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NBA News and Notes Saturday 12/5

NBA News and Notes Saturday 12/5

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Charlotte Bobcats

The Philadelphia 76ers and the Charlotte Bobcats will both be trying to pick up a win on Saturday when they battle at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The 76ers fell 115-103 to the Thunder last time out as a 6.5-point underdog. That game's 218 points sailed OVER the posted total of 195.

Andre Iguodala had 28 points with six rebounds and four assists.

The Bobcats were defeated 97-91 by the Nets last time out, as 3.5-point favorites. That game's 188 points made it OVER the posted total of 182.5.

Raymond Felton and Stephen Jackson collected 28 points apiece in the loss.

Current streak:
Philadelphia has lost 8 straight games.
Charlotte has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Philadelphia: 5-14 SU, 8-11 ATS
Charlotte: 7-11 SU, 11-7 ATS

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 5-5
Before playing Denver are 3-7
After playing Oklahoma City are 3-7
After a loss are 2-8

Charlotte most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 2-8
Before playing Denver are 0-10
After playing New Jersey are 5-5
After a loss are 3-7

A few trends to consider:
Philadelphia is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 5 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 5 games when playing on the road against Charlotte
Philadelphia is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
Charlotte is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing at home against Philadelphia
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Charlotte's last 5 games when playing at home against Philadelphia
Charlotte is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 games when playing at home against Philadelphia
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Charlotte's last 7 games when playing Philadelphia

Next up:
Philadelphia home to Denver, Monday, December 7
Charlotte home to Denver, Tuesday, December 8


Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls

The fans at United Center will be treated to a game between the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls when they take their seats on Saturday.

Chris Bosh poured in 31 points and hauled down 16 rebounds for a double-double to lead the Raptors to a 109-107 overtime victory over the Wizards on Friday. The Raptors won the game as a 3-point underdog, while the 216 points went as a PUSH against the posted total of 216.

Hedo Turkoglu added 20 points with nine rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani had 16 points apiece in the win.

Taj Gibson collected 14 points with 13 rebounds in the Bulls' 101-87 loss to the Cavaliers on Friday. The Bulls were 12.5-point underdogs, while the 188 points went UNDER the night's posted total of 190.

Team records:
Toronto: 8-13 SU, 9-12 ATS
Chicago: 7-10 SU, 5-11-1 ATS

Toronto most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 2-8
Before playing Minnesota are 5-5
After playing Washington are 8-2
After a win are 4-6

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 4-6
Before playing New Jersey are 4-6
After playing Cleveland are 4-6
After a loss are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
Toronto is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Chicago
Toronto is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Chicago
Toronto is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Chicago
Toronto is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Chicago
Chicago is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Chicago's last 6 games at home
Chicago is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games when playing at home against Toronto
Chicago is 17-8 SU in its last 25 games when playing Toronto

Next up:
Toronto home to Minnesota, Tuesday, December 8
Chicago home to New Jersey, Tuesday, December 8


Utah Jazz vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

The Utah Jazz and the Minnesota Timberwolves will both be trying to pick up a win on Saturday when they battle at Target Center.

The Jazz exploded to an 18-point lead and went on to defeat the Pacers 96-87 on Friday. The Jazz covered the 8-point spread, while the 183 points went UNDER the posted total of 210.

Carlos Boozer poured in a game-high 35 points with 13 rebounds for a double-double in leading the way.

Al Jefferson had 20 points and 14 rebounds for a double-double in the Timberwolves' 98-89 loss to the Hornets on Friday. The Timberwolves were 10-point underdogs in that game, while the 187 points went UNDER the posted total of 199.5.

Current streak:
Utah has won 4 straight games.
Minnesota has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Utah: 11-7 SU, 9-9 ATS
Minnesota: 2-17 SU, 7-11-1 ATS

Utah most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 9-1
Before playing San Antonio are 5-5
After playing Indiana are 4-6
After a win are 5-5

Minnesota most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 3-7
Before playing Toronto are 4-6
After playing New Orleans are 3-7
After a loss are 1-9

A few trends to consider:
Utah is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Utah's last 6 games when playing Minnesota
Utah is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Minnesota
The total has gone OVER in 10 of Utah's last 14 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Minnesota's last 6 games when playing Utah
The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Minnesota's last 14 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Minnesota's last 7 games when playing at home against Utah
Minnesota is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Utah

Next up:
Utah home to San Antonio, Monday, December 7
Minnesota at Toronto, Tuesday, December 8


Denver Nuggets vs. San Antonio Spurs

The fans at AT&T Center will be treated to a game between the Denver Nuggets and the San Antonio Spurs when they take their seats on Saturday.

Six players reached double figures as the Nuggets defeated the Heat 114-96 on Thursday. The Nuggets covered the 9-point spread, while the combined 210 points went UNDER the posted total of 211.

Nene Hilario had 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists to lead the Nuggets. Michael Beasley added 17 points in the win.

The Spurs failed in a comeback as they lost 90-83 to the Celtics on Thursday as a pick'em. That game's combined score went UNDER the posted total of 188.

DeJuan Blair collected a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds in that contest.

Current streak:
Denver has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Denver: 14-5 SU, 11-8 ATS
San Antonio: 9-7 SU, 8-8 ATS

Denver most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 5-5
Before playing Philadelphia are 4-6
After playing Miami are 2-8
After a win are 6-4

San Antonio most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 6-4
Before playing Utah are 5-5
After playing Boston are 5-5
After a loss are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Denver's last 9 games when playing on the road against San Antonio
Denver is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Denver's last 5 games when playing San Antonio
The total has gone UNDER in 11 of Denver's last 15 games when playing San Antonio
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of San Antonio's last 9 games when playing at home against Denver
San Antonio is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
San Antonio is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of San Antonio's last 5 games when playing Denver

Next up:
Denver at Philadelphia, Monday, December 7
San Antonio at Utah, Monday, December 7


Atlanta Hawks vs. Dallas Mavericks

The Atlanta Hawks and the Dallas Mavericks will both be trying to pick up a win on Saturday when they battle at American Airlines Center.

The Hawks were upset 114-107 by the Knicks last time out as 11-point favorites. The 221 points made it OVER the posted total of 215.5.

Joe Johnson collected 28 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in a losing effort.

The Mavericks were upset 98-82 by the Grizzlies last time out as a 6-point favorite. That game's 180 points went UNDER the posted total of 204.5.

Jason Terry collected 18 points for the Mavericks, and Dirk Nowitzki had 16 in the loss.

Team records:
Atlanta: 13-6 SU, 13-6 ATS
Dallas: 14-6 SU, 12-8 ATS

Atlanta most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 3-7
Before playing Chicago are 7-3
After playing New York are 5-5
After a loss are 6-4

Dallas most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 5-5
Before playing Phoenix are 7-3
After playing Memphis are 8-2
After a loss are 8-2

A few trends to consider:
Atlanta is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Dallas
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta's last 5 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta's last 5 games when playing on the road against Dallas
Atlanta is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games
Dallas is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Atlanta
Dallas is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Dallas's last 5 games when playing at home against Atlanta
Dallas is 16-5 SU in its last 21 games when playing Atlanta

Next up:
Atlanta home to Chicago, Wednesday, December 9
Dallas home to Phoenix, Tuesday, December 8


Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns

The Sacramento Kings and the Phoenix Suns will meet on the court at US Airways Center on Saturday in a battle of division rivals.

Tyreke Evans netted 26 points with five rebounds and six assists as the Kings defeated the Pacers 110-105 on Wednesday. The Kings covered the 2-point spread, while the 215 points went as a PUSH against the posted total of 215.

Jason Thompson added 22 points for the Kings, and Spencer Hawes chipped in with 21 in the win.

Channing Frye tossed in a game-high 22 points in the Suns' 107-90 loss to the Cavaliers on Wednesday as a 7.5-point underdog. The teams played UNDER the posted total of 212.5.

Current streak:
Sacramento has won 4 straight games.
Phoenix has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Sacramento: 9-8 SU, 12-5 ATS
Phoenix: 14-5 SU, 12-7 ATS

Sacramento most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 4-6
Before playing Miami are 1-9
After playing Indiana are 5-5
After a win are 6-4

Phoenix most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 5-5
Before playing LA Lakers are 8-2
After playing Cleveland are 6-4
After a loss are 7-3

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

Next up:
Sacramento home to Miami, Sunday, December 6
Phoenix at LA Lakers, Sunday, December 6


Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

The Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers will both be gunning for a victory on Saturday when they meet at Rose Garden.

The Rockets dominated the fourth quarter and came back for a 111-109 victory over the Warriors on Thursday. The Rockets failed to cover the 2.5-point spread, while the 220 points fell UNDER the posted total of 221.

Carl Landry shot 8-for-10 from the field with 22 points and nine rebounds for the Rockets.

Brandon Roy poured in 25 points for Portland in its 107-100 loss to Miami on Tuesday night.

Miami cashed as 7-point road underdogs, while the game played OVER the 184-point total listed by sportsbooks.

Current streak:
Houston has won 3 straight games.
Portland has lost 3 straight games.

Team records:
Houston: 11-8 SU, 11-8 ATS
Portland: 12-8 SU, 10-10 ATS

Houston most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 7-3
Before playing Cleveland are 7-3
After playing Golden State are 4-6
After a win are 4-6

Portland most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 4-6
Before playing New York are 4-6
After playing Miami are 4-6
After a loss are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
Houston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Houston is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Houston's last 6 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Houston's last 6 games when playing Portland
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Portland's last 6 games when playing Houston
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Portland's last 5 games
Portland is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Houston
Portland is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games at home

Next up:
Houston home to Cleveland, Wednesday, December 9
Portland at New York, Monday, December 7


Indiana Pacers vs. Los Angeles Clippers

The Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Clippers will both be trying to pick up a win on Saturday when they battle at STAPLES Center.

The Pacers were defeated 96-87 by the Jazz on Friday as an 8-point underdog. That game's 183 points went UNDER the posted total of 210.

Danny Granger tossed in 26 points with eight rebounds.

The Clippers were defeated 102-85 by the Rockets last time out as a 2.5-point underdog. The 187 points went UNDER the posted total of 193.

Baron Davis had 20 points for the Clippers, and Al Thornton collected 19 in the loss.

Current streak:
Indiana has lost 4 straight games.

Team records:
Indiana: 6-11 SU, 7-10 ATS
Los Angeles: 8-11 SU, 6-13 ATS

Indiana most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 3-7
Before playing Portland are 6-4
After playing Utah are 5-5
After a loss are 2-8

Los Angeles most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 3-7
Before playing Orlando are 4-6
After playing Houston are 4-6
After a loss are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Indiana's last 11 games when playing LA Clippers
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Indiana's last 5 games when playing on the road against LA Clippers
Indiana is 11-4 SU in their last 15 games when playing on the road against LA Clippers
Indiana is 18-7 SU in their last 25 games when playing LA Clippers
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the LA Clippers last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of the LA Clippers last 7 games
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of the LA Clippers last 11 games when playing Indiana
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the LA Clippers last 5 games when playing at home against Indiana

Next up:
Indiana home to Portland, Wednesday, December 9
LA Clippers home to Orlando, Tuesday, December 8


Orlando Magic vs. Golden State Warriors

The Orlando Magic and the Golden State Warriors will both be gunning for a victory on Saturday when they meet at Oracle Arena.

Rashard Lewis poured in 20 points with 11 rebounds for a double-double in leading the Magic to a 118-104 victory over the Knicks on Wednesday. The Magic covered the 12.5-point spread, and the combined score made it OVER the posted total of 208.5.

Dwight Howard also had a double-double with 19 pints and 10 rebounds in that win.

The Warriors were defeated 111-109 by the Rockets last time out as a 2.5-point underdog. The 220 points fell UNDER the posted total of 221.

Vladimir Radmanovic had 20 points with eight rebounds and six assists for the Warriors.

Current streak:
Orlando has won 4 straight games.
Golden State has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Orlando: 15-4 SU, 12-7 ATS
Golden State: 6-12 SU, 10-8 ATS

Orlando most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 6-4
Before playing LA Clippers are 6-4
After playing New York are 6-4
After a win are 7-3

Golden State most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 5-5
Before playing Oklahoma City are 5-5
After playing Houston are 5-5
After a loss are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Orlando is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Orlando is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Golden State
Orlando is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games
Orlando is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Golden State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Golden State's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Golden State's last 5 games when playing Orlando
The total has gone OVER in 12 of Golden State's last 16 games when playing at home against Orlando

Next up:
Orlando at LA Clippers, Tuesday, December 8
Golden State at Oklahoma City, Monday, December 7

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 12/5

Trend Report - Saturday
By Ed Meyer

76ers at Bobcats - The League is 11-0 ATS (9.2 ppg) since December 29, 2008 as a road dog with at least one day of rest after a double digit loss in which they shot at least 50% from the field. The Sixers are 9-0 ATS (8.4 ppg) since December 17, 1995 on the road with two or more days of rest after a game on the road in which they shot at least 50% from the field. The 76ers are 0-7 ATS (-7.1 ppg) since April 16, 2008 on the road after a game in which the percentage of their baskets that were assisted was at least ten percentage points lower than their season-to-date average. The Bobcats are 6-0 ATS (7.9 ppg) since November 27, 2004 at home after a loss in which they allowed less than 40% from the field.

Raptors at Bulls - The Raptors are 11-0 ATS (12.4 ppg) since December 03, 2005 on the road off a win of four points or fewer in which they held a double digit lead. The League is 0-10 ATS (-10.7 ppg) since December 08, 2006 on the road with no rest off an overtime win as an away dog. The Bulls are 0-8 ATS (-12.1 ppg) since March 17, 2008 when seeking revenge for a loss in which they led at the half.
   
Pacers at Clippers - The Pacers are 6-0 ATS (6.6 ppg) since April 16, 2008 after a game on the road in which they had five or fewer offensive rebounds. The Clippers are 0-9 ATS (-10.9 ppg) since November 08, 1999 with two or more days of rest after a game at home in which they has more than 10 refereed turnovers.

Hawks at Mavericks - The Hawks are 0-8 ATS (-11.3 ppg) since March 03, 2001 as a road dog with no rest off a home loss in which they led at the end of the third quarter. The Hawks are 8-0 ATS (7.3 ppg) since March 31, 2008 with no rest after a game in which they had an assist to turnover ratio of at least two. The Mavericks are 7-0 ATS (10.0 ppg) since February 27, 1999 with no rest after a double digit road loss in which their DPS was minus 15 points or less. The Mavericks are 7-0 ATS (11.9 ppg) since April 29, 2008 after a double digit loss in which they shot less than 40% from the field.

Nuggets at Spurs - The Nuggets are 0-6 ATS (-8.5 ppg) since March 12, 2006 as a road dog with at most one day of rest after a win in which they shot at least ten three-pointers and made at least half of them. The Spurs are 8-0 ATS (9.9 ppg) since April 29, 1999 as a favorite after a loss in which they had at least 20 offensive rebounds. The Spurs are 6-0 ATS (14.8 ppg) since November 17, 2006 as a favorite with at most one day of rest off a home loss that broke at least a three-game winning streak.

Kings at Suns - The Kings are 0-8 ATS (-11.0 ppg) since January 16, 2008 as a dog with at least one day of rest after a game in which they shot at least ten three-pointers and made at least half of them. The Suns are 0-7 ATS (-6.1 ppg) since October 30, 2003 as a favorite after a game in which they had at least 10 shots blocked. The Suns are 6-0 ATS (14.8 ppg) since December 05, 2006 at home versus the Kings.

Jazz at Timberwolves - The Timberwolves are 0-8 ATS (-14.6 ppg) since November 10, 2007 as a dog with no rest after a loss in which they scored less than 15% of their points from the free throw line. The Timberwolves are 0-6 ATS (-6.6 ppg) since November 15, 2008 as a dog off a road loss in which they led by 10+ points.

Rockets at Trailblazers - The Magic are 0-7-1 ATS (-9.1 ppg) since March 08, 1996 as a favorite with two or more days of rest after a game in which they shot at least 55% from the field. The Magic are 5-0 ATS (7.2 ppg) since December 10, 2004 on the road versus the Warriors.

Magic at Warriors - The Warriors are 9-0-1 ATS (11.5 ppg) since February 27, 2002 with at most one day of rest off a loss as a home dog in which they led at the end of the third quarter. The League is 7-0 ATS (11.6 ppg) since November 29, 2008 at home after a home loss in which they had at least 10 shots blocked.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 12/5

NBA RoundUp for 12/5
By Dan Bebe

Bobcats/Sixers - Charlotte laying 4.5 at home with a total of 188. Well, we all know what happened to Charlotte. They lost to the Nets. So, today, we find out if this team is the type that plays better when they're angry, or spirals out of control. I'm inclined to believe they'll play well today, returning home where Charlotte is significantly more dangerous. In fact, this team has still won only one road game all season (they're 1-8 away from home), but have posted a more impressive 6-3 home mark, and have won their last 3 at home. Still, Charlotte has lost 2 in a row, played last night, and have to tackle another underachieving, hungry team. Philadelphia has lost 8 games in a row, this is the 4th game of their current road trip (which ends tonight), and the Sixers have done the unthinkable and signed Allen Iverson to try to help FIX problems on the team. I shudder at the thought. There's some value with both teams in this one, given Charlotte's back-to-back sad losses and the Sixers' long losing streak, but when push comes to shove, I just feel Charlotte's home/road split is the most important factor in this game, and I think the Bobcats have a nice chance to cover. Lean to Charlotte, and lean to the Over since Philly's been playing zero defense, though this game is definitely not a sure thing.

Bulls/Raptors - Chicago by 5.5 with a total of 207. Neither team is in a good spot on this one. Both played last night, and while the Raptors finally won a game and the Bulls continued to lose, both should be tired, Toronto had to come from farther away, and had to go to OT to beat the Wizards last night. Still, with the way the Bulls have been playing, it's tough to call them a better play in this one. Chicago has lost 6 of 7 games, though all 6 of those have been on the road. The Bulls are 5-1 at home, 2-9 on the road, and one of the worst teams ATS in the NBA at 5-11-1. Yikes, what a choice in this one. The best pick might be the Under. Looking at the numbers, Chicago's final score in home games happens to be in the 176 neighborhood. Obviously, we can't expect this game to be that low-scoring, but with the Raptors and Bulls both coming off games last night, Toronto clearly upset that their defense has been so lacking lately, we might be in a prime spot to capitalize on one team that's just not very good on offense (Chicago), and another that's desperately trying to keep games from getting into the 130's, because, well, they lost all of those. I lean slightly to the Raptors on the side, and slightly to the Under on the total.

Timberwolves/Jazz - Jazz laying 7.5 on the road with a total of 197. Again, both teams played last night, and again, one team won and the other lost. Utah is on a vicious tear, but the tear has been entirely at home. They've won and covered 4 straight, and they took 5 of 6 on that homestand, but now suddenly have to try to win on the road, where they're just 3-4 on the year. Getting into the numbers, the average margin of victory/loss at the end of a home game, is +7.5 for Utah, and -1.7 on the road, a split of over 9 points. This might be a tough one to cover. That being said, we need to remember who the opponent is. The Wolves are a robust 2-17 this season, losing last night in New Orleans by 9 points, right on the final spread (though they did cover against the opening line), and now have to fly home to host the Jazz. Again, it's tough to pick a side in this one, since both clubs should be fatigued, so again I wonder if the Under isn't the most obvious solution.

Spurs/Nuggets - San Antonio by 3 with a total of 206. Well, given that the Spurs are off a loss and the Nuggets are off 2 colossal beatdowns (and a nice little 6-of-7 win streak), it's no surprise the public opened by grabbing the Nuggets with points. We have to remember, though, that Denver, while still a very good team on the road, are not the same as when they're at home. The Nuggets are 8-1 in Colorado, 5-4 everywhere else, winning home games by 14 points on average, and road games by just 2, so there's a huge split there. I've seen the initial move in this game is indeed down from 3.5 to 3, so perhaps the line isn't a trap, but we'll take as many damn hours as we need to determine the truth in this one. The Spurs are definitely starting to play better, but ran into a buzz-saw in playing the Celtics on TNT. Boston loves playing on the road, I'd say significantly more than playing at home, almost as though they set a challenge to themselves to shut up opposing fans and really ruin things for whatever city they fly to next. But, we shouldn't forget that the Spurs had won 5 in a row before the loss to Boston, and it's pretty clear that defensively, they're improving, and that's always been the key to San Antonio's success. The Spurs are another team with a pronounced home/road split, so that's something to take into account, as well. Very tough game to cap, no leans as of yet.

Suns/Kings - Suns by 11 with a total of 227. That total already tells you everything you need to know about this one; it's going to be mayhem. Phoenix returns home from a 4-game road trip to host the Kings, the upstart of the Pacific. Normally, the first game home is a fade spot, but I'm not so sure it's applicable on this one, since Phoenix had both Thursday and Friday off to rest up after the roadie and get set for a very tough stretch. The MORE important aspect of Phoenix's schedule that we need to pay attention to is their game tomorrow. After tackling the Kings tonight, the Suns get to board a plane to Los Angeles for a Sunday night rematch with the Lakers. Yes, the Kings are a better team than most gave them credit for, but you just know a few minutes of those 2 off-days were spent trying to figure out how to get some points against the Lakers monster frontcourt. These look-ahead spots are often devastating, as we saw last night with both Atlanta and Dallas getting smacked in the mouth while potentially preparing to play each other. Still, this line being as high as it is makes me think the oddsmakers aren't that concerned about the look-ahead, even though the Suns have Lakers, Dallas, Orlando and Denver coming up after this one. One must assume then, that the Suns realize they need to win this one against the Kings, since the next few are going to really put them through the ringer. Slight lean to Sactown, and no lean on the huge total.

Mavericks/Hawks - Mavericks by 3.5 with a total of 204.5. This is clearly the game both teams were looking forward to yesterday, since we saw two very good teams get clobbered by two not-so-great teams. The Hawks got beat at home by the Knicks (a game we picked correctly), now take their show to Dallas for a square-off with one of the NBA's better teams. The Mavs got beat in Memphis while looking forward to getting home and hosting the Hawks. In my opinion, Dallas is the more consistent team right now. Yes, they lost in Memphis, and got crushed in Cleveland a few games back, but overall, you know what to expect from this team, and we know from yesterday that they have been game-planning for Atlanta. The Hawks, meanwhile, lost at home to New York, and are actually just 2-4 in their last 6 games. They're still 13-6 ATS, but they're coming back to Earth, and are probably getting a bit more credit than they're due, given some recent struggles. The value in this one is with the Mavericks, and again, with both teams coming off a game last night and looking to prove something against one of the better teams in the League, I have to lean to the Under, though the total has already dropped a few points.

Trailblazers/Rockets - This line is OFF. Lamarcus Aldridge remains day-to-day, so it's not clear if he'll be in there, but what is perfectly clear is that the Blazers are in disarray. Portland has lost 3 straight, including home losses to the Heat and the Grizzlies, not acceptable if you're trying to make the jump into the NBA's top tier. The Rockets, meanwhile, just keep rolling along, not really destroying anyone, but playing well enough to win on most nights, winning 3 straight, and kind of moseying their way to a 10-8 record. I also love when Houston can put Shane Battier on the opposing team's best player, in this case, Brandon Roy. Lamarcus is really the key to this game, since without him, the Rockets match up with the Blazers just fine. These teams have already split 2 games this year, but Portland was playing much better in those two meetings, and now suddenly can't remember how to defend. Without knowing the line, I'd guess the Blazers will be favored by 4 or 5 with a total in the low 190's, and I'd lean to the Rockets and the Over, but let's wait and see.

Clippers/Pacers - This line is OFF, as well. Not my idea of a fine game to watch, but perhaps we'll see some value when the line comes out. Indiana has lost 4 straight, and 8 of 9 (both SU and ATS), so this team is obviously in a tailspin. They fell in Utah last night, and had to immediately jet to Los Angeles to take on a Clippers team that desperately needs Eric Gordon to get healthy and stay that way. This wager tonight, in fact, might depend on Gordon's health. I know the line certainly will. I really like the Clippers' ability to spread the floor with Gordon in there, and his presence frees up easier shots for guys like Chris Kaman, and opens the lane for Baron Davis. I'm not saying it's a guaranteed play on the Clippers, because, let's be real here, they're still the Clippers, but they've been playing better aside from a silly loss to the Rockets, and with the right pieces, they can win a few games. I expect to see the Clippers open as very small favorites with a total near 200.

Warriors/Magic - Warriors getting 9 points at home with a total of 221. That is an absolute ton of points to give Golden State, and yet we'll probably still see the public all over Orlando because of the marquee names. This feels like a good line to watch throughout the day, since the initial push was up, which makes me think we're seeing a fair line in the eyes of bettors and books alike. Orlando is a very tough road team, but flying across the nation is never easy. They have, however, won 3 in a row, and have dealt with something of a funny schedule by just dominating their competition. The Warriors lost a nailbiter to Houston at home, a team that always give them fits, but I still think Golden State is a tough team to beat in Oakland. They run the ball like nobody's business, and if Monta Ellis is feeling better (word was that he was a bit under the weather in the Houston game), doesn't turn the ball over 9 times, the Warriors probably win that game. In any case, right now I get the feeling that Orlando wins this one, but has to work for it, and I lean to the Warriors early. That total is a monster, and I'd avoid it.

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