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NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/26

NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/26

Thursday's NBA Preview
By Josh Jacobs

From an ‘over’ run that rocked the gambling world only three weeks ago to a current, unpredictable stretch in the totals department, trendy runs can end in a heartbeat.

Thursday ushers in another installment of a TNT double-header. We’re here to see if we can weed out anything of interest but more importantly, we're trying to get some winners to the table before the windows close.

Cleveland at Houston – 8:00 p.m. EST

We’ll begin by stating that Houston (36-21 straight up, 26-30-1 against the spread) is 7-3 SU and ATS in the last 10 head-to-head meetings while the ‘under’ has been nothing but cold hard cash at 8-2 in the same 10 games. Smooth sailing so far.

Backers on Cleveland (44-11 SU, 37-18 ATS) have had success throughout the season, not to mention cashing tickets in five straight. The Cavaliers may be scoring 101.2 PPG on offense during the run, but a defense responsible for picking apart opponents by allowing 85.6 PPG has also helped in a 5-2 record on the ‘under’ (89.3 PPG during this seven-game stretch).

Cleveland is 18-10 SU on the road this season, scoring 97.6 PPG versus giving up 92.3 PPG. This has translated into the Cavs going 16-12 ATS and 17-11 on the ‘under’ when designated as the visiting team this season. Buyers beware however, as a 6-6 ATS financial report when installed anywhere from a one to 6 ½-point favorite hasn’t exactly been a bread winning trend.

Cleveland is coming off a 94-79 blowout over Memphis on Tuesday, covering the 13 ½-point spread and hitting the ‘under’ for the 8th time in the last 12 games. With one-day of rest under their belt, the Cavaliers are 21-6 SU and 16-11 ATS this season.

Talking about teams on a roll, Houston (36-21 SU, 26-30-1 ATS) snatched up five straight wins and are 8-2 in the last 10 games. This is an organization that hasn’t been installed as an underdog in the last 11 (set as a slight one-point ‘dog against the Knicks on Jan. 26) but has struggled to cover spreads. The Rockets may be 3-1 ATS in the last four but a 5-6 ATS report in the last 11 should have gamblers doing much deeper research.

Two trends that could have us avoiding Houston are a 13-21-1 ATS slide after coming off a SU win supported by a slouching 7-18-1 ATS fall after an ATS victory. The Rockets are emerging from a 98-94 ‘W’ over Portland on Tuesday.

As a home favorite, the Rockets are 17-11 on the ‘under’, outscoring their opponents by a point margin of plus-8.8 in this spot. Mix in a tough 1-5-1 ATS tailspin versus the Central Division this season and the aforementioned trends tell us that this could be a letdown spot for Houston. That remains to be seen.

The Rockets’ injury bug continues as forward, Carl Landry has now missed three games due to an ankle injury. The team is 2-1 ATS in his absence.

Phoenix at L.A. Lakers – 10:30 p.m. EST

It’s like beating a dead horse but L.A.’s 12-1 SU run continues to prove whose top dog out West. The problem; losing backers money by going 3-4 ATS in the last seven isn’t necessarily the best of results.

With the Lakers producing a point margin of 8.8 PPG in the last 18 contests (coincidental to Houston's point margin in the preview above), books have been beat even after averaging a point spread of 5.8 PPG (in favor of L.A.). This has equated to the Lake Show going 12-6 ATS in these 18 games while the ‘over’ has been a bonus bet at 11-6-1.

Given Phoenix’s 128.4 PPG scoring offense in the last five games, an ‘over’ record at 5-1 in the last six and a defensive unit responsible for coughing up 111 PPG in the last 10, books will be looking to set a sky high total in this contest (stay tuned for that information when available).

Some numbers to place front and center given the interest in totals wagering include a 6-2 record on the ‘over’ in the last eight head-to-head meetings, a 6-2 run on the ‘over’ in the last eight played in L.A. and the Lakers outstanding 7-1 performance on the ‘over’ in the last eight versus Pacific Division foes.

The Suns are emerging from a 112-102 win over Charlotte on Tuesday, receiving superb scoring production from Steve Nash, Jason Richardson and Shaquille O’Neal (combined for 62 points). Phoenix will be entering this contest off one-day of rest for which they’ve obtained a fading 10-17-2 ATS record.

This will be the third time that both Western Conference teams have met this season. The two previous meetings have seen the Lakers taking the 2-0 SU edge while a 1-1 ATS tab gives us little to go on. It was on Dec. 10 of last year that L.A. contributed 115 points to the final score, failing to cover the steep 13 ½-point spread. The 216-point total was pushed ‘over’ the mark after Phoenix finished with 110 points, adding to that 6-2 ‘over’ record in the last eight.

Following up on some fade numbers; Phoenix is 11-20 ATS after coming off a SU win, a 7-14 ATS record after an ATS win and an 18-11 record on the ‘over’ after coming off a SU win.

Flip-flopping back to the Lakers reveals a 6-1 SU record in the last seven home games but a disappointing 1-3 ATS mark in the last four played inside Staples Center. And it’s worth mentioning that since Andrew Bynum left the court on Feb. 2 with an MCL injury, L.A. is 10-1 SU and 7-4 ATS. A quick note to head; both teams will finish off the week by meeting for the fourth and final time on Sunday.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/26

Hot and Cold Bets
By Matt Fargo

The NBA has hit the two-third mark and the games are becoming that much more important. Matt Fargo has been looking into Hot and Cold NBA bets throughout the season and he takes a look at four games that you will want to pay attention to coming up over the next few days.

NBA Cold Bets

Thursday – Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers

I fell into the trap on Sunday with Phoenix. After pouring in 140 or more points in three straight games, the Suns laid an egg against the Celtics. Playing the Clippers twice and Oklahoma City will allow a team to thrive apparently. Phoenix got rid of its coach at the All-Star break and now it has to deal with the absence of Amare Stoudemire and things could get rough. The Suns are 21-33-1 ATS, third worst in the NBA, and despite a winning road record, they are just 11-16-1 ATS in those 28 roadies. They will no doubt be an underdog here and that is not a role they have relished this season, going 2-10 straight up and 3-9 ATS. They have lost three straight to the Lakers dating back to last season. Los Angeles is rolling once again as it has won 15 of its last 17 games (11-6 ATS) and with its four straight wins, it has won at least four in a row on eight different occasions this season. The Lakers are a modest 17-6 against the East but 29-4 against the West (18-15 ATS).

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/26

Double dribble: NBA TNT double header

Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets (1.5, 184.5)

The skinny

Both teams are red-hot entering this intra-conference showdown. The Cavaliers and Rockets both enter with five-game winning streaks and the Cavs, who own the NBA’s best record against the spread (37-18), have covered the number in each of its games during this span.

This starts a four-game road trip in five days for LeBron James and Co. They capped a sharp two-game homestand with a 94-79 win over Memphis as a 13.5-point favorite Tuesday night.

The Rockets’ surge has coincided with the loss of Tracy McGrady to season-ending knee surgery earlier this month. Since the injury, the Rockets have proven unbeatable at home with wins vs. Sacramento, New Jersey, Dallas, Charlotte and, most recently, Portland Tuesday night. The win vs. the Blazers moved the Rockets into fourth place in the Western Conference.

Getting defensive

Attention to defense is a major reason for both team’s recent success. The Cavs have been the Association’s best defensive team all season, allowing just 90.5 points a game. The Rockets have been nearly as good giving up 94.9 points a game to rank eighth.

The defensive pressure has stepped up even further during both team’s five game runs. Each is allowing a stellar 85.6 points a game during their respective streaks. Both teams defensive prowess is further amplified by the fact the under is 8-2 in these teams' last 10 head-to-head matchups.

The Cavs best on-the-ball defender, Delonte West, returned to the Cleveland lineup Sunday after missing 16 games because of a fractured wrist, but did not play Tuesday night.  He reported stiffness in his wrist and is expected to be a game-time decision for this one.

Houston had held four straight opponents under 90 points before Portland topped that mark in the last minute Tuesday. In addition to its tougher defense, the Rockets have adjusted nicely to the loss of McGrady with improved ball movement. They have had at least 20 assists in every game during their current streak, its best of the season.

“Moving it (the ball) and playing defense; that’s our identity right now,” Ron Artest told the Associated Press.

Head to head

The Cavs beat Houston 99-90 as 7.5-point home favorites in their previous matchup Dec. 23. The Cavs shot over 48 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Rockets 41-32.

More trends

Cleveland is 5-1 ATS in its last six games with one days rest
Cleveland is 15-5 ATS vs. the Western Conference
Houston is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games following an ATS loss
Houston is 1-4 ATS in its last five games on one days rest
Under is 4-1 in Rockets’ last five vs. teams with winning straight-up records
Under is 4-1 in Rockets’ last five following an ATS loss

Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers (N/A)

The skinny

The Suns rebounded nicely from a pummeling by Boston over the weekend with a 112-102 win vs. Charlotte as 7-point favorites Tuesday night. However, the news wasn’t all good out of Phoenix. Point guard Steve Nash rolled his right ankle late in that one and could be sidelined for this Western Conference showdown.

Interim coach Alvin Gentry said Nash would make the trip to Los Angeles but a decision won’t be made until game time.

"We'll have to take a look at it," Gentry told the local media. "Right now he'll be a game-time decision. Obviously we're not going to push it if he's not feeling good.”

The Suns have been a solid 4-1 ATS since Gentry took over and reinstalled a fast-break offense. But exactly where the “new” Phoenix fits in the league’s pecking order remains an unknown. The four wins came against mediocre teams and they were simply no match for Boston Sunday.

“It was a good test for us,” center Shaquille O’Neal told the Arizona Sun. “We still have to play our style, but against a team like that we’ve got to make stops. A team with so many weapons, you can’t let all their weapons get off. If we want to talk about winning that’s how we’ve got to play.”

The Lakers continue to roll along with the league’s best record following their 107-93 win as 7.5-point favorites at Oklahoma City. It was just a 2-point game midway through the fourth quarter, but then Kobe Bryant was re-inserted and promptly poured in 15 of his 36 points to preserve the victory.

The return of Odom

The loss of starting center Andrew Bynum to a knee injury could have proved costly to the Lakers if not for the re-emergence of Lamar Odom. The 6-foot-10 southpaw has been dominant in Bynum’s departure and helped lead the Lakers to a 10-1 record since the injury.

Odom, who has posted a double double in six of his last eight games, has appeared much more comfortable in the Lakers intricate triangle offense. He’s moving well without the ball and has proven to be dangerous both in the post and on the perimeter.

“That’s something I couldn’t do two seasons ago.” Odom told the Los Angeles Times. “I didn’t know when to cut and how to make a play without the ball.”

Head to head

The Lakers have beaten the Suns twice this year. Both times when Terry Porter was still at the helm in Phoenix. Los Angeles won 115-110 as a 13.5-point home favorite Dec. 10 but the Suns were shorthanded in that one. They had just traded Boris Diaw and Raja Bell and O’Neal missed the game because of the death of his grandmother. Prior to that, the Lakers beat the Suns in Phoenix 105-92 as 4.5-point favorites.

Betting trends

Road team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings
The Suns are 4-1 ATS vs. the West in their last five games
The Suns are 1-4 ATS vs. teams with a winning S.U. record in their last five games
The Suns are 0-6 in their last six Thursday night games
The Lakers are 6-17 ATS on one days rest in their last 23 games
The Over is 6-2 in the last eighth head-to-head matchups
The Over is 5-1 in the Suns last six overall

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/26

NBA Today


Thursday, Feb. 26

Phoenix at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 p.m. EST). Former Lakers teammates Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal are back together again for the first time since sharing the All-Star MVP award in Phoenix.



— Devin Harris, Nets, scored 19 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter to carry New Jersey to a 111-99 victory over Chicago.

— Tony Parker, Spurs, scored 39 points in a dazzling encore to his 37 in the previous game, leading San Antonio to a 99-84 win over Portland.

— Chauncey Billups, Nuggets, scored a season-best 33 points for Denver in a 110-109 win over Atlanta.

— David West, Hornets, had 30 points and 10 rebounds in New Orleans’ 90-87 victory over Detroit.

— Zach Randolph, Clippers, scored 30 points, including the final three of the game, to help Los Angeles hold off Boston 93-91.

— Gerald Wallace, Bobcats, scored 27 points to help Charlotte win its first road game in nearly a month with a 98-91 win at Sacramento.

— Mehmet Okur, Jazz, scored 25 points and Utah extended its win streak to a season-high six games with a 120-103 win at Minnesota.

— Dwight Howard, Magic, had 24 points and 21 rebounds in his 20th career 20-20 game to power Orlando over New York 114-109.

— Andre Iguodala, 76ers, had 22 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds as Philadelphia snapped a four-game losing streak with a 106-98 win over Washington.


Memphis dropped its sixth consecutive game, 104-99 at Indiana. … The Pistons lost for the eighth consecutive time, their longest skid in 14 seasons, when they fell 90-87 in New Orleans. Detroit last lost eight in a row from Dec. 21, 1994 to Jan. 8, 1995, a year it went 28-54. … Minnesota has lost seven in a row at home after losing to the Jazz, who have won six straight overall. … Portland lost in San Antonio for the 11th consecutive time in a streak that dates to 2002. The Trail Blazers also dropped their fifth straight road game, 99-84. … Denver had a 19-0 run in its 110-109 win over Atlanta, and Charlotte had an 18-point spurt in its 98-91 win at Sacramento.


The Nets set a franchise record hitting all 25 of their free throws in a 111-99 win over the Bulls. Their previous best was 23-of-23 in 1999, also against the Bulls. … Josh Howard scored 27 points, Jason Kidd added 19 and Dallas avenged its worst loss of the season by beating the Bucks 116-96. On Jan. 21, the Bucks had 100 points by the end of the third quarter on the way to a 133-99 blowout win over the Mavericks.


Devin Harris scored 19 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter and carried the Nets for the second straight game in a 111-99 victory over the Bulls. Harris’ dazzling performance came just two days after he scored 39 points and hit a buzzer-beating halfcourt shot for a win over Philadelphia. … Tony Parker, making up for the absences of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, scored 39 points in the Spurs’ 99-84 win against Portland. Parker had 37 points the previous night, also in a win without the other two San Antonio stars.


Half the starters in the game between Memphis and Indiana were rookies: Brandon Rush and Roy Hibbert for the Pacers, and Marc Gasol, O.J. Mayo and Darrell Arthur for the Grizzlies.


Marc Gasol had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and rookie O.J. Mayo added 21 points for Memphis, which lost its sixth straight by falling to Indiana 104-99. … Nate Robinson overcame a slow start to score 32 for the Knicks, his fifth 30-point game in the last seven, in a 114-109 loss to Orlando. He is averaging 29.8 points since winning his second dunk title at All-Star weekend. Wilson Chandler had 27 points and Al Harrington finished with 26. … Kevin Love had career highs with 24 points and 15 rebounds and Ryan Gomes added 24 points and eight boards for the Timberwolves, who have lost seven in a row at home after falling 120-103 to Utah. … Marvin Williams scored 31 points, had seven rebounds and two steals in Atlanta’s 110-109 loss at Denver.


Spurs forward Tim Duncan missed his second consecutive game, sitting out against Portland with a right leg injury. San Antonio listed Duncan as day to day with a right quad injury. The perennial All-Star was a late scratch before Tuesday’s victory over Dallas after being unable to overcome stiffness in his knee during warmups.


Rasheed Wallace was ejected with 7:55 left in the fourth quarter after picking up his second technical foul in 27 seconds at New Orleans. They were his 15th and 16th technicals of the season, meaning he will be suspended automatically for the Pistons’ game at Orlando on Friday.


“He was like a roadrunner blowing by us.”—Portland coach Nate McMillan about Tony Parker, who scored 39 points in San Antonio’s 99-84 win.

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CLEVELAND (44 - 11) at HOUSTON (36 - 21)
Top Trends for this game.
HOUSTON is 31-16 ATS (+13.4 Units) second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
HOUSTON is 51-32 ATS (+15.8 Units) in non-conference games over the last 3 seasons.
CLEVELAND is 36-19 ATS (+15.1 Units) in all games this season.
CLEVELAND is 31-15 ATS (+14.5 Units) as a favorite this season.
CLEVELAND is 20-10 ATS (+9.0 Units) after a win by 10 points or more this season.
CLEVELAND is 21-9 ATS (+11.1 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season over the last 3 seasons.

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

PHOENIX (32 - 24) at LA LAKERS (47 - 10)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
LA LAKERS is 10-5 against the spread versus PHOENIX over the last 3 seasons
PHOENIX is 8-7 straight up against LA LAKERS over the last 3 seasons
9 of 15 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

Cleveland is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Cleveland is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Houston is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against Cleveland
Houston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Cleveland

Phoenix is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games when playing LA Lakers
Phoenix is 1-5 SU in their last 6 games when playing LA Lakers
LA Lakers are 22-3 SU in their last 25 games at home
LA Lakers are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/26

Hot Teams
-- Cavaliers won their last five games (4-1 vs spread). Rockets won last five games, covering three of last four.
-- Lakers won five in row, 16 of last 18 games. Suns won, covered four of their last five games.

Cold Teams
-- None

-- Seven of last ten Cleveland games stayed under the total.
-- Four of last five Phoenix road games went over the total.

Back-to Back

-- Suns are 5-6-1 vs spread if they play again the next night.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/26

Tips and Trends

Cleveland Cavaliers at Houston Rockets

Cavs (-1.5, O/U 184): Like Houston, Cleveland also brings a five-game winning streak into this nationally televised game. However, the Cavs have not performed well on Thursdays in prime time, going 3-9 ATS in their last 12 TNT appearances. They have also struggled in Houston over the years, going 3-17 SU in their last 20 trips there. Cleveland star LeBron James will also face former NBA Defensive Player of the Year Ron Artest at times. “Every time we play against each other, it’s fun,” Artest said. “I’m in a different situation now and I’m not on him as much as I’d like to be. Guys like that push me.”

Cavs are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 Thursday games.
The UNDER is 7-3 in Cleveland's last 10 games overall.

Key Injuries - G Delonte West (wrist) is questionable.
F Sasha Pavlovic (ankle) is OUT.


Rockets: Ron Artest has averaged 20.1 points since replacing Tracy McGrady in the starting lineup, but more importantly, he has led Houston to wins in each of the first five games of its six-game homestand. “Our record doesn’t show it, but we’re starting to show the type of team we are," Artest said. “We’re starting to come together.” The Rockets have won eight straight at home, but Artest now faces arguably his toughest test of the season in guarding James, who has only won once in Houston.

Rockets are 7-2 ATS in the last 9 meetings.
The UNDER is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.

Key Injuries - F Carl Landry (ankle) is day-to-day.
G Luther Head (foot) is day-to-day.
G Tracy McGrady (knee) is OUT.

PROJECTED SCORE: 93 (Side Play of the Day)

Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers

Suns: Phoenix is averaging 128.4 points on 56.7 percent shooting from the field since Alvin Gentry took over as head coach, replacing Terry Porter. The Suns are 4-1 in those games but still sit 14.5 games behind the Lakers in the Pacific Division. It's unknown whether or not point guard Steve Nash will be available after he turned his ankle in the third quarter of a 112-102 win over Charlotte on Tuesday. Nash did return in the fourth and hopes to play.

Suns are 4-1 SU & ATS in their last 5 games overall.
The OVER is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings.

Key Injuries - PG Steve Nash (ankle) is questionable.
C Amare Stoudemire (eye) is OUT.


Lakers (-9.5, O/U 237): Nash isn't the only player in this game dealing with an ankle injury, as LA star Kobe Bryant rolled his ankle with four minutes to go in a 107-93 win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Like Nash, Bryant also returned to action and saw a close game end with a double-digit victory. Bryant is averaging 33.3 points in his last four games and is looking forward to facing former teammate Shaquille O'Neal. “It was my ankle, but I’ve got ankle insurance,” Bryant said. “I’m fine.”

Lakers are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games vs. Pacific Division.
The OVER is 7-1 in LA's last 8 games vs. Pacific Division.

Key Injuries - C Andrew Bynum (knee) is OUT.


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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 2/26

Thursday Research
By Indiancowboy

Cleveland vs. Houston

Thursday Night TNT action as Cleveland hits the road to Houston. Cleveland continues to cash despite 75% of the public or more that is on them nearly each game. The Cavs are 37-18 ATS thus far this year and they have covered their last 4 straight. The Cavs had baeten the Rockets earlier this year 99-90 and covered the -7.5 spread earlier this year. The Rockets have been playing better though as without McGrady they have still won 5 games in a row. Just note, that in some consensus this percentage is high as 80% and Clevleand did lose to the Pacers on the road so it's not all that impossible that they struggle here tonight and lose to Houston. West is probable for Cleveland and Ming is probable for the Lakers.

Phoenix vs. Lakers

Richardson is Probable and Nash is Questionable for this contest. The Lakers beat this team by 5 earlier this year as they easily got inside the 13.5 at LA earlier this year. Phoenix does come off a revenge and cover against Charlotte at home as they won by 10. The Lakers come off a nice win and defensive effort against OKC holding them to just 93 points as that contest goes fav/under. No line yet, but I would not be overly surprsied to see this game dip under.

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