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NBA News and Notes Thursday 11/26

NBA News and Notes Thursday 11/26

Orlando (11-4, 9-6 ATS) at Atlanta (11-3 SU and ATS)

The Magic begin a three-game road trip with a stop at Philips Arena to face the Hawks in the first meeting of the season between the Southeast Division’s top two teams.

Orlando’s five-game winning streak was snapped in Wednesday’s last-second, 99-98 home loss to Miami as a 9½-point favorite, a setback that dropped the Magic a half-game behind Atlanta in the division standings. Orlando had gone 4-1 ATS during its win streak while yielding just 86.2 points per game, but last night the Magic surrendered more than 96 points for just the seventh time this season.

Atlanta has been idle since Saturday, when it suffered a surprising 96-88 loss at New Orleans as a five-point road favorite, snapping a seven-game winning streak. The Hawks have failed to cover the spread in their last two contests following a 6-0 ATS run. Atlanta, which averaged 109.4 ppg during its winning streak, has tallied at least 97 points in 12 of its 14 games – topping triple digits nine times – but the Hawks have scored just 88 and 83 in their last two losses. Atlanta is a perfect 7-0 at home (6-1 ATS), outscoring visitors by an average of 13 ppg (110.7-97.7).

These rivals opened the season against each other last year, with Atlanta scoring a 99-85 upset victory as an eight-point road underdog, but the Magic came back and won the final three meetings both SU and ATS. That includes a pair of narrow wins at Philips Arena by scores of 106-102 (as two-point underdog) and 88-82 (as a 1½-point road favorite). The SU winner has cashed in each of the last 13 series battles, and the visitor is on a 4-1 ATS roll.

Orlando is rising positive pointspread streaks of 4-2 overall, 6-2 on the highway, 14-6 against Eastern Conference opponents and 7-2 inside the division. Likewise, the Hawks are on ATS runs of 11-3 on the season, 20-8-2 at home, 5-1-1 against the Eastern Conference, 5-2 in Southeast Division contests and 5-1-1 versus winning teams.

The Magic have topped the total in seven of their last 10 games when playing on back-to-back nights, and the over for the Hawks is on runs of 8-2 overall and 5-0 at home. However, the under is on stretches of 5-0 for Orlando on the road, 13-3 for Orlando on Thursday and 8-2 for Atlanta on Thursday.


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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 11/26

TNT heats up Turkey Day

Orlando Magic (11-3) at Atlanta Hawks (11-3)

The defending Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic, visit the up and coming Atlanta Hawks in the first of two, NBA Thanksgiving Day games.

The Magic are a different team than the one that lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals. Having added future Hall of Famer Vince Carter and his 18.7 points per game, the Magic now feel they have the weapons to get over the hump. With Carter being the number one scoring threat, his creativity opens the lane for Dwight Howard, who’s pulling down a team leading 11.1 boards and blocking 1.7 shots per game.

The Hawks on the other hand have the title of being the most exciting team in the NBA, behind the World Champion Lakers. Atlanta is led by guard Joe Johnson’s 22.6 points per game and his 4.9 assists. The Hawks also have gotten strong play on the boards from Al Horford and his 10.1 rebounds a game.
Even though they’ve accumulated an impressive (11-3) record, a lot of fans are skeptical of Atlanta’s fast start. Some will say it’s too early to say if they’re for real and some will say the Hawks have never won and will eventually fade down the stretch. With that said, the Hawks almost shocked the Celtics in the playoffs last season, and are off to a hot start, tied with the Magic for the top spot in the Eastern Conference’s Southeast division.

NOTES: Orlando took last season’s series 3-1, winning the final three games, including both at Philips Arena … The Hawks have dropped three straight at home to the Magic, with their last win coming on 3/22/08 (98-90) … Orlando leads the all-time series 41-36, but Atlanta holds a 24-14 advantage in home games.

MAGIC – Marcin Gortat (flu) Questionable, Adonal Foyle (knee) out.
HAWKS - Mike Bibby (sprained left ankle) is day-to-day.

The Magic are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games
The Hawks are 11-3-1 ATS in their last 15 games
The ROAD TEAM is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games between the two teams
The OVER is 8-2 in the Hawks last 10 games

Chicago Bulls (6-7) At Utah Jazz (7-7)

The Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz match up on Thanksgiving Day is a battle of two up and coming teams. It seems like just yesterday the Bulls and Jazz met in the 1997 and 1998 Finals. Now both teams find themselves in the same situation, in trying to become a title contending team.

Both teams are led by upcoming point guards, in Derrick Rose of the Bulls and the Jazz’s Deron Williams. Williams with four years NBA experience, is averaging 19.8 ppg. and 9.9 assists. Last season’s rookie of the year Derrick Rose is averaging 15.1 points per game and 5.3 assists for the Bulls while the team is led in scoring by Luol Deng’s 17.1

The Bulls who own six NBA Championships haven’t seriously tasted success since the days of Michael Jordan. With the one-two punch of Rose and Deng, the Bulls are playing .500 ball, and are attempting to chase down the Cavaliers and Bucks in the NBA’s Central division.

The Bulls have struggled on the road with a (2-6) record but have had success at home (4-1). If Chicago wants to be considered an elite team they’ll have to start playing better away from the United Center, The Jazz on the other hand have always been one of the better home teams in the NBA, but this season they’re off to an unusual (4-3) start. The Jazz at (7-7) overall, also need to pick up the pace, if they plan on challenging the Nuggets, Blazers, and even the OKC Thunder in the Northwest division.

With Williams’s success, the Jazz have a one-two punch of their own. Power forward Carlos Boozer is playing inspired basketball, averaging 18.3 points per game and 11 rebounds. Even with Williams and Boozer on pace to be all-stars, the Jazz have three other players averaging double-digit points, which should equate to a record better than (7-7).

Mehmet Okur – Flu like symptoms – probable
Ronnie price – Sprained big toe – out
C.J. Miles – Ruptured thumb ligament – out
Kyle Korver –knee surgery – out
Matt Harpring – knee/ankle – out

Tim Thomas – Not with team.
Aaron Gray – Not with team.

The Bulls are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games
The Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games
The Jazz are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 home games
The UNDER is 8-3 in the Bulls last 11 games
The UNDER is 5-1 in the last 6 games between the two teams

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 11/26

Orlando Magic vs. Atlanta Hawks

The Orlando Magic and the Atlanta Hawks will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at Philips Arena.

Jason Williams had 25 points and eight assists for Orlando in its 99-98 loss to Miami on Wednesday night.

Miami cashed as 9.5-point road underdogs, while the teams played OVER the 192.5-point total set by sportsbooks.

The Hawks were upset 96-88 by the Hornets last time out as a 4.5-point road favorite. That game's combined score went UNDER the posted total of 203.5.

Jamal Crawford tossed in 20 points in the loss for the Hawks.

Team records:
Orlando: 11-4 SU, 9-6 ATS
Atlanta: 11-3 SU, 11-3 ATS

Orlando most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 9-1
Before playing Milwaukee are 2-8
After playing Miami are 5-5
After a loss are 7-3

Atlanta most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 5-5
Before playing Philadelphia are 7-3
After playing New Orleans are 6-4
After a loss are 6-4

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

Next up:
Orlando at Milwaukee, Saturday, November 28
Atlanta at Philadelphia, Friday, November 27

Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz

The Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz will both be trying to pick up a win on Thursday when they battle at EnergySolutions Arena.

Luol Deng dropped 25 points for Chicago in its 122-98 loss to Portland on Monday night.

Portland covered as 8-point home favorites, while the teams played OVER the 182.5-point total set by sportsbooks.

Carlos Boozer dropped 26 points and grabbed seven boards for Utah in its 104-94 loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.

Oklahoma City cashed as 8-point road underdogs, while the teams played OVER the 197-point total listed by sportsbooks.

Current streak:
Chicago has lost 3 straight games.

Team records:
Chicago: 6-7 SU, 4-9 ATS
Utah: 7-7 SU, 6-8 ATS

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 4-6
Before playing Milwaukee are 3-7
After playing Portland are 7-3
After a loss are 5-5

Utah most recently:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
Before playing Portland are 6-4
After playing Oklahoma City are 5-5
After a loss are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
Chicago is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Utah
Chicago is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Utah
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Chicago's last 11 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Chicago's last 7 games on the road
Utah is 19-6 SU in its last 25 games at home
Utah is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games when playing at home against Chicago
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Utah's last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Utah's last 7 games at home

Next up:
Chicago at Milwaukee, Monday, November 30
Utah home to Portland, Saturday, November 28

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Re: NBA News and Notes Thursday 11/26

NBA RoundUp for Thanksgiving
by Dan Bebe

Well, it happened. Monta Ellis finally stopped playing basketball, but it took a 14-point deficit with just over a minute remaining against the Spurs to make it happen. Ellis logged 46 minutes in a blowout loss, which is just ridiculous in every sense of the word. Though, you can certainly make the case that he should be playing every second of every game if he continues to shoot over 60% from the field and motor like a maniac the entire time!

In other news, and everyone knows I rarely toot my own horn, and this season so far, my calls haven't been all that impressive, but Charlotte, my strongest play of the season, was a 33-point cover. If that isn't the definition of an easy win, I don't know what is.

Also worth noting, the Knicks are the Knicks again. After 3 solid performances (one of which spoiled our 19-point Pacers' lead), the hapless bunch from New York have regressed. In a blowout loss in Los Angeles on Tuesday, they shot 38.9% from the field; in a blowout loss the following night in Sacramento, they shot 38.5%.

I was trying to describe my feelings as I watched the Lakers-Knicks game on TV. I am in Southern California for a few days for Thanksgiving, so I'm able to catch Lakers games on local channels, and there was a point in that game, midway through the second quarter, where I was able to stop LOOKING at the television and stop listening to the broadcasters and I was still able to tell exactly what was happening. How? The sound of inflated synthetic "ball" material colliding with rim was so loud, it pervaded my blog-typing train of thought. I heard "DOINK" about 9 times in 3 minutes, and I knew that game was done.

Sports Wagering

Hawks/Magic -
This line is OFF, but by the time we begin recording tomorrow's podcast, we should have a number, and I already know which way I'm leaning on this one. Of course, the line could impact things quite a bit. The Hawks are coming off a road loss to the New Orleans Hornets, a failure that snapped a 7-game winning streak for Atlanta, arguably one of the best teams in the NBA thus far. The Hawks are 11-3 both SU and ATS, and you have to believe they will be given a ton of credit by the oddsmakers. The best thing we have going for us in this game is that Atlanta is hosting a legitimately good team in Orlando, which means the line won't be inflated as much as against, say, the Nets. This means that there will be a little value in the Hawks, if indeed that's the direction we want to go. You could make the argument that the Magic were looking ahead to this game with Atlanta in their 1-point, final-moment loss to Miami, and you might be right, but with that demoralizing defeat so fresh in their minds, how will they bounce back. I typically like to fade a team coming off a long winning streak, but I also typically like to fade a team coming off a last-second loss. There are few things more tiring than playing your butt off for 48 minutes in a game that you should win then watching it just barely slip away in the final moments. With the Hawks up-tempo style, I expect this game to open with the home team favored by 4 and a total just a hair over 200.

Jazz/Bulls - Where the hell are Jordan, Stockton, Malone, and even Bryon Russell? This matchup isn't what it used to be, but it's still a game, and we're still going to break it down. Utah opens as a home favorite of 7 with a total of 195. The Jazz are 7-7 SU, 6-8 ATS and coming off an embarrassing 10-point home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Jazz are clearly susceptible to teams with athletic wing players, and the Thunder definitely fit that mold. The Bulls "sort of" do, as well, but not at all the same. Chicago has a big, quick point guard in Derrick Rose, who just doesn't look quite healthy, and both Luol Deng and John Salmons qualify as solid 2/3 hybrids, but do they have the same ability to take it to the rack as Kevin Durant and Jeff Green? That is going to be the difference-maker in this game. The Bulls are 6-7 SU, 4-9 ATS, and have lost 3 straight both SU and ATS. This is what makes this game so difficult to cap -- both teams are severely slumping right now, though perhaps Chicago a tad more than Utah, so it's tough to find any advantage in value. We really have to just pick the lesser of two basketball evils, and hope that that team puts forth a decent effort. A key note in this one is that the Bulls are 4-1 at home and only 2-6 on the road, which certainly does not inspire confidence. Utah has not been their normal dominant home selves (4-3 in Salt Lake City), but Chicago's miserable road efforts this year make Utah's home court advantage a little stronger. The real value might be in the total. Chicago's defense has been horrendous on the road, and they've allowed over 103 PPG away from home. In Chicago, they allow just 87 PPG, a difference of over 16 points! Utah, meanwhile, scores 102 points at home. True, Chicago's road competition has been tougher than the teams they've played at home, but the discrepancy is pretty stark. I lean to the Over, and maybe just barely to Utah to cover.

Fantasy Advice

Darren Collison -
I really didn't want to go there, since the moment Chris Paul regains his ability to break ankles (other than his own), Collison is, in the words of the scripture of the Holy Hand Grenade, "right out", but for the time being Collison is putting up big numbers in New Orleans. 18 points, 7 boards, 8 assists is mighty fine from a backup PG.

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