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NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/19

NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/19

Inside the Paint - Thursday
By Chris David

Two games on the NBA docket for Thursday and both battles feature non-conference matchups. TNT will televise both of the tilts, while it welcomes back analyst Charles Barkley back for yet another return. If this writer could guarantee any lock come tonight’s broadcast, he would bet serious cash that the “Round Mound of Rebound” will apologize once again for his actions.

While the big fella might make you chuckle every now and then, most of the folks in the gaming industry can’t stand him. A friend of VI and radio host in Las Vegas, Steve Cofield, touched on Barkley and his encounters in Vegas.

The one story that I’ll never forget is how he got a free-roll on Super Bowl XXXVI, when New England upset St. Louis 20-17 as a 14-point underdog.

Check it out here…

Enough talk about Chuck, let’s take a look at the action tonight!

San Antonio at Detroit

The “Rodeo Road Trip” for the Spurs is almost over and head coach Greg Popovich is hoping his team can finish the eight-game swing on a strong note. Two games are left, including a battle against Detroit tonight. The Spurs started the trek 3-1 in their first four, and gained a lot of respect on Feb. 8 when it defeated Boston 105-99 as 6 ½-point underdogs. Unfortunately for Pop and company, the team has dropped a pair of close calls to Toronto (91-89) on Feb. 11 and a 112-107 overtime setback to New York on Tuesday.

Despite the losses, the Spurs still own a 17-10 straight up and 14-12 against the spread ledger on the road this year and that could improve tonight when it meets a slumping Detroit club.

The Pistons have dropped four straight games both SU and ATS, including a 92-86 loss to Atlanta on Tuesday. The club is currently sitting in the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, but that grip is quickly getting weaker.

Detroit’s Joe Dumars tried to shake things up this season by trading Chauncey Billups to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson on Nov. 3 but that hasn’t worked out for the club. Since the trade, the Pistons are 23-26 since Iverson stepped into the lineup, while the Nuggets have produced a 33-14 ledger.

The Palace of Auburn Hills used to be a tough out for opponents but not this year. Detroit is just 14-14 SU and a pathetic 7-21 ATS (25%) at home this year. The club is 1-3 ATS as a home ‘dog this year.

Detroit has won three straight against San Antonio and covered all of the previous four meetings. The Pistons captured an 89-77 win on Dec. 2 as five-point road underdogs. The combined 166 points never threatened the closing number of 185. The ‘under’ has gone 4-1 in the last five battles.

San Antonio shooting guard Manu Ginobili (ankle) missed Tuesday’s loss to New York and is listed as ‘questionable’ for tonight.

Boston at Utah

The second of the two non-conference battles pits the best team in the East, Boston, versus a legitimate contender in the West, Utah, when healthy. Even though Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen all participated in the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, this will be the first game after the break for the Celtics.

As mentioned above, the Jazz have lost 134 games to injuries this season, including major minutes to starters Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur. After missing 11 games in a row, Kirilenko (14 points) came back on Tuesday as Utah rolled Memphis 117-99 with a big effort in the second-half. Boozer (knee) and Okur (flu) both missed the game, while Williams posted 20 points and 15 assists in the win.

Utah covered as a 10 ½-point home favorite and the combined 216 points jumped ‘over’ the closing number of 204. Jerry Sloan’s team has won and covered five of the last six encounters, with four of the victories coming by double digits.

Playing in Salt Lake City has always benefited the Jazz and that hasn’t changed this year. The team owns a 22-6 SU and 17-11 ATS mark and has rolled off five straight heading into tonight’s showdown.

The Celtics are never to be underestimated and their current road trip will be a great litmus test for the rest of the league. Just before the break, Doc Rivers and company defeated New Orleans (89-77) and Dallas (99-92) on the road. After this tilt, Boston has three more road battles against Phoenix, Denver and the L.A. Clippers.

Boston stands at 20-7 SU and 15-12 ATS on the road this year. The Celts have held opponents to 91 PPG away from home, which has helped the ‘under’ go 97-91.

Last year, the road team won both of the regular season meetings. Earlier this season, Boston beat Utah 100-91 on Dec. 15, but failed to cover as a 9 ½-point home favorite. The Celtics’ Rajon Rondo got the better of Williams in that matchup by torching the point guard for 25 points, nine boards and eight assists.

Tip-off is slated for 10:35 p.m. EST with TNT providing national coverage.

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Double dribble: TNT NBA double header

San Antonio Spurs at Detroit Pistons

Recent history: The two teams met Dec. 2 with Detroit winning 89-77.

Injuries: For the Spurs, Manu Ginobili (right ankle) is questionable.  Detroit is reporting no injuries.

Spurs digging in on road trip

If there's anything more than obvious when it comes to San Antonio (35-17 SU, 25-25-2 ATS), it's that they enjoy their rest.  The Spurs are one of the most veteran-laden teams in the league and needs all of the time off it can get when it comes to those old, battered legs.  But while the All-Star Break offered some desperately needed respite, the ensuing tail end of an eight-game road trip looks to cause some problems.

San Antonio opened up Tuesday in New York, falling to the Knicks 112-107 in overtime.  The Spurs were without Manu Ginobili who was out with a sore right anklethe same right ankle that the revered sixth man had offseason surgery on.

The Spurs recent lack of success in Detroit compounded with the uncertainty of Ginobili's status, make a victory in Detroit all the more important if the Spurs want to guarantee a split on this road trip.   Unfortunately for the Spurs, San Antonio is 2-6 ATS in their last eight games in Detroit and 0-4 ATS in the team's last four meetings, including December's twelve-point loss in San Antonio.

But for the most part, the Spurs are lucky they draw the Pistons when they do considering Detroit's recent struggles and the fact they do get a day of rest in-between.  San Antonio is 4-0-1 ATS when playing off of five days rest in their last five games in that situation and 15-8-2 ATS so far this season after an off-day.  They are also 15-11-1 ATS on the road.

Grinding Pistons

Things have certainly gone topsy-turvy for both teams since Detroit (27-25 SU, 20-32 ATS) took the Spurs down in December.  While San Antonio is battling for the second-seed in the Western Conference playoff picture, the Pistons are finding themselves struggling just to stay relevant in the East.

After defeating the Spurs, Detroit boasted an 11-6 record and looked good-to-go following the early season trade for Allen Iverson.  The Spurs were limping along with a 9-8 record and the annual questions of age loomed overhead.

But since, San Antonio has roared to life, amassing a 26-9 record, while Detroit has managed just a 16-19 record.

Home court has offered little reprieve for the besieged Pistons.  They are 7-21 ATS at home and just 2-9 SU at home in the last six weeks and 1-10 ATS in that same span in Detroit.  The Pistons are averaging just 89.4 points per game in their last 11 home games.  Even more discouraging is that Iverson, the team's leading scorer, is averaging just 17 points per home contest so far this season.

Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz

Recent history: Boston defeated Utah 100-91 on Dec. 15.

Injuries:  For the Celtics, Tony Allen is out (thumb injury).  Carlos Boozer (knee) and Mehmet Okur (illness) are questionable for the Jazz.

Celtics in stasis

Like many teams in the NBA in these current economic times, don't expect Boston (44-11 SU, 31-24 ATS) to pull any huge triggers prior to the league trade deadline on Thursday.  That's not entirely a bad thing considering the recent roll the Celtics have been on.

Minus two tough losses against the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs in recent weeks, Boston is still 8-2 ATS in their last ten games.  If they can survive the current six-game road trip they find themselves embroiled in, they can still hold tight to the top spot in the Eastern Conference that they currently cling to.

The road trip, interrupted by the All-Star Break, sees Boston starting the second half of their schedule in Utah, where Boston is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.  This will be the Celtics' first trip to Utah since December of 2007 in which they won 104-98.

Conversely, that was the last time Boston covered in the two team's overall match-ups as the team is just 1-4 ATS in their last five games against Utah.

The good news for Boston is that All-Star shooting guard Ray Allen is showing no ill effects from a sprained right thumb suffered on Feb. 11 in a victory over New Orleans.

Jazz getting healthy

After struggling with a barrage of injuries midway through the season, Utah (31-23 SU, 28-26 ATS) is finally getting its team back on the court, no one more important than the team's court general.

Point guard Deron Williams has shaken off various leg injuries to come back at peak form.  Since returning against Dallas on Feb. 5, Williams has averaged 30 points and 10.4 assists per game.  The performance has shown in the standings, as well.

Utah entered the game against Dallas with a record of 27-22 and sitting a half-game out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference.  In need of a big win, Williams led the team to a 115-87 blowout and put the Jazz back into position.   

Since the victory, the Jazz have gone 4-1 SU (4-1 ATS) and now own sole possession of the eighth seed.  They still sit just a game below the Mavericks for the seventh seed and have a one-game cushion on the outlying Phoenix Suns. 

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Hoosiers leading scorer to play against Wisconsin Thursday

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -Indiana coach Tom Crean says junior Devan Dumes will play at home against Wisconsin on Thursday.

The Hoosiers' leading scorer with a 13.8 average, Dumes was suspended Feb. 8 after throwing flagrant elbows in a game at then-No. 9 Michigan State.

Dumes has sat out the past two games, losses to Minnesota and then-No. 25 Illinois.

Crean says he thinks ''we have covered the ground that we need to cover and it's time to move forward.''

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/19

San Antonio is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Detroit
San Antonio is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games when playing Detroit
Detroit is 1-7 ATS in its last 8 games
Detroit is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games

Boston is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 games
Boston is 15-2 SU in its last 17 games
Utah is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against Boston
Utah is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Boston

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/19

Hot Teams
-- Celtics won 15 of last 17 games, covered three of last four. Jazz won five of its last six games.

Cold Teams
-- Pistons lost last four games, are 0-8 vs spread in last eight. Spurs are 2-3 in their last five games, losing last two.

-- Five of last six Detroit games went over the total.
-- Seven of last ten Boston games went over the total.

Back-to Back

-- None

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Thursday Research
By Indiancowboy

San Antonio vs. Detroit

The NBA highlights two great games on Thursday night. San Antonio and Detroit met earlier this year when the Spurs were banged up and Detroit ended up winning 89-77 so the Spurs will certainly be looking for some revenge. Keep in mind that Detroit has covered between these two teams the last four times out and the last 3 have gone under - and the last 7 of 8 have gone under as well between these two teams. The Spurs come off suprising back to back losses to both the Knicks on the road in the first game of the second half of the season as well as a loss in the last game of the end of the first half of the season at Toronto. Detroit has been miserable losing four straight including to the Hawks, Bucks, Bulls and Phoenix - all of which they lost at home except for the Bulls game they lost on the road. At some point this team is going to clean house or clean the coaching staff as Dumars has got to be kicking himself for trading the most pivotal player in the team in Chauncey. Denver on the other hand has got to be feeling on top of the world for picking up a huge steal with the General.

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SAN ANTONIO (35 - 17) at DETROIT (27 - 25)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

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

BOSTON (44 - 11) at UTAH (31 - 23)

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

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

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Thursday NBA Report
by Andre Gomes

San Antonio @ Detroit

The Pistons are now only 3 games away from being out of the playoff picture! Could you imagine this when the season started? The real bad news for them is that they will play against San Antonio, @ Cleveland, @ Miami, @ New Orleans, @ Orlando, @ Boston and vs Denver in the next games. Considering that they are 27-25 right now is not impossible to watch the Pistons with a losing record entering the month of March. The problems are well known: a huge lack of chemistry and a head coach who don't know how to do to solve this issue. Meanwhile, The Spurs are coming for this game with consecutive losses in Toronto and in New York against the Knicks. Manu Ginobili is out for this contest and the team regressed offensively in those games as they shot 41.9 % and 43 % from the field. Despite all the problems the Pistons went to San Antonio and beat the Spurs 89-77 so this is a revenge game for the Spurs. Detroit is 7-21 ATS home and 1-3 ATS as home underdogs. I expect a physical game tonight with both teams fighting to get rid of their losing streaks.

Boston @ Utah

This will be a great game between two red hot teams. The Jazz are playing a much better basketball lately and Deron Williams was clearly the key maker for such improvement. He didn't scored more than 30 points last game against the Grizzlies, however he finished with 15 assists and the Jazz ended the game with 5 players scoring double digits numbers. Note that Okur didn't play that game but he is probable for tonight. This is will be the first game after the all star break for the Celtics and the Champs are coming from two impressive wins on the road in New Orleans and Dallas. It seems like once again the Celtics will dominate the West on the road, their defense was amazing in those games and the Jazz are 8-1 Under vs Western teams down the road, the only over was in the first road game (@ Houston). The Celtics already defeated the Jazz at home 100-91 but this will be a tough game for them as the Jazz is playing well, they beat the Lakers recently and with Kirilenk back they look a very dangerous team at home.

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Tips and Trends

San Antonio Spurs at Detroit Pistons

Spurs: (-1, O/U 180) San Antonio will be looking to avoid its first three-game losing streak since an 0-3 start to the season after falling at New York on Tuesday in overtime, 112-107. Tony Parker struggled with his shot and made only 5-of-20 from the field for 14 points while Tim Duncan missed the potential game-winning shot at the end of regulation. “I got some shots to go down and started feeling good about it,” Duncan said. “I wish the last one would’ve gone, too, but such is life.”

Spurs are 1-6 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
The OVER is 8-1 in San Antonio's last 9 games overall.

Key Injuries - G Manu Ginobili (ankle) is OUT.


Pistons (NA): Detroit has dropped seven of its last eight home games following a 92-86 setback to Milwaukee to open the second half of the season. The Pistons are just 14-14 at the Palace this season after going 34-7 there a year ago. “You are supposed to play your best basketball at home, and we obviously aren’t doing that,” Pistons guard Allen Iverson said. “I don’t think there’s any focus. It’s easy to be focused when you are on the road and have 20,000 of their fans cheering against you, but you can’t come home and expect your fans to win the games for you. They help, but you’ve got to play.”

Pistons are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
The UNDER is 7-1 in the last 8 meetings.

Key Injuries - NONE


Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz

Celtics (-1, O/U 201) (NA): Boston hopes to pick up where it left off a week ago before the All-Star break - with a road win on national television. The Celtics have won nine straight games away from home and picked up a 99-92 victory at Dallas last Thursday after trailing 51-40 at halftime. Paul Pierce led the comeback by scoring 18 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter. “I got in my rhythm,” Pierce said. “We had a play that was working. I got into my sweet spot and took the shots.”

Celtics are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 road games.
The UNDER is 7-1-1 in Boston's last 9 games vs. Northwest Division.

Key Injuries - F Brian Scalabrine (head) is probable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 103 (Side Play of the Day)

Jazz: Utah point guard Deron Williams is playing his best stretch of the season, averaging 30.8 points on 56.5 percent shooting and 9.5 assists in the last six games. However, the Jazz also welcomed back Andrei Kirilenko in a 117-99 rout of Memphis on Tuesday, proving they could be very dangerous come playoff time if everybody is healthy. “He made a big steal and then on the other end had a big basket and then blocked a couple of shots,” Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan said of Kirilenko. “That was something that we missed with him. When he’s not around we still have to try and win and we had to win tonight with Mehmet out.”

Jazz are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
The OVER is 7-2 in Utah's last 9 home games.

Key Injuries - C Mehmet Okur (illness) is questionable.


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TNT Preview: Boston at Utah
by Matt Severance

Perhaps the best news of Thursday's doubleheader on TNT, with the Boston at Utah game as the nightcap, is the return of Charles Barkley to the TNT studio. Barkley took a six-week sabbatical from the show after his drunken-driving arrest Dec. 31 in Scottsdale. According to the Nielsen numbers, ratings dropped about 38 percent during the time Barkley was out.

OK, now that we have that out of the way, let's look at what should be the better game of the two tonight: Celtics at Jazz. Utah is always one of the NBA's top teams at home, while Boston leads the league with 20 road wins.

There had been talk that Jazz forward Carlos Boozer would attempt to return tonight after missing 42 consecutive games because of knee surgery, but the team has ruled him out. Utah center Mehmet Okur is expected to play after missing Tuesday's win over Memphis with flu-like symptoms. Swingman Andrei Kirilenko returned to the lineup against the Grizzlies after missing 11 games following ankle surgery and had 14 points in 18 minutes.

Boston lost backup guard Tony Allen for two months earlier this week due to thumb surgery. He was averaging 7.8 points and 1.25 steals in 19.1 minutes per game. The Celtics are looking to acquire a guard and/or veteran big man before today's trade deadline. If there is no deal, Gabe Pruitt is expected to see more action in Allen's absence, and backup center/forward Brian Scalabrine will return to action tonight after missing three weeks with a concussion.

East-leading Boston has won 15 of its last 17 games (8-2 ATS in the past 10), with the only losses coming against the two best teams in the Western Conference, the Lakers and Spurs. The Celtics have won nine straight road games (8-1 ATS), and this is their first game since last Thursday - but they spent the past three days in Salt Lake City. This will be their third consecutive Thursday TNT game.

Utah was 37-4 at home last regular season but one of those losses was to Boston - the Cs have won four of five in Salt Lake City. Overall, the Celtics have won two of their past three games with the Jazz, including a 100-91 win in Boston earlier this season. Rajon Rondo completely outplayed Utah's Deron Williams that night, just missing a triple-double with 25 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Williams had 15 points, seven assists and fouled out that night in Beantown but has been on fire in the past six games, averaging 30.8 points and 9.5 assists while shooting 56.5 percent from the field as Utah has won five of six (5-1 ATS).

Utah is just 9-12 against the Eastern Conference this season, and five of its six home losses have come to teams from the East. The Jazz are 1.5-point dogs for tonight's game, and Utah is 0-6 ATS in its past six as an underdog.

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