee is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games at home

CLEVELAND vs. UTAH
Cleveland is 20-5 SU in its last 25 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Cleveland's last 5 games
Utah is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Cleveland
Utah is 2-7 SU in its last 9 games when playing Cleveland

WASHINGTON vs. PORTLAND

Washington is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Portland
Washington is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing Portland
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Portland's last 7 games
Portland is 16-8 ATS in its last 24 games at home

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Tips and Trends

New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers


Knicks:  New York's bench has been the difference since suffering a107-97 home loss to Philly a week ago, scoring 47.5 percent of the team's points. The Knicks saw their reserves outscore the Memphis bench 59-22 in a 108-88 rout on Friday and will try to snap an eight-game road losing streak in the series against the 76ers. “You think about with me and Nate coming off the bench and Tim (Thomas) and now Gallo (Danilo Gallinari), it’s a lot of offensive power,” New York big man Al Harrington said. “We could start on a lot of teams.”

Knicks are 1-7 ATS in the last 8 meetings.
The UNDER is 7-1 in New York's last 8 games as an underdog.

Key Injuries - NONE

PROJECTED SCORE: 100

76ers (-7.5, O/U 207.5):  Philly hopes to have Elton Brand back in the lineup against the Knicks after missing the last 16 games with a shoulder injury. Surprisingly, the 76ers have thrived offensively without Brand, averaging six more points per game (100.4) since he was injured. They have also started to turn things around under interim head coach Tony DiLeo, going 11-7 following a 9-14 start. Thaddeus Young has averaged 13.9 points on 51.1 percent shooting in Brand's place while Andre Iguodala has stepped up offensively with 22.3 points per game.

76ers are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
The UNDER is 10-2-2 in Philly's last 14 games as a favorite.

Key Injuries - F Elton Brand (shoulder) is probable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 108

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