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NBA News and Notes Friday 1/15

NBA News and Notes Friday 1/15

Friday's Best NBA Bets

Orlando Magic at Portland Trail Blazers (N/A)


Things are starting to get ugly in the Magic Kingdom.

After Orlando lost to the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night, the team’s fifth loss in the past seven games, the finger pointing began. Perhaps the biggest wagging sausage is directed at small forward Rashard Lewis.

Lewis has been almost invisible in recent games. He scored just six points on 3-of-9 shooting against the Nuggets, including going 0-for-3 from beyond the arc. Over the last seven contests, Lewis is averaging under 10 points per game – scoring in single figures five times.

“Every night in order for me to have a good game I feel like I have to make every shot, every last one of them because I’m not getting very many of them,” Lewis told reporters. “Not to blame it on me not getting shots because we’ve still got to play defense, but we’re just not getting in a good offensive rhythm as a team.”

Lewis isn’t solely to blame for the team’s troubles. In the loss to Denver, the Magic turned the ball over 19 times and gave up constant easy buckets to the Nuggets, who finished shooting nearly 56 percent from the field.

Orlando is 12-9 on the road this season and has covered in 10 of those 21 contests.

Pick: Trail Blazers

Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers (N/A)

No one can question Kobe Bryant’s heart after the scoring dynamo battled a broken finger and back spasms in recent games.

Bryant, who played despite an aching back, knocked down a game-winning shot for the Lakers in a 100-95 win over the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday. He took just one shot and played only 11 minutes in the first half but played the entire second half, scoring 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting.

“I asked Kobe before the game, ‘Are you all right?’ He said, ‘No, I might not make it.’ So everybody said, ‘We’ve got to step it up.’,” Ron Artest told the Orange County Register.

“In the second half, I said, ‘Are you OK?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I’m good now.’ But Dallas didn’t know that, so they played him 1-on-1 - and he hit that big shot.”

Bryant’s efforts have helped carry the Lakers during the absence of star forward Pau Gasol, who is questionable for Friday. His injury has also given Los Angeles a bit of value towards the line – which is something Lakers bettors aren’t used to.

Bettors should expect some Kobe updates before tipoff Friday, but can be sure that No. 24 will put his body on the line again.

Pick: Lakers

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Game Of The Day: Magic at Trail Blazers
By Ted Sevransky

Orlando Magic at Portland Trail Blazers (No current pointspread)

No Magic road

Last year the Orlando Magic were the second best road team in the NBA, finishing with a 27-14 straight up mark. No team had a better pointspread mark away from home.

The trend continued right though the playoffs. Despite two losses at the Staples Center in the NBA Finals, Orlando finished with six SU road wins in the postseason, tied with LA for most in the league.

The road hasn’t been as kind to the Magic in 2010. Orlando comes into its matchup against the Blazers having lost seven of its last nine road games following an early season string of eight straight road wins. Orlando was blown out in the second half at Denver on Wednesday night after getting outscored by 21 points in the second half.

Chemistry concerns

The Magic have a very different look right now compared to their Finals team from last June. Orlando GM Otis Smith spent the offseason wheeling and dealing, and the new faces aren’t gelling together just yet.

Hedo Turkoglu, Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and Tony Battie all moved. Newcomers Vince Carter, Jason Williams, Matt Barnes, Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass are still figuring out their places in Stan Van Gundy’s rotation, a situation made worse by a series of injuries.

“It’s a totally different team,” All-Star center Dwight Howard told reporters. “You have a whole different starting lineup. There are three guys that were here last year in the starting lineup…. It just can’t happen overnight.”

The core group of Howard, Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson have only played together in 10 of Orlando’s first 39 games. Carter isn’t likely to play Friday night because of lingering effects of a shoulder injury he suffered last week.

If Carter does suit up, the recent talk out of Orlando indicates that he’ll be coming off the bench for the first time in his long career.

Injury-riddled nightmare

The Magic have nothing to complain about when it comes to injuries if we compare them with the Blazers. No team in the NBA has suffered more injuries than Portland, and they just won’t stop.

The Blazers have been playing without Nicholas Batum, Travis Outlaw, Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla; a quartet that averaged more than 90 minutes per game for the team last year. Juwan Howard, who’s on the wrong side of 35, has been forced into the starting center role.

Portland just got Rudy Fernandez back after a month long absence in a 12 point win and cover against the Bucks on Wednesday. But in that same game, LaMarcus Aldridge rolled his ankle and is listed as probable for Friday night.

To make matters even worse for the Blazers, their All Star and leading scorer Brandon Roy underwent an MRI on Thursday after injuring his hamstring on Wednesday. The MRI revealed no structural damage, but Roy is still listed as doubtful, not expected to suit up against Orlando.

Without Roy in the lineup in the fourth quarter, Milwaukee cut a 30-point lead down to the 12-point final margin of victory.

Not so Rosey Garden

Portland is coming off its best shooting night of the season, hitting better than 60 percent from the floor against the Bucks on Wednesday. But those types of performances have been the exception, not the rule in 2010.

With one more loss at the Rose Garden the Blazers will eclipse their loss total at home from last year before the halfway point of the new campaign.

Portland has also struggled to beat the Magic in any venue. Orlando has won three straight at the Rose Garden, joining the Cavs as the only opposing team to own a three-game winning streak in Portland.

The Magic beat the Blazers 92-83 in Orlando last month, their sixth victory in the last seven meetings between these two squads.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Friday 1/15

Friday Night Card
By Kevin Rogers

The Friday NBA card is loaded with 13 games on the slate with seven interconference battles taking center-stage. Several of the intriguing matchups include Phoenix heading to Atlanta and Orlando continuing its road trip in Portland against the Blazers.

Spurs at Bobcats - 7:05 PM EST

San Antonio continues to stay on fire, winning 15 of the last 19 games, as the Spurs head to Charlotte to take on the Bobcats. Larry Brown's team continues a season-high six-game homestand after beating the Grizzlies and Rockets.

Charlotte has been one of the best home teams in the NBA, going 14-4 SU and 11-7 ATS, while winning each of the last five. The Bobcats are just 3-3 SU/ATS as a home underdog, with losses to the Magic, Blazers, and Celtics.

San Antonio is coming off a pair of solid wins on a back-to-back, knocking off the Lakers at home followed by an overtime victory at Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The Spurs' win over the Thunder came without Tim Duncan in the lineup, but rookie DeJuan Blair stepped up with a 28-point, 21-rebound effort.

The Spurs have owned the Bobcats over the years, going 9-1 SU and 7-2-1 ATS, including a 104-85 victory at the AT&T Center on December 11.

Kings at Sixers - 7:05 PM EST

Sacramento begins a six-game East Coast swing in Philadelphia against the Sixers. The Kings have hit the skids lately, dropping eight of ten games, while going 2-7-1 ATS. The good news for Paul Westphal's club is leading scorer Kevin Martin is expected to return to the lineup after missing two months with a wrist injury.

The Sixers are coming off a one-point home loss to the Knicks, moving Philadelphia's record to 3-15 ATS at the Wachovia Center. Eddie Jordan's squad has been playing better as of late, compiling a 5-4 SU/ATS mark, including a 116-106 victory at Arco Arena on December 30. However, the Kings were playing without Martin and star rookie Tyreke Evans in that game.

Sacramento has struggled mightily at home over the last month, but the road is where Kings' backers make their money. The Kings are 8-2-1 ATS the last 12 as a road underdog, with three losses by two points or less.

Suns at Hawks - 8:00 PM EST

Phoenix and Atlanta hook up for the first time this season, as the Suns try to bounce back after blowing a 24-point lead in a loss at Indiana. The Hawks have found their way following a four-game skid by winning four of five.

Mike Woodson's team has responded well playing a team off a defeat, especially at home. Atlanta is 9-3 SU/ATS in that spot, including a 4-1 SU/ATS mark as a single-digit favorite. The Hawks are 14-5 ATS at home, with a 4-1 SU/ATS ledger against the Western Conference.

The Suns are a strong 11-3 SU following a loss, but are 3-6 ATS the last nine on the road. Phoenix is 8-2 SU the last ten meetings against Atlanta, however, the Suns have been listed as an underdog only once in this span, a 104-99 victory over the Hawks at Philips Arena last season.

Hornets at Pistons - 8:00 PM EST

Detroit will go for its second straight victory after a 13-game losing streak, hosting New Orleans at the Palace. The Pistons beat the Wizards, 99-90 in D.C. on Tuesday, the first win for Detroit since December 12. The Hornets have been on fire recently, winning seven of eight while covering six times.

You would think during the 13-game skid that the Pistons would manage even a handful of covers, but that wasn't the case for John Kuester's team. Detroit cashed in a SU loss only one time, in a 98-93 setback at Dallas as 8 ½-point 'dogs. The Palace isn't the home-court advantage it used to be, with the Pistons going 0-5 SU/ATS the last five.

The Hornets began the season 1-12 SU on the road, but New Orleans has played better away from the Big Easy recently, going 3-1 SU/ATS. The Hornets have cleaned up against teams in Detroit's class, picking up victories over the Clippers, Wizards, and Nets. However, New Orleans has also knocked off Utah, Oklahoma City, Miami, and Houston in this stretch, as the Hornets are finally turning the corner in the Western Conference playoff race.

Heat at Rockets - 8:30 PM EST

Miami continues a six-game trip, as the Heat is done with games on the West Coast, heading to Houston. The Heat ended a two-game skid with a 115-102 victory at Golden State on Wednesday, the sixth straight game Miami has been listed as an underdog. Houston is coming off a thrilling triple-overtime home win over Minnesota, but the Rockets failed to cover as 9 ½-point 'chalk.'

The Heat is just 3-7 SU/ATS since November 25 off a victory, while going 2-4 SU/ATS the last six on the road. Miami is a solid 9-5 ATS as an underdog of six points or less, including a 5-2 ATS mark on the road.

The Rockets, despite the non-cover against the Wolves, are 7-1 ATS the last eight at the Toyota Center. Houston has struggled to cash recently, going 3-8 ATS the previous eleven games, but seven of those losses came on the road.

Houston has won five of the last six meetings in this series, including a pair of victories last season as favorites over Miami.

Magic at Blazers - 10:30 PM EST

Orlando limps into the Rose Garden off a 115-97 setback at Denver on Wednesday. The Magic has played each of the last three games without Vince Carter, who is nursing a shoulder injury. The Blazers have been very inconsistent as of late, going 4-4 SU and 3-5 ATS since a Christmas Night victory over the Nuggets.

Portland has fought hard despite numerous injuries this season, but may be without Brandon Roy against Orlando. The Blazers' star suffered a hamstring injury in Wednesday's blowout of the Bucks, and is listed as 'questionable' for Friday. The only game Portland has played without Roy was a 98-94 victory at San Antonio on December 23 as 12-point 'dogs.

The Magic are 2-7 ATS the last nine on the road, while dropping games to the Jazz, Suns, and Nuggets in this span. Orlando is 6-1 SU the last seven meetings against Portland, including a 92-83 victory over the Blazers at Amway Arena on December 19.

Bucks at Warriors - 10:30 PM EST

The last time Brandon Jennings faced Golden State, the rookie dropped a season-best 55 points on the Warriors in a 129-125 victory at the Bradley Center. That seemed like a long time ago, as the Bucks started the season 8-3 SU/ATS, but are 7-18 SU since November 23.

Milwaukee is 1-4 ATS and 0-5 SU the last five games as a road underdog, taking on a Golden State club coming off consecutive home losses to Cleveland and Miami. The Warriors are a profitable 7-3 ATS the last ten at Oracle Arena, while going 8-2 ATS the last ten overall.

Three of the previous four meetings in Oakland have finished 'under' the total, as the Warriors have easily covered as home favorites the last two meetings.

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Phoenix (24-15, 21-18 ATS) at Atlanta (25-13, 26-12 ATS)

The Suns resume a four-game, six-day Eastern Conference road swing with a stop at Philips Arena for a showdown with the Hawks, who have slipped to second place in the Southeast Division.

Phoenix continued its inconsistent play with Wednesday’s 122-114 loss at Indiana as a four-point favorite in the first game of the road trip. The Suns, who blew a 24-point lead to the Pacers, are just 10-12 SU and ATS over their past 22 games, including 1-8 SU and 3-6 ATS on the road. Phoenix is once again on fire offensively, scoring in triple digits in 11 consecutive games, including 113 or more seven times, but it has surrendered 103 or more points nine times during this 11-game stretch.

Atlanta improved to 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six outings with Wednesday’s 94-82 victory over the Wizards, barely cashing as an 11-point home chalk. The Hawks’ 4-2 run follows a four-game losing skid, and they’re now 15-4 SU and 14-5 ATS at Philips Arena, outscoring visitors by an average of 11.4 ppg (108.2-96.8). The SU winner has covered the spread in 35 of Atlanta’s 38 games this year, including the last seven in a row.

Phoenix swept the season series from Atlanta last year, but the teams split the cash with the Suns prevailing 107-102 as a 7½-point home chalk and 104-99 as a four-point road underdog. Phoenix has won 11 of the last 14 meetings (8-6 ATS), going 6-1 (4-3 ATS) in its last seven trips to Atlanta. The ‘dog is on a 5-2 ATS run in this rivalry.

The Suns have failed to cover in four of their last five games against Eastern Conference foes and they’re 5-13-1 ATS in their last 19 as an underdog of five to 10½ points (all on the road). But otherwise they’re on ATS upticks of 7-2 after a SU loss, 16-7 after a non-cover, 7-3 against winning teams and 5-1 on Friday. Atlanta, which has the best pointspread record in the NBA, is on ATS tears of 4-1 overall, 7-2 at home, 34-16-1 as a favorite, 25-9-1 as a home chalk, 5-0 when laying 5 to 10½ points, 17-5 against the Western Conference, 4-0 versus the Pacific Division and 4-0 when playing on one day of rest.

Phoenix has topped the total in eight of its last 11 overall, but otherwise is on “under” streaks of 9-3-1 on the road, 9-2-1 against Eastern Conference opponents, 12-2 against the Southeast Division, 5-1 as a road underdog and 13-5-1 after a non-cover. The Hawks are on a 12-5 “over” roll at home (all as a favorite), but the under is 4-0 in its last five after a SU victory. Also, five of the last seven meetings between these teams have stayed low.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


Oklahoma City (21-17, 22-16 ATS) at Dallas (25-13, 18-20 ATS)

Two teams coming off tough losses meet up at American Airlines Center, where the Mavericks host the Thunder, who tonight begin a stretch of playing five of six games on the road.

Oklahoma City rallied from a 19-point first-half deficit against San Antonio on Wednesday, but couldn’t finish off the comeback, falling 109-108 in overtime as a 1½-point home favorite. Kevin Durant poured in 35 points and Russell Westbrook (25 points, 13 assists) and Jeff Green (16 points, 10 rebounds) added double-doubles in the defeat. The Thunder have scored 108, 106 and 108 points in their last three contests after averaging 96.3 ppg in the previous four.

Dallas followed up Saturday’s 111-93 home loss to Utah as a 5½-point chalk with Wednesday’s 100-95 setback to the Lakers as a six-point favorite, the first time all season it has dropped consecutive games at American Airlines Center. The Mavs have struggled with consistency in recent weeks, going 7-6 SU and 5-8 ATS in their last 13, and they’ve scored in triple digits just once in their last seven games. Also, Dallas has cashed just once in its last 13 home contests, and it begins a five-game Eastern Conference road trip after tonight’s game.

The home team had won six straight meetings in this rivalry – with Oklahoma City going 5-0-1 ATS (all as an underdog) – before Dec. 16, when Dallas thumped the Thunder 100-86 as a two-point road favorite. Oklahoma City is still 3-0-1 ATS in its last four trips to Dallas, and the road team is 6-2-1 ATS in the last seven clashes.

The Thunder are 8-3 in their last 11 games, but they’ve followed up a five-game winning streak by splitting the last six. They’ve also followed up a five-game ATS winning run by going 2-5 ATS in the last seven, the team’s worst ATS stretch of the season. Still, Oklahoma City is a Top 5 moneymaker in the NBA, and it is on pointspread rolls of 5-1 on the road, 4-1 on Friday, 36-16 after a SU loss, 29-11 after a non-cover, 6-2 as a road underdog, 4-0 as a pup of five to 10½ points and 13-3 following a game in which it scored at least 100 points.

In addition to going 1-13 ATS in their last 14 home games, the Mavericks are in pointspread funks of 1-4 overall, 1-7 as a favorite, 1-11 as a favorite of five to 10½ points, 4-10 against Western Conference foes, 2-6 after a SU loss and 1-4 against winning teams.

For the Thunder, the over is on runs of 5-1 on Friday, 4-1 after a SU defeat, 15-6 after a non-cover and 23-7 as a road underdog of five to 10½ points, but the under is 8-3 in their last 11 Western Conference contests and 5-1 in their last six against the Southwest Division. Dallas is on “over” runs of 4-1 overall, 5-2 at home and 5-1 on Friday, but the under is 5-1 in its last six against Northwest Division opponents.

Lastly, five of the last six meetings in this series have stayed low, but 12 of the last 17 in Dallas have soared over the posted price.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OKLAHOMA CITY


Orlando (26-13, 20-19 ATS) at Portland (24-16, 20-19-1 ATS)

The Magic, in the midst of a four-game Western Conference road trip, play their third game in four nights when they visit the Rose Garden looking to upend the Blazers for a third straight time.

Orlando followed up Tuesday’s 109-88 rout of Sacramento as a four-point favorite – with the Magic outscoring the Kings 33-10 in the fourth quarter – with an ugly 115-97 loss in Denver on Wednesday, falling way short as a 5½-point road underdog. Orlando remains in first place in the Southeast Division, one half-game ahead of Atlanta, despite going 2-5 SU and ATS in its last seven games.

Portland had no trouble with Milwaukee on Wednesday, cruising 120-108 as a six-point home favorite, taking the foot off the gas after building a 97-71 lead after three quarters. The Blazers have dropped three of five SU and ATS, but are still on a solid 10-5 roll (8-6-1 ATS), including 7-3 at home (5-4-1 ATS).

The SU winner has covered the spread in each of the Magic’s last 11 games overall and each of its last 10 on the road, and the winner is 13-1 ATS in Portland’s last 14 games (8-1 ATS at home). Also, the winner has cashed in the last six meetings between these teams.

Orlando swept last year’s two meetings with the Blazers, winning 109-108 as a five-point road underdog and 92-83 as an 8½-point home chalk. The Magic have won six of the last seven and eight of the last 10 in this rivalry, going 7-2-1 ATS (5-1 ATS last six). They’re also 4-1 SU (3-1-1 ATS) in their last five trips to the Rose Garden

The Magic are on ATS streaks of 60-28-1 after a defeat, 20-7 after a double-digit loss and 11-5 after a non-cover, but most recently they’ve failed to cash in five of seven overall and four of five as a visitor. The Blazers are on pointspread tears of 11-2 on Friday and 5-1 against winning teams, but they’ve come up short of getting the cash in five of seven against Southeast Division foes.

It’s been all “unders” for Orlando lately, including 6-2 on the road, 6-0 on Friday, 4-0 when playing after one day of rest, 19-7 after a SU loss and 23-8 after a non-cover. Conversely, Portland carries on “over” streaks of 5-0 overall, 4-0 at home, 4-0 on Friday, 4-0 against the Eastern Conference, 4-0 when playing after one day of rest, 5-1 after a SU win, 4-0 after an ATS triumph and 6-2-1 against winning teams.

Lastly, five of the last seven Magic-Blazers battles in Portland have stayed low.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE

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San Antonio Spurs vs. Charlotte Bobcats

The fans at Time Warner Cable Arena will be treated to a game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Charlotte Bobcats when they take their seats on Friday.

DeJuan Blair poured in 28 points with 21 rebounds for a double-double and the Spurs pulled out a 109-108 overtime victory on Wednesday against the Thunder. The Spurs won that game as 3.5-point underdogs, while the 217 points sailed OVER the posted total of 193.

Tony Parker also had 28 points in the win, and George Hill chipped in with 16 points for the Spurs.

Stephen Jackson went for 43 points and eight rebounds to lead the Bobcats past the Rockets 102-94 on Tuesday night.

Charlotte covered as 2.5-point home favorites, while the teams played OVER the 190.5-point total listed by sportsbooks.

Current streak:
San Antonio has won 3 straight games.
Charlotte has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
San Antonio: 24-13 SU, 20-16-1 ATS
Charlotte: 17-19 SU, 22-14 ATS

San Antonio most recently:
When playing on Friday are 3-7
Before playing Memphis are 5-5
After playing Oklahoma City are 5-5
After a win are 7-3

Charlotte most recently:
When playing on Friday are 3-7
Before playing Phoenix are 5-5
After playing Houston are 2-8
After a win are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
San Antonio is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Charlotte
San Antonio is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Charlotte
San Antonio is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games on the road
San Antonio is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Charlotte is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Charlotte is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Charlotte's last 10 games when playing San Antonio
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Charlotte's last 5 games when playing at home against San Antonio

Next up:
San Antonio at Memphis, Saturday, January 16
Charlotte home to Phoenix, Saturday, January 16


Sacramento Kings vs. Philadelphia 76ers

The fans at Wachovia Center will be treated to a game between the Sacramento Kings and the Philadelphia 76ers when they take their seats on Friday.

Tyreke Evans dropped 18 points to lead Sacramento in its 109-88 loss to Orlando on Tuesday night.

Orlando covered as 4-point road favorites, while the teams played UNDER the 206.5-point total listed by oddsmakers.

The 76ers were clipped 93-92 by the Knicks last time out, as 2.5-point favorites. The teams played UNDER that game's posted total of 204.

Samuel Dalembert netted 12 points and collected 21 rebounds for a double-double in the loss.

Team records:
Sacramento: 15-22 SU, 19-16-2 ATS
Philadelphia: 12-26 SU, 16-22 ATS

Sacramento most recently:
When playing on Friday are 4-6
Before playing Washington are 5-5
After playing Orlando are 3-7
After a loss are 5-5

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Friday are 8-2
Before playing Minnesota are 7-3
After playing New York are 3-7
After a loss are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Sacramento's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Sacramento's last 5 games when playing Philadelphia
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Sacramento's last 6 games on the road
Sacramento is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia
Philadelphia is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing Sacramento
Philadelphia is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Sacramento
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 5 games when playing Sacramento
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 6 games when playing at home against Sacramento

Next up:
Sacramento at Washington, Saturday, January 16
Philadelphia at Minnesota, Monday, January 18


Phoenix Suns vs. Atlanta Hawks

The Phoenix Suns and the Atlanta Hawks will both be gunning for a victory on Friday when they meet at Philips Arena.

The Suns were upset 122-114 by the Pacers last time out, as 4.5-point favorites. That game's 236 points sailed OVER the posted total of 228.

Steve Nash tossed in 20 points and dished out nine assists in that loss.

The Hawks got out to a slow start before finishing off the Wizards 94-82 on Wednesday. The Hawks failed to cover the 11.5-point spread, while the 176 points went UNDER the posted total of 203.

Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 24 points and five rebounds, while Jamal Crawford tossed in 22 points with five rebounds.

Current streak:
Atlanta has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Phoenix: 24-15 SU, 21-17-1 ATS
Atlanta: 25-13 SU, 26-12 ATS

Phoenix most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Charlotte are 7-3
After playing Indiana are 6-4
After a loss are 8-2

Atlanta most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Oklahoma City are 6-4
After playing Washington are 6-4
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
Phoenix is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing on the road against Atlanta
Phoenix is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games when playing Atlanta
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Phoenix's last 11 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Phoenix's last 7 games when playing on the road against Atlanta
Atlanta is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
Atlanta is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Atlanta is 15-4 SU in its last 19 games at home
Atlanta is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 games at home

Next up:
Phoenix at Charlotte, Saturday, January 16
Atlanta home to Oklahoma City, Monday, January 18


Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The fans at FedExForum will be treated to a game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Memphis Grizzlies when they take their seats on Friday.

The Timberwolves were defeated 120-114 by the Rockets in triple overtime on Wednesday, as 9.5-point underdogs. That game's 234 points sailed OVER the posted total of 203.5.

Al Jefferson collected 26 points and 26 rebounds for a double-double in a losing effort.

Marc Gasol dropped 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lift the Grizzlies past the Clippers 104-102 on Tuesday night.

Memphis couldn't cover as 5-point home favorites, while the game played OVER the 199.5-point total listed by sportsbooks.

Current streak:
Minnesota has lost 3 straight games.

Team records:
Minnesota: 8-32 SU, 19-20-1 ATS
Memphis: 19-18 SU, 20-17 ATS

Minnesota most recently:
When playing on Friday are 1-9
Before playing Philadelphia are 3-7
After playing Houston are 1-9
After a loss are 3-7

Memphis most recently:
When playing on Friday are 4-6
Before playing San Antonio are 3-7
After playing LA Clippers are 3-7
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Minnesota's last 9 games on the road
Minnesota is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Memphis
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Minnesota's last 5 games when playing Memphis
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Minnesota's last 5 games when playing on the road against Memphis
Memphis is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Memphis's last 10 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Memphis's last 5 games when playing Minnesota
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Memphis's last 5 games when playing at home against Minnesota

Next up:
Minnesota home to Philadelphia, Monday, January 18
Memphis home to San Antonio, Saturday, January 16


Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks

Divisional bragging rights will be on the line on Friday when the Toronto Raptors and the New York Knicks meet at Madison Square Garden.

Chris Bosh had 27 points and 10 boards for Toronto in its 105-101 loss to Indiana on Monday night.

Indiana covered as 2-point home favorites, while the teams played UNDER the 216.5-point total set by sportsbooks.

David Lee poured in 24 points and hauled down nine rebounds to help the Knicks defeat the 76ers 93-92 on Wednesday. The Knicks won this game as 2.5-point underdogs, and the teams played UNDER the posted total of 204.

Wilson Chandler had 18 points for the Knicks, and Al Harrington added 17 off the bench in that win.

Current streak:
Toronto has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Toronto: 19-20 SU, 18-21 ATS
New York: 16-22 SU, 19-19 ATS

Toronto most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Dallas are 5-5
After playing Indiana are 3-7
After a loss are 4-6

New York most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Detroit are 3-7
After playing Philadelphia are 4-6
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Toronto's last 8 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Toronto's last 8 games
Toronto is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games
Toronto is 13-5 SU in its last 18 games when playing New York
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of New York's last 10 games at home
New York is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 11 of New York's last 15 games
New York is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games at home

Next up:
Toronto home to Dallas, Sunday, January 17
New York at Detroit, Saturday, January 16


Indiana Pacers vs. New Jersey Nets

The Indiana Pacers and the New Jersey Nets will both be gunning for a victory on Friday when they meet at Izod Center.

Danny Granger netted a game-high 33 points with eight rebounds on Wednesday, leading the Pacers to a 122-114 victory over the Suns. The Pacers won that game as 4.5-point underdogs, while the 236 points sailed OVER the posted total of 228.

Mike Dunleavy added 30 points in the win for the Pacers, and Troy Murphy had 14 rebounds.

The Nets were crushed 111-87 by the Celtics on Wednesday, as 8-point underdogs. That game's combined score made it OVER the posted total of 189.

Brook Lopez had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets.

Current streak:
Indiana has won 2 straight games.
New Jersey has lost 6 straight games.

Team records:
Indiana: 13-25 SU, 16-22 ATS
New Jersey: 3-35 SU, 13-24-1 ATS

Indiana most recently:
When playing on Friday are 4-6
Before playing New Orleans are 5-5
After playing Phoenix are 4-6
After a win are 4-6

New Jersey most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing LA Clippers are 3-7
After playing Boston are 1-9
After a loss are 1-9

A few trends to consider:
Indiana is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing New Jersey
Indiana is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing New Jersey
Indiana is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Indiana's last 5 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of New Jersey's last 5 games when playing Indiana
New Jersey is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games when playing at home against Indiana
The total has gone OVER in 15 of New Jersey's last 22 games when playing Indiana
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of New Jersey's last 6 games at home

Next up:
Indiana home to New Orleans, Saturday, January 16
New Jersey at LA Clippers, Monday, January 18


New Orleans Hornets vs. Detroit Pistons

The fans at The Palace of Auburn Hills will be treated to a game between the New Orleans Hornets and the Detroit Pistons when they take their seats on Friday.

The Hornets dominated in the second half and came away with a 108-94 victory over the Clippers on Wednesday. The Hornets covered the 7.5-point spread, and the 202 points made it OVER the posted total of 192.5.

Emeka Okafor netted 21 points with seven rebounds, and Peja Stojakovic added 20 points.

Charlie Villanueva drained 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds off the bench to lead the Pistons over the Wizards 99-90 on Tuesday night.

Detroit cashed as 5-point road underdogs, while the teams played UNDER the 199-point total set by sportsbooks.

Team records:
New Orleans: 20-17 SU, 18-19 ATS
Detroit: 12-25 SU, 16-20-1 ATS

New Orleans most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Indiana are 5-5
After playing LA Clippers are 4-6
After a win are 6-4

Detroit most recently:
When playing on Friday are 2-8
Before playing New York are 5-5
After playing Washington are 8-2
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
New Orleans is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of New Orleans's last 9 games on the road
New Orleans is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games
The total has gone UNDER in 14 of New Orleans's last 19 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Detroit's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 9 of Detroit's last 13 games when playing at home against New Orleans
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Detroit's last 6 games at home
Detroit is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing New Orleans

Next up:
New Orleans at Indiana, Saturday, January 16
Detroit home to New York, Saturday, January 16


Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls

The Washington Wizards and the Chicago Bulls will both be gunning for a victory on Friday when they meet at United Center.

The Wizards fell 94-82 to the Hawks on Wednesday as 11.5-point underdogs. That game's 176 points went UNDER the posted total of 203.

Antawn Jamison collected a double-double with 25 points and 19 rebounds.

The Bulls jumped out to an early lead and held on to upset the Celtics 96-83 on Thursday. The Bulls won the game as 6.5-point underdogs, while the 179 points went UNDER the posted total of 194.5.

Luol Deng had 25 points for the Bulls, and Derrick Rose chipped in with 17 points in the win.

Current streak:
Washington has lost 3 straight games.
Chicago has won 3 straight games.

Team records:
Washington: 12-25 SU, 13-24 ATS
Chicago: 17-20 SU, 17-18-2 ATS

Washington most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Sacramento are 4-6
After playing Atlanta are 5-5
After a loss are 4-6

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Friday are 6-4
Before playing Golden State are 3-7
After playing Boston are 4-6
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Washington's last 10 games when playing Chicago
Washington is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Chicago
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Washington's last 5 games when playing on the road against Chicago
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Washington's last 7 games
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Chicago's last 10 games when playing Washington
Chicago is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
Chicago is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Chicago's last 5 games at home

Next up:
Washington home to Sacramento, Saturday, January 16
Chicago at Golden State, Monday, January 18


Miami Heat vs. Houston Rockets

The Miami Heat and the Houston Rockets will both be gunning for a victory on Friday when they meet at Toyota Center.

The Heat pulled ahead in the second quarter and went on to defeat the Warriors 115-102 on Wednesday. The Heat won that game as a slight 2-point underdog, while the teams played OVER the posted total of 214.

Dwyane Wade shot 10-for-15 from the field with 35 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists.

The Rockets scraped past the Timberwolves 120-114 in triple overtime on Wednesday. The Rockets failed to cover the 9.5-point spread, while the 234 points sailed OVER the posted total of 203.5.

Aaron Brooks netted a game-high 41 points in leading the Rockets, and Trevor Ariza had 19 in the win.

Team records:
Miami: 19-18 SU, 18-19 ATS
Houston: 22-17 SU, 21-18 ATS

Miami most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Oklahoma City are 6-4
After playing Golden State are 8-2
After a win are 3-7

Houston most recently:
When playing on Friday are 3-7
Before playing Milwaukee are 6-4
After playing Minnesota are 6-4
After a win are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Miami's last 5 games when playing Houston
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Miami's last 7 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Miami's last 12 games
The total has gone OVER in 10 of Miami's last 15 games when playing on the road against Houston
Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Houston is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games at home
Houston is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Miami
Houston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing Miami

Next up:
Miami at Oklahoma City, Saturday, January 16
Houston home to Milwaukee, Monday, January 18

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Re: NBA News and Notes Friday 1/15

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks

The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at American Airlines Center.

Russell Westbrook had 25 points with six rebounds and 13 assists in the Thunder's 109-108 overtime loss to the Spurs on Wednesday. The Thunder were 3.5-point favorites in that game, while the 217 points sailed OVER the posted total of 193.

Dirk Nowitzki netted a game-high 30 points with 16 rebounds for a double-double in the Mavericks' 100-95 loss to the Lakers on Wednesday. The Mavericks were 6-point favorites in that game, while the 195 points went UNDER the posted total of 195.5.

Current streak:
Dallas has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Oklahoma City: 21-17 SU, 22-16 ATS
Dallas: 25-13 SU, 18-20 ATS

Oklahoma City most recently:
When playing on Friday are 1-9
Before playing Miami are 3-7
After playing San Antonio are 3-7
After a loss are 7-3

Dallas most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Toronto are 6-4
After playing LA Lakers are 6-4
After a loss are 8-2

A few trends to consider:
Oklahoma City is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Oklahoma City is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Dallas
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Oklahoma City's last 6 games when playing Dallas
Oklahoma City is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Dallas is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Oklahoma City
Dallas is 16-2 SU in its last 18 games when playing Oklahoma City
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Dallas's last 6 games when playing Oklahoma City
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Dallas's last 5 games

Next up:
Oklahoma City home to Miami, Saturday, January 16
Dallas at Toronto, Sunday, January 17


Milwaukee Bucks vs. Golden State Warriors

The Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at Oracle Arena.

The Bucks were defeated 120-108 by the Trail Blazers on Wednesday, as 6.5-point underdogs. That game's 228 points sailed OVER the posted total of 192.5.

Ersan Ilyasova netted 24 points for the Bucks, and Jodie Meeks added 21 points in the loss.

The Warriors were defeated 115-102 by the Heat last time out, as 2-point favorites at home. That game's 217 points made it OVER the posted total of 214.

Corey Maggette had 25 points with six rebounds, and Anthony Morrow netted 24 in the loss.

Current streak:
Milwaukee has lost 3 straight games.
Golden State has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Milwaukee: 15-21 SU, 19-17 ATS
Golden State: 11-26 SU, 20-16-1 ATS

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

Golden State most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Chicago are 5-5
After playing Miami are 5-5
After a loss are 2-8

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Milwaukee's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Milwaukee's last 9 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Milwaukee's last 11 games when playing Golden State
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Milwaukee's last 7 games when playing on the road against Golden State
Golden State is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Milwaukee
Golden State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Golden State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Golden State's last 11 games when playing Milwaukee

Next up:
Milwaukee at Utah, Saturday, January 16
Golden State home to Chicago, Monday, January 18


Orlando Magic vs. Portland Trail Blazers

The Orlando Magic and the Portland Trail Blazers will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at Rose Garden.

The Magic were defeated 115-97 by the Nuggets last time out, as 6-point underdogs. That game's 212 points made it OVER the posted total of 209.5.

Matt Barnes netted 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a losing cause.

The Trail Blazers jumped out to an early and never looked back as they ran past the Bucks 120-108 on Wednesday. The Trail Blazers covered the 6.5-point spread, and the 228 points sailed OVER the posted total of 192.5.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 21 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Brandon Roy added 22 points in that win.

Team records:
Orlando: 26-13 SU, 19-18-2 ATS
Portland: 24-16 SU, 21-18-1 ATS

Orlando most recently:
When playing on Friday are 9-1
Before playing LA Lakers are 6-4
After playing Denver are 5-5
After a loss are 6-4

Portland most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Washington are 4-6
After playing Milwaukee are 4-6
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Orlando is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing Portland
Orlando is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Portland
Orlando is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Portland
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Orlando's last 8 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Portland's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Portland's last 9 games at home
Portland is 14-5 SU in its last 19 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Portland's last 7 games when playing at home against Orlando

Next up:
Orlando at LA Lakers, Monday, January 18
Portland at Washington, Monday, January 18


Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The division rival Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are set to renew hostilities on Friday when they meet at STAPLES Center.

The Clippers were defeated 108-94 by the Hornets last time out, as 7.5-point underdogs. That game's 202 points made it OVER the posted total of 192.5.

Baron Davis had 19 points and dished out six assists in a losing effort.

Andrew Bynum notched 22 points and hauled down 11 boards for a double-double on Wednesday, leading the Lakers over the Mavericks 100-95. The Lakers won the game as 6-point underdogs, while the 195 points went UNDER the posted total of 195.5.

Lamar Odom netted 18 points with 14 rebounds in a double-double for the Lakers, and Ron Artest collected 16 points with 11 rebounds in the win.

Team records:
Clippers: 17-20 SU, 17-20 ATS
Lakers: 30-9 SU, 17-22 ATS

Los Angeles most recently:
When playing on Friday are 3-7
Before playing Cleveland are 3-7
After playing New Orleans are 1-9
After a loss are 6-4

Los Angeles most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Orlando are 4-6
After playing Dallas are 7-3
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 5 of the LA Clippers last 5 games on the road
LA Clippers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games
LA Clippers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games when playing LA Lakers
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of the LA Clippers last 9 games when playing LA Lakers
LA Lakers are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games at home
LA Lakers are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games when playing at home against LA Clippers
LA Lakers are 9-1 SU in their last 10 games when playing LA Clippers
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the LA Lakers last 6 games

Next up:
LA Clippers home to Cleveland, Saturday, January 16
LA Lakers home to Orlando, Monday, January 18

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Re: NBA News and Notes Friday 1/15

NBA RoundUp For 1/15
By Dan Bebe

Spurs @ Bobcats - Spurs by 2 on the road with a total of 188.5. San Antonio is really starting to get a LOT of respect from the oddsmakers with a road line like this one. The Spurs have been winning lately, there's no way around that. They went 10-3 in December, 5-2 in January so far, and they're now just a half-game behind the Mavs for the Southwest division lead. Surging is an understatement, but oddsmakers are starting to catch up, and I think this line is a true indicator of that. Power rankings putting the Spurs 5 points better than Charlotte on a neutral court (or maybe even slightly more, given the Bobcats increased homecourt advantage) is really a hefty jump from when they were laying 2 points in Milwaukee just under a month ago. I'm hesitant to take either side in this game, as the Spurs are starting another back-to-back, and I imagine we'll see Duncan log a good 40 minutes (like he did against the Lakers), then probably rest in that second game (and 4th in 5 nights). My feelings on this game are that I actually hope the Spurs win, creating more value for a fade in tomorrow's game in Memphis. Charlotte is in game-3 of a 6-game homestand, so they're settled in right now, slipping by Memphis in the first game, and then storming back on the Rockets in the second game. There's zero doubt the Bobcats are playing solid basketball, especially in their building, but I feel like they're due to drop one, and this would certainly be that spot. I lean Spurs, amazingly. That total looks awfully low, but I don't expect either team to really push the pace, so I lean Under at first glance. The Spurs without Duncan got into a track meet with the Thunder, but I think they use their big man in this one and try to exploit their experience by keeping it close, then winning late in a low-scoring game.

Kings @ Sixers - Philly by 3 with a total of 207. The Sixers are coming off a tough loss to the Knicks, and this game has the potential to be a fun one. Sacramento will get up and down the floor, but they remain a different bird on the road than at Arco. Of course, the Sixers remain slightly better on the road than at home, so we're running into a rock, then a hard place trying to pick a side in this one. The huge factor here is that the Sixers rolled into Arco on December 30th and bopped the Kings by 10 points, one of Sacramento's most lopsided home losses in the last month (aside from the most recent game)! I have to think the Kings have spent all their time since getting embarrassed focused on getting revenge on Philadelphia. Without getting into too much detail, I like that Kevin Martin is due to come back, because he gives them one more scoring option in the 4th quarter, but I think his presence will disrupt the offense just a bit. I expect this game to be close from start to finish, which makes me like the team on revenge getting a couple points. My favorite play in this game, though, is on the total. Philadelphia has played 2 straight low-scoring games at home, and amazingly, Sacramento has played to 5 consecutive Unders, and with the readdition of Kevin Martin to the mix, I think he slows things down more than speeds them up, and obviously, long term he's going to be a huge help, but tonight, he creates a few missed shots, and enough to push this game Under the total.

Suns @ Hawks -
Atlanta by 4.5 with a total of 217.5. I think the initial feelings on this one are to look to the home team. The Hawks absolutely demoralize teams in their building, and I'm not sure I've seen much from the Suns to think they can compete. The Hawks remain one of the best ATS bets in the NBA, now 14-5 ATS in their home building, and coming off a last-second cover against the Wizards in a game that, looking back, I have no idea how the Hawks lead jumped from 9 to 12 with the game seemingly decided. I can only think a Hawk hit a meaningless 3, and sharps on the Wizards crapped their pants. In any case, if the Hawks can handle the Celtics twice and not let down against Washington, I'm pretty confident they can play Phoenix tough. Phoenix did beat Atlanta by 5 in a similar spot last year, and that is my concern. Coming off a loss to the Pacers, the Suns value is at a nice spot to "buy", but our decision isn't whether there's value, it's whether there's enough to warrant a play, and my early feelings are that the Suns have been so terrible at sustaining 48 minutes of good ball on the road that I just can't trust them here. Weak, weak lean to the Hawks side, and a nearly-as-weak lean to the Under on the total. Phoenix is coming off an ultra high-scoring game with Indiana, but Atlanta has actually been ramping up their defense - I'm interested, more than anything else, to see how this one gets played. Both games went Under, last year.

T'Wolves @ Grizzlies - Memphis by 8.5 with a total of 207.5. You want to talk about a team getting a ton of respect, the Grizzlies are nearly a double-digit favorite! Who would have ever thought they'd lay this kind of chalk with the way they started the season? The Grizzlies narrowly escaped the Clippers in the Great Water Pipe Debacle a couple days back, but bear in mind that was the first game of a long homestand for Memphis, and we'll likely get a much better wire-to-wire effort from the Grizz in this one. It's for just that reason that this number/game scares me just a bit. The Wolves are coming to Memphis off a 3OT loss to the Houston Rockets, an while they did get a day off to recuperate, I'm wondering if this line isn't just slightly adjusted to that long, tough loss. Still, I think we need to remember, that game only went to OT because of a half-court shot drained by Corey Brewer with the Rockets up 3 and time expiring, so I'm not sure it's a situation where Minnesota feels like they let an opportunity slip away. They had a very strong second half in that game, so I'm not sure they're all that down coming into this one. I have to lean just slightly to the Wolves, who have covered their last 2 road losses, and we might see the same type of game, here. Minnesota loses, but only by 4-7. I'm not all that confident, and we might see line movement that moves this game off my board, especially with Memphis in game-two of the homestand, an historically strong spot for home teams. Another "baby-lean" or "tilt" toward Minnesota, but I can be swayed, even though the Wolves are on a certain level of double-revenge. I'm just not sure I feel as strongly about double-revenge when it involves a team that doesn't ever win. I like the Under here, too, with folks looking at the 3OT game and thinking Minnesota is better offensively than they are.

Hornets @ Pistons - This line is OFF. Any why not, Ben Gordon is dead to rights, the Pistons got a win, and who the hell knows what's going on with these guys? In any case, the Hornets head back out on the road after dominating the Kaman-less Clippers in their home building, and I wouldn't expect anything less than a hotly contested game that the Hornets likely win late. That seems to be how every New Orleans game goes, but give them credit, they are playing defense and winning. The Pistons snapped a 13-game losing streak with a win over the hapless Wizards 99-90, a better-than-normal offensive display, and the most points the Pistons had scored since December 12th against the Warriors, the last game the Pistons won before this one. It's pretty clear, then, what needs to be done for Detroit to come away with a win, and that's put up more than 85 points. You just can't win NBA games missing that many shots, not when a defensive rebound can lead to a fast break and easy buckets. Funny, too, that the 99-point outburst was an Under for the Pistons that snapped a streak of 4 straight Overs. I expect this posted total to be extremely low, and I like a potential Over, since I think the Pistons try to continue with a slightly quicker tempo, trying to get a few easier shots, instead of constantly slowing it down and hoping Ben Wallace can swish a 15-footer. In terms of the side, I think we see the Hornets favored by a couple points, and I think we might see another decent effort from the Pistons - tough to pick a lean, though. I guess I like Detroit in a revenge spot (shudders).

Raptors @ Knicks - New York by 2.5 with a total of 207.5. Interestingly, this is the first of many meetings between these two teams, so we don't have any previous encounters to base our thoughts on. That's fine, we'll go with situationals. The Knicks return home for just this one game before facing the Pistons on the road tomorrow, and while it is the "first game home" off a road trip, they're going right back out, so I don't think we'll see that trademark letdown. New York is also returning home feeling better after losing in Houston and Oklahoma before finishing the short roadie with a win in Philadelphia. Now, the suddenly relevant Knicks, and suddenly better-at-home-than-road Knicks get to test their mettle against an improving Raptors club coming off back-to-back losses, at home to Boston and in Indiana. I actually believe this spread is pretty accurate. The Raptors have had 3 days rest heading into this one, and in the limited numbers we have, they're 2-0 on a ton of rest, so you have to like that angle. The Knicks got their revenge on Philadelphia, so we might not see the same focus as usual, and based on situationals and numbers, I like Toronto to get a road cover. I also really like the Under, though that line almost looks too tempting. Both of these teams have shown improving defenses, and I believe strongly that the Knicks don't want a track meet, the one type of game where Toronto can beat them. The home team tends to dictate the tempo, and I feel this one ends in the high 190's: I lean Under.

Pacers @ Nets - Pacers by 3 with a total of 208.5. Hefty total for a Nets game, eh? Well, let's start by looking at Indiana to see if we can't pinpoint why. The Pacers are hitting the road off 2 nice home wins over the Raptors and Suns, and 3 straight covers, overall. They have played to 3 of 4 Overs, but let's look at why -- Indiana has gotten their key players back, and when healthy, this team loves to get out and run. They had turned into a bit of a slow team without Murphy and Granger, but with them back, both Indiana and their opponent have scored over 100 points in all 4 of those recent games to which I was referring. Also, this is a double revenge spot for New Jersey, with the Pacers beating them once in each location this year, 91-83 in Jersey, and 107-91 in Indiana. If the fact that neither of these games hit 200 doesn't immediately jump out at you, adjust your bifocals. This total really feels like a trap early, considering the way the two previous games have gone in this series, and it seems like either oddsmakers have purposely made a 9-point error, or they're trying to tell us something -- I lean to the latter. Neither team shot the ball well in those games despite a pretty good pace, especially in the second game, which featured over 90 shots in each. Another game like that one, and with both teams shooting in the mid/high-40% range, and this one should hit 215. Also interesting is that Jersey hasn't broken 100 since December 30, so if this game isn't telling us to give Jersey and the Over a long, long look, I don't know what is.

Wizards @ Bulls - Chicago by 6 with a total of 199. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Letdown City! If anyone else on this planet is willing to join me in a lean to the Wizards, speak now. Guess I can't gauge audio levels on a blog, but this is a great situational spot for the Wizards. Some day in the future I'm going to want to illustrate the "perception vs. reality" that I talk about with Mike Hook on the daily podcast all the time, and I'm going to point at this game. The Wizards come into Chicago looking like the worst team on the planet. I mean, come on, a home loss to the Pistons, who had themselves lost 13-straight games before beating the Wizards looks pretty awful to the public, many of whom were backing Washington in that game because of how bad Detroit looked. Then, on the other side, Chicago avenged two blowout losses to the Celtics earlier this year with one of their most sustained and impressive defensive efforts all season long. No matter how you section this match-up, Chicago is going to let up. I don't know if it's going to be early or late (or both), but Washington will have a great shot not only to cover, but to win outright, and the question is whether they can capitalize. I'm inclined to believe they can, as the Wiz are 3-1 ATS against the Bulls over the last couple seasons, so they match up well. Antawn Jamison's odd release should also help neutralize all the Bulls shot-blockers. I also like the Under here, since I think Chicago is out of gas from last night, and I don't think they break 100. Washington might, but that still means we need high 90's from the Bulls. Wiz and Under.

Heat @ Rockets - Houston by 4.5 with a total of 194. I'm actually a little surprised by this spread, though I'm not sure why. I know that doesn't make sense, but I guess I just expected one either higher, indicating Houston's home court edge, or lower, erring towards caution with the Rockets coming off the 3OT win over Minnesota. It's pretty clear when Houston does and does not cover, and I very much like their chances in this one based on a match-up level. Shane Battier will be deployed to guard Dwyane Wade, I have to believe, and he can't stop these superstars, but he certainly does a superior job of slowing than almost anyone else in the League. I admit, I can't stand how Shane Battier is always ranked #55 in Yahoo Fantasy NBA because he does nothing offensively, but he is huge when handicapping Rockets games. I like Houston to win this game by 6-8 points, as they remain one of the strongest home teams in the NBA (12-4 SU, 11-5 ATS), and even though D-Wade has a strong game against the Warriors, those nagging injuries will reveal themselves when he's expending ridiculous amounts of energy to put up numbers against one of the best defenders in the NBA. On the total side, I need to feel square and like the Over. Houston scores in waves at home, and I think Michael Beasley steps up and has a nice game.

Thunder @ Mavs - Dallas by 5 with a total of 195.5. This should be a fun one, but I wish I had stronger feelings about the side. Dallas has been a terrible home team, so I think with a game like this you have to start by looking at the road club, but at the same time, the Mavericks have to be feeling a little silly after getting pounded by the Lakers, and a version of Kobe Bryant that could barely bend at the waist. Still, the numbers are pretty severe: the Mavs are 13-6 ATS on the road, 5-14 at home. You just can't take the Mavs unless the match-ups and situational angles are overwhelming, and to me, this just isn't that overwhelming. Oklahoma City is coming off an OT loss to the Spurs, so their value isn't outrageously low, and I like that the Mavs are still the marquee team, even though they're a permanent fade at home, and permanent back on the road. I am also a fan of the revenge angle, as (not surprisingly) Dallas beat the piss out of the Thunder in Oklahoma City. That game was actually the first ATS win for the Mavs over the Thunder in the last 4 meetings, so Oklahoma City generally matches up pretty well. I lean to the Thunder, and I also like the Over, since I feel the road team will force Dallas to match them bucket for bucket. Also, the first meeting went Under a total of 193.5, yet this one moved up 2 points. Very intriguing, tread with caution on that number.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Friday 1/15

Bucks @ Warriors - Golden State by 4.5 with a total of 216. Revenge! The Warriors lost an outlandishly high-scoring game with these Bucks in Milwaukee by 4 points, as a 7.5-point dog. So, in the interim, the Warriors have gained a little respect, and the Bucks have lost a fair amount. My initial feelings are that the Warriors will win this game. The Warriors have lost back-to-back home games to the Cavs and the Heat, but this is more of a chance to get fat than any of those. The Bucks do not shoot the ball wall, and you can't make open looks, the Warriors will run you right out of the building. That is a distinct possibility here. Milwaukee has lost all 3 games on their current road trip to the West coast, and I just don't see it getting any better. The Warriors are a match-up nightmare for a team that can't "impose" any sort of will, though I think Brandon Jennings might have one of his stronger games in what's sure to be a back-and-forth affair. I lean to the Under on the total, since I don't see Milwaukee putting up their share of the necessary points to get up over that 216 mark. Golden State wins this one 108 to 99, that's my best guess. Let's take a peek at the line movement before we nail anything down, but I definitely like the revenge, and I like that two home losses have made some folks forget how tough Golden State is in Oakland.

Magic @ Blazers - This line is OFF. Is this a revenge game? Maybe, though when the Magic beat the Blazers by 9, it was right on the spread -- no one got embarrassed and no one took the other lightly, so while I think Portland has the very slight motivational edge, I really don't like to fade a team coming off a big loss, and that's exactly what the Magic suffered in Denver. Still, 18-point losses are not as stomach-turning as 30-point losses, and given Orlando's fatigue, losing by 18 wasn't all that bad. So, we come back to a straight-up match, with situationals not all that relevant. The Blazers have been alternating wins and losses on their home court during a 5-game homestand, and that puts them on pace for a loss in this one. And truth be told, I actually like Orlando here. I think they play better coming back down to sea level, and Portland, without their true big men, has no one that can even come close to slowing down Dwight Howard. The Magic can't really slow down Roy from the perimeter, but Howard inside is certainly an enforcer. I think folks might overestimate the revenge angle, since Portland just keeps getting more and more hurt, and Brandon Roy, who I just mentioned, is the reason for this line being OFF. He pulled a hamstring,and if he's out, Portland is going to have to rely on Jerryd Bayless for their offense. You guys know how I feel about betting on games with a key injury, it's Portland or nothing if Roy doesn't play, and I'd lean towards the nothing. I tend to like Over bets when a star goes down, too, since the remaining guys usually play too quick, and the opposition takes them lightly.

Clippers @ Lakers - This line is OFF. Now the Lakers are the home team. The last time these clubs met, I was all over the Clippers, but this time, I'm not as convinced. Without Chris Kaman, the Lakers Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest might actually snap Marcus Camby in two pieces. Obviously, the big issue here is Kobe Bryant, who seemed to loosen up nicely when his personal masseuse was flown in from LA and massaged his back at half-time. I wouldn't be surprised to see Kobe skip a game, though. Is there really any reason for him to play? It's not like a road game where he's basically trapped in a city he doesn't like either way. Here, he has nice home cookin', and can show up to the arena, get his treatment, put on a pinstripe suit and watch his boys try to take down the other LA team without him. I guess we'll see - he IS Kobe, after all, and wants to play in every game. The Lakers come home after getting destroyed in San Antonio and picking up a tough win in Dallas, though this is just a short homestand, the Lakers have a few days off between games, so we might very well see a little sluggishness on their part. The Clippers continue their "road trip" after losses in both Memphis and New Orleans, but it's tough to know how they'll perform in this home/road venue. I will admit, I don't really have a lean on this game, though I guess I think we'll see a stronger game from the Clippers, that might not be enough. My favorite play is on the Under.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Friday 1/15

Tips and Trends

Phoenix Suns at Atlanta Hawks


Suns: Phoenix is clearly one of the most exciting teams in the NBA, as they are a high performing offense. They are also exciting for the wrong reasons, as this team simply can't protect large leads. The Suns have lost 2 of their last 3 games, and in each of those losses they blew 20 point leads. The Suns are 24-15 SU and 21-18 ATS this season. Despite their overall success, Phoenix has lost 8 of their last 9 road games in route to a 9-11 SU road record this season. The Suns are 10-10 ATS on the road, including 5-5 ATS as the listed road underdog. The Suns have scored 103 PTS or more in 13 consecutive games. 8 of those 13 games Phoenix scored at least 113 PTS. To no surprise, the Suns are the only team in the NBA averaging 110 PPG or more. 6 different Suns players average double digits in PTS this season. G Jason Richardson has scored more than 20 PTS in 3 of his past 4 games. Phoenix is 12-2 when Richardson scores at least 20 PTS.

Suns are 5-1 ATS last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Under is 8-1 last 9 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.

Key Injuries - PG Steve Nash (mouth) is probable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 109


Hawks (-5, O/U 217.5): Atlanta opens a season high 5 game homestand tonight, where they are 15-4 SU this season. The Hawks will certainly be looking for revenge tonight, as they've lost their last 3 meetings against Phoenix. The Hawks have won 4 of their past 5 games SU to stand at 25-13 SU, the 4th best record in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta is also a very impressive 26-12 ATS this year. The Hawks are 14-5 ATS this season at home, and 9-3 ATS as a single digit home favorite. Defensively, the Hawks have held 5 of their past 6 opponents under 96 PTS. For the season, the Hawks allow 97.3 PPG, 12th best in the NBA. The Hawks have been  successful this season because of their high powered offense. Atlanta averages 103 PPG for the season, but are even better at home where they average nearly 109 PPG. F Joe Johnson and super sub G Jamal Crawford combine for nearly 39 PPG for Atlanta.   

Hawks are 25-9-1 ATS last 35 games as a home favorite.
Under is 8-2 last 10 games as a home favorite up to 4.5 points.

Key Injuries - G Maurice Evans (personal) is questionable.
C Zaza Pachulia (flu) is questionable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 116 (OVER - Total of the Day)


Toronto Raptors at New York Knicks

Raptors: Despite having a losing record of 19-20 SU, the Raptors are 6th in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Toronto did have a winning record as they had won 8 of 9 games before losing their last 2 games SU. F Chris Bosh continues to dominate despite rampant trade rumors. Bosh leads the team in both points and rebounds, 24 PPG and 11.3 RPG. Bosh has been hot of late, averaging 29 PPG over his past 3 games. C Anrdrea Bargnani and F Hedo Turkoglu combine for 30 PPG and have made 118 three pointers combined this season. Toronto is the 5th highest scoring team in the league at 103.3 PPG. Unfortunately this Raptors defense allows 105 PPG, the 5th worst in the NBA. Toronto has allowed 6 of their past 7 opponents to score at least 103 PTS. Toronto is 7-14 SU and 8-13 ATS on the road this season. The Raptors are 7-10 ATS this season as a single digit road underdog.

Raptors are 5-11 ATS last 16 meetings in New York.
Over is 6-1 last 7 vs. Eastern Conference.

Key Injuries - G Marcus Banks (illness) is questionable.
F Reggie Evans (foot) is out.

PROJECTED SCORE: 106 (Side of the Day)


Knicks (-2.5, O/U 207.5): New York is 16-22 SU this season, but they are quietly turning their season around. The Knicks are 13-8 SU since the beginning of December. In order for the Knicks to make a playoff push, they will need to play better at home. New York is 9-10 SU and 10-9 ATS at home this season. The Knicks are 5-4 ATS this season as the home favorite. The Knicks are in a transformation, as they've turned from an offensive team into a defensive team. The Knicks have been held under 100 PTS in 4 straight games. F David Lee leads 6 different Knicks players averaging double digits in PTS. Lee is averaging 21 PPG and nearly 13 RPG over his past 13 contests. Forwards Al Harrington and Wilson Chandler combine for 33 PPG to also pace an offense that averages 101 PPG this season. Defensively, the Knicks have held opponents under 100 PTS in 15 of their last 18 games.   

Knicks are 7-3 ATS last 10 home games.
Under is 9-1 last 10 home games.

Key Injuries - F David Lee (personal) is probable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 103

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