NBA News and Notes Monday 1/25

NBA News and Notes Monday 1/25

Game Of The Day: Cleveland Cavaliers at Miami Heat
By RICKY DIMON

Prior engagement

The Cavaliers and Heat have met once this season, with Cleveland going into Miami as a 1-point underdog and coming away with a 111-104 victory on Nov. 12.

LeBron James (34 points) and Dwyane Wade (36 points) put on an entertaining two-man show as the superstars went a combined 31-of-38 from the free-throw line. James, however, got plenty of help from three teammates who contributed at least 14 points, including 18 courtesy of J.J. Hickson.

In Monday’s meeting, however, the Cleveland supporting cast will be considerably undermanned.

Infirmary report

While the Cavs are without question one of the best teams in the NBA, they are also one of the most banged up.

Delonte West (7.4 ppg, 2.9 apg) fractured his left ring finger in a victory over the Lakers Thursday night and will be re-evaluated later this week. West joins backcourt mate Mo Williams on the sidelines, as Williams (16.9 ppg, 5.1 apg) is expected to miss up to six weeks with a shoulder injury before a possible late-February return.

“Hopefully it shows the depth of our team; starting Delonte and getting (Daniel Gibson) back into the rotation and seeing if we can hold down the fort until he’s able to come back,” coach Mike Brown told reporters about playing with Williams.

The return of Jamario Moon could alleviate some of Cleveland’s issues, but Moon has missed eight straight games with an abdominal strain and he is listed as questionable.

Miami, on the other hand, is enjoying a clean bill of health.

King’s court

LeBron (29.9 ppg) has been especially dominant lately and he will surely be looking to put the team on his back to an even greater extent in the absence of West and Williams.

James has scored more than 30 points in seven of his last eight contests, including a 41-point performance in a win over Portland Jan. 10. He is coming off back-to-back 37-point showings in victories over the Lakers and Thunder. LeBron has not scored fewer than 23 points since a trip to Atlanta Dec. 29, a span of 12 games.

“I don't really pay attention to where I rank in the scoring leaders,” noted LeBron, who is now No. 1 in scoring, 0.2 ppg ahead of Carmelo Anthony. “I don't look at myself as a scorer. I go out there and score sometimes, but I'd much rather be known as an all-around player. I’m just playing my game.”

Hot and cold

The Heat have been remarkably up-and-down this season and their last three games are a perfect microcosm. Last Wednesday, Miami went into Charlotte and got embarrassed by the Bobcats 104-65.

“We have a very, very, very ugly side to us,” coach Erik Spoelstra told the media afterward.

But how did Spoelstra’s team respond? By suddenly showing their other side, of course.

In back-to-back games Friday and Saturday, the Heat crushed Washington 112-88 on the road before returning home and hammering Sacramento 115-84.

“It's in our heads,” explained Michael Beasley (16.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg). “Some games we've got all the energy in the world. Some games we just don't. I think if we stay consistent, there's no limit on how far we can go this season.”

Trending topics

Although the Cavs have won four straight games and six of their last seven, they are not exactly on fire ATS. Cleveland is 1-4-1 ATS in its last six games overall, 1-4-1 ATS in its last six on the road and 1-4 ATS in its last five against Eastern Conference opposition.

The Heat, on the other hand, are 5-2 ATS in their last seven outings overall, 5-2 ATS in their last seven at home and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 against the Eastern Conference.

Neither the Cavs (20-23-2 O/U) nor the Heat (20-23 O/U) have been particularly strong over/under plays this season, however, the under has been more successful with both. The under is 4-1 in Miami’s last five overall, but the over is 5-2 in Cleveland’s last seven overall.

Head-to-head, the Cavs are 5-2 ATS in their last seven trips to Miami. The over is 4-0 in the Heat’s last four home dates with Cleveland.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Monday 1/25

Monday's Best NBA Bets

New Orleans Hornets at Portland Trail Blazers (N/A)


Just when the Blazers thought their injury issues were working themselves out, their backcourt is two men down heading into the week.

Brandon Roy returned from the tender hamstring injury last Wednesday, but left after playing just over 18 minutes. He sat of the next two games against the Celtics and Pistons, in which the team went 1-1 and covered as road underdogs in both, and is expected to miss at least two more games.

The talented two guard leads Portland in scoring with 23 points per game and is the latest player on the team’s laundry list of ailments. Fellow guard Jered Bayless is also out with an injury. He sprained his ankle against Boston and sat out this weekend’s tilt with Detroit.

Bayless, who is listed as questionable, had picked up his production with Roy out of action. He scored 18 points in last week’s win over Philadelphia and netted 12 points against the Celtics before leaving the game.

That leaves the Blazers with just three reserve players and no one to guard New Orleans point man Chris Paul, who is coming off a 26-point, 10-assist performance in a loss to the Nuggets Saturday.

Pick: New Orleans

Charlotte Bobcats at Denver Nuggets (N/A)

The Nuggets are making their backers sweat in recent games. Denver has gone to overtime in two of its last three contests, including Saturday’s 116-110 win over the New Orleans Hornets.

That win was the Nuggets’ sixth straight victory, however, they have posted a dismal 2-3-1 mark against the spread in this span.

All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony, who scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the win, rolled his ankle late in the game but stayed on the floor to ice the game with two free throws.

"It's better than I thought," Anthony told reporters following the game. "It looked pretty bad at first, but it's better than I thought. We'll see how it is (Sunday)."

Denver has had trouble putting opponents away in the second half. The Nuggets took a 79-78 lead into the fourth quarter Saturday and Anthony missed two chances to end the game in regulation.

The Nuggets have an impressive 20-3 record inside the Pepsi Center, but books have pumped up the chalk so much that backers boast just a 12-10-1 ATS mark.

Pick: Charlotte

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Re: NBA News and Notes Monday 1/25

Indiana Pacers vs. Philadelphia 76ers

The Indiana Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers will both be gunning for a victory on Monday when they meet at Wachovia Center.

Elton Brand tossed in 23 points and hauled in eight boards on Saturday, leading the 76ers over the Pacers 107-97. The 76ers won that game as 2.5-point underdogs, while the 204 points went UNDER the posted total of 208.

Thaddeus Young netted 22 points with 10 rebounds for a double-double for the 76ers, and Samuel Dalembert had 12 rebounds in the win.

Danny Granger had 22 points and seven rebounds in a losing effort for the Pacers.

Current streak:
Philadelphia has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Indiana: 15-29 SU, 19-25 ATS
Philadelphia: 15-28 SU, 19-24 ATS

Indiana most recently:
When playing on Monday are 4-6
Before playing LA Lakers are 7-3
After playing Philadelphia are 3-7
After a loss are 4-6

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Monday are 6-4
Before playing Milwaukee are 5-5
After playing Indiana are 4-6
After a win are 3-7

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

Next up:
Indiana home to LA Lakers, Wednesday, January 27
Philadelphia at Milwaukee, Wednesday, January 27


Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics

The Los Angeles Clippers and the Boston Celtics will both be trying to pick up a win on Monday when they battle at TD Garden.

The Clippers defeated Washington 92-78 as a 3-point underdog on Sunday. The combined score fell UNDER the posted over/under total (194).

Chris Kaman poured in 20 points for the Clippers, while Marcus Camby delivered 12 points and 19 rebounds.

Paul Pierce dropped 24 points to help the Celtics defeat the Trail Blazers 98-95 in overtime on Friday. The Celtics failed to cover the 10.5-point spread, while the 193 points made it OVER the posted total of 186.

Rajon Rondo had 19 points with six rebounds and nine assists in the win.

Team records:
Los Angeles: 20-23 SU, 21-22 ATS
Boston: 28-13 SU, 17-24 ATS

Los Angeles most recently:
When playing on Monday are 3-7
Before playing New Jersey are 4-6
After playing Washington are 4-6
After a win are 5-5

Boston most recently:
When playing on Monday are 6-4
Before playing Orlando are 7-3
After playing Portland are 9-1
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of the LA Clippers last 8 games when playing Boston
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of the LA Clippers last 7 games when playing on the road against Boston
LA Clippers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 6 of the LA Clippers last 8 games
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Boston's last 8 games when playing LA Clippers
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Boston's last 7 games when playing at home against LA Clippers
Boston is 9-3 SU in their last 12 games when playing at home against LA Clippers
Boston is 16-8 SU in their last 24 games when playing LA Clippers

Next up:
LA Clippers at New Jersey, Wednesday, January 27
Boston at Orlando, Thursday, January 28


Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat will both be gunning for a victory on Monday when they meet at AmericanAirlines Arena.

LeBron James poured in a game-high 37 points to lead the Cavaliers over the Thunder 100-99 on Saturday. The Cavaliers failed to cover the 8-point spread, and the 199 points made it OVER the posted total of 189.

Shaquille O'Neal had 22 points and six rebounds for the Cavaliers. James also had nine assists in dished out 12 assists in that victory.

Dwyane Wade poured in 27 points with four rebounds and eight assists on Saturday, as the Heat roared past the Kings 115-84. The Heat covered the 7-point spread, while the teams played UNDER the posted total of 201.

Michael Beasley had 21 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double in leading the way.

Current streak:
Cleveland has won 4 straight games.
Miami has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Cleveland: 34-11 SU, 21-23-1 ATS
Miami: 23-20 SU, 22-21 ATS

Cleveland most recently:
When playing on Monday are 8-2
Before playing Minnesota are 4-6
After playing Oklahoma City are 5-5
After a win are 7-3

Miami most recently:
When playing on Monday are 7-3
Before playing Toronto are 4-6
After playing Sacramento are 2-8
After a win are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
Cleveland is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing Miami
Cleveland is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
Cleveland is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Cleveland's last 5 games when playing on the road against Miami
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Miami's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Miami's last 5 games when playing at home against Cleveland
Miami is 10-3 SU in its last 13 games when playing at home against Cleveland
Miami is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games at home

Next up:
Cleveland home to Minnesota, Wednesday, January 27
Miami at Toronto, Wednesday, January 27


Orlando Magic vs. Memphis Grizzlies

The Orlando Magic and the Memphis Grizzlies will both be gunning for a victory on Monday when they meet at FedExForum.

The Magic dominated the overtime session and came away with a 106-95 win over the Bobcats on Saturday. The Magic covered the 2-point spread, while the 201 points made it OVER the posted total of 189.5.

Jameer Nelson had 21 points, four rebounds, and seven assists in leading the Magic. Vince Carter also netted 21 points in that win.

Zach Randolph went for 25 points and seven rebounds on Friday, as the Grizzlies defeated the Thunder 86-84. The Grizzlies failed to cover the 3.5-point spread, and the teams played UNDER the posted total of 205.

Rudy Gay had 25 points for the Grizzlies, while Marc Gasol collected a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Current streak:
Orlando has won 3 straight games.

Team records:
Orlando: 29-15 SU, 22-20-2 ATS
Memphis: 23-19 SU, 24-18 ATS

Orlando most recently:
When playing on Monday are 5-5
Before playing Boston are 7-3
After playing Charlotte are 6-4
After a win are 6-4

Memphis most recently:
When playing on Monday are 3-7
Before playing Detroit are 5-5
After playing Oklahoma City are 2-8
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Orlando's last 5 games when playing on the road against Memphis
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Orlando's last 7 games when playing Memphis
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Orlando's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Orlando's last 11 games on the road
Memphis is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Memphis's last 5 games when playing at home against Orlando
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Memphis's last 7 games when playing Orlando
Memphis is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games when playing at home against Orlando

Next up:
Orlando home to Boston, Thursday, January 28
Memphis at Detroit, Wednesday, January 27


Atlanta Hawks vs. Houston Rockets

The Atlanta Hawks and the Houston Rockets will both be trying to pick up a win on Monday when they battle at Toyota Center.

Jamal Crawford went for 24 points and dished out five assists on Friday, as the Hawks defeated the Bobcats 103-89. The Hawks covered the 6.5-point spread, while the 192 points made it OVER the posted total of 190.5.

Al Horford chipped in with 23 points and nine rebounds.

The Rockets were defeated 104-97 by the Bulls last time out, as 6-point favorites. That game's 201 points made it OVER the posted total of 199.

Carl Landry had 22 points in leading the Rockets, while Aaron Brooks and Luis Scola added 20 points apiece in the loss.

Current streak:
Atlanta has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Atlanta: 28-14 SU, 28-14 ATS
Houston: 24-19 SU, 22-21 ATS

Atlanta most recently:
When playing on Monday are 1-9
Before playing San Antonio are 2-8
After playing Charlotte are 4-6
After a win are 5-5

Houston most recently:
When playing on Monday are 7-3
Before playing Denver are 6-4
After playing Chicago are 5-5
After a loss are 8-2

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

Next up:
Atlanta at San Antonio, Wednesday, January 27
Houston home to Denver, Wednesday, January 27


Chicago Bulls vs. San Antonio Spurs

The Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs will both be gunning for a victory on Monday when they meet at AT&T Center.

The Bulls roared out to an early lead en route to a 104-97 victory over the Rockets on Saturday, as 6-point underdogs. The 201 points made it OVER the posted total of 199.

Brad Miller led the Bulls with 25 points and five rebounds, while Derrick Rose added 20 in the win.

The Spurs were defeated 116-109 by the Rockets last time out, as 6-point favorites. That game's 225 points sailed OVER the posted total of 192.

Tim Duncan had 25 points with 14 rebounds for a double-double in the loss.

Current streak:
Chicago has won 2 straight games.
San Antonio has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Chicago: 20-22 SU, 19-21-2 ATS
San Antonio: 25-17 SU, 21-20-1 ATS

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Monday are 4-6
Before playing Oklahoma City are 4-6
After playing Houston are 4-6
After a win are 7-3

San Antonio most recently:
When playing on Monday are 8-2
Before playing Atlanta are 8-2
After playing Houston are 8-2
After a loss are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Chicago's last 5 games when playing San Antonio
Chicago is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games on the road
Chicago is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games
Chicago is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of San Antonio's last 5 games when playing Chicago
San Antonio is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games when playing at home against Chicago
San Antonio is 14-3 SU in its last 17 games when playing Chicago
San Antonio is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Chicago

Next up:
Chicago at Oklahoma City, Wednesday, January 27
San Antonio home to Atlanta, Wednesday, January 27


Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz

The Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz will both be gunning for a victory on Monday when they meet at EnergySolutions Arena.

Steve Nash scored 23 points and dished out six assists to lead the Suns over the Warriors 112-103 on Saturday. The Suns failed to cover the 12-point spread, and the 215 points went UNDER the posted total of 233.

Goran Dragic had 20 points for the Suns, while Robin Lopez netted 16 points with nine rebounds.

The Jazz poured in 34 points in the third quarter as they ran past the Nets 116-83 on Saturday. The Jazz covered the 16.5-point spread, while the 199 points went UNDER the posted total of 201.5.

Mehmet Okur led the Jazz with 20 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Carlos Boozer had 22 points and nine rebounds in the win.

Current streak:
Utah has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Phoenix: 26-19 SU, 23-21-1 ATS
Utah: 25-18 SU, 25-16-2 ATS

Phoenix most recently:
When playing on Monday are 6-4
Before playing Charlotte are 6-4
After playing Golden State are 9-1
After a win are 2-8

Utah most recently:
When playing on Monday are 4-6
Before playing Portland are 6-4
After playing New Jersey are 7-3
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Phoenix's last 5 games when playing Utah
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Phoenix's last 7 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Phoenix's last 6 games
Phoenix is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing Utah
Utah is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Utah is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
Utah is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Phoenix
Utah is 4-0-1 ATS in its last 5 games at home

Next up:
Phoenix home to Charlotte, Tuesday, January 26
Utah at Portland, Wednesday, January 27


Charlotte Bobcats vs. Denver Nuggets

The Charlotte Bobcats and the Denver Nuggets will both be trying to pick up a win on Monday when they battle at Pepsi Center.

The Bobcats were defeated 106-95 by the Magic in overtime on Saturday, as 2-point underdogs. The 201 points made it OVER the posted total of 189.5.

D.J. Augustin collected 22 points in a losing effort.

Carmelo Anthony tossed in 30 points with 11 rebounds for a double-double on Saturday, leading the Nuggets over the Hornets 116-110 in overtime. The Nuggets failed to cover the 12-point spread, while the 226 points sailed OVER the posted total of 207.

Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin had 20 points apiece for the Nuggets, and Arron Afflalo added 19 in the win.

Current streak:
Charlotte has lost 2 straight games.
Denver has won 6 straight games.

Team records:
Charlotte: 21-21 SU, 25-17 ATS
Denver: 29-14 SU, 19-22-2 ATS

Charlotte most recently:
When playing on Monday are 3-7
Before playing Phoenix are 6-4
After playing Orlando are 3-7
After a loss are 6-4

Denver most recently:
When playing on Monday are 6-4
Before playing Houston are 6-4
After playing New Orleans are 8-2
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Charlotte's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Charlotte's last 5 games when playing Denver
Charlotte is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games
Charlotte is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games on the road
Denver is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Denver is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Denver's last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Denver's last 5 games when playing Charlotte

Next up:
Charlotte at Phoenix, Tuesday, January 26
Denver at Houston, Wednesday, January 27


New Orleans Hornets vs. Portland Trail Blazers

The New Orleans Hornets and the Portland Trail Blazers will both be gunning for a victory on Monday when they meet at Rose Garden.

The Hornets were defeated 116-110 by the Nuggets last time out, as 12-point underdogs. That game's 226 points sailed OVER the posted total of 207.

Chris Paul led the way with 26 points and dished out 10 assists for the Hornets in that loss.

Martell Webster poured in 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Trail Blazers over the Pistons 97-93 on Saturday, as 2.5-point underdogs. The 190 points made it OVER the posted total of 182.5.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points with eight rebounds for the Trail Blazers. Andre Miller finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double in the win.

Team records:
New Orleans: 23-20 SU, 20-23 ATS
Portland: 27-18 SU, 25-19-1 ATS

New Orleans most recently:
When playing on Monday are 6-4
Before playing Golden State are 7-3
After playing Denver are 2-8
After a loss are 7-3

Portland most recently:
When playing on Monday are 4-6
Before playing Utah are 7-3
After playing Detroit are 3-7
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of New Orleans's last 8 games when playing Portland
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of New Orleans's last 7 games when playing on the road against Portland
New Orleans is 10-4 SU in its last 14 games
The total has gone UNDER in 9 of New Orleans's last 13 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Portland's last 8 games when playing New Orleans
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Portland's last 7 games when playing at home against New Orleans
Portland is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
Portland is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against New Orleans

Next up:
New Orleans at Golden State, Wednesday, January 27
Portland home to Utah, Wednesday, January 27

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Re: NBA News and Notes Monday 1/25

NBA RoundUp For 1/25
by Dan Bebe

Pacers @ Sixers - Sixers by 4.5 with a total of 206. Remembering, of course, that I have been mostly disconnected from the world for a couple days, I'll do my best to keep my thoughts organized, but today's blog may be a little more jumpy/choppy than usual. In this game, we have the second meeting this season between the Pacers and Sixers, after Philly won the first meeting just 2 days ago in Indiana by 10 (as a 2.5-point dog). When you get into these home-and-home matches, two fairly evenly matched teams are always going to be hard-pressed to win both games, and I think this is another of those types. Neither of these teams is terribly impressive, though arguably, Philly is playing the better basketball right now. The swing on the spread indicates just that, as the spread moved 7 points between games. Both teams were on back-to-backs two days ago, so now we'll get an idea of how these teams handle themselves after getting a good night of rest. The line move between games is pretty reasonable, given how the Sixers dominated the Pacers, even on the road, but we have to remember that Philly remains one of the better ATS road clubs at 14-8, but just 5-16 ATS at home. The total coming down a point from the previous game's line is also fair, as that game on Saturday ended at 204. I think the total is spot on, but I do lean to the road Pacers to cover the 4.5 points.

Cavaliers @ Heat - Miami getting 1.5 points with a total of 190. Don't get me wrong, I'm not much a fan of watching Heat games, but there's certainly something to be said for Lebron vs. Wade. Here, the Heat come off two furious beatings, one of the Wizards, and another of the Kings, but this is going to be some new competition. I do not like backing teams off wins of 30 to 40 points, as I think this is one of those rare times that the line value is not on the team playing against the Cavs. Cleveland has won 4 straight games, but only covered against the Lakers in those four, so they're failing to pull away in games, and are coming off a 1-point home win over the Thunder. Believe it or not, I actually think the Cavs have some value here. I'm not a huge fan of either side, since the Heat already lost a home game to Cleveland earlier this season (111-104, a game that went WAY over the total), but the line on this one pretty accurately reflects the outcome of that previous game. The Cavs won, so now they're 1.5-points favorites instead of slight dogs, and the total went over by 30, so the posted line in this game is 10 points higher than the previous one. It's just important to remember, to put it in a more broad sense, that when two teams that are generally thought of as defensive clubs go head to head, it's not insane to see a higher-scoring game, since neither team really wants to settle into a slugfest, believing (accurately or otherwise), that doing so would play into their opponent's hands. I lean to the square play of Cleveland, and I still barely lean to the Over.

Clippers @ Celtics - This line is OFF. Boston comes into this one off a narrow home win over the Blazers that snapped a 3-game losing streak, and I just have to believe that the return of Kevin Garnett will, over the next week or two, give this team value again. That being said, he's not at full strength yet, or doesn't have his "basketball legs", but whatever the case, I think his return makes Boston a bad play. There is going to be a monster premium on any team with 3 superstars, and even a few more sub-stars. I really like the value we're getting with the Clippers even though this is a revenge game for Boston. The Clips are coming off a silly loss in Denver, a game they really had no chance to win, given the late flight, and visiting teams having difficulty playing in the altitude on a back-to-back. As expected, the Nuggets took over in the 3rd quarter of that game, and the Clippers mailed it in from there. They'll get their gear together for this one, and they'll make a nice push. As it stands, the Clippers have not been playing impressive ball on the road, but those losses and failed covers were mostly against lower-profile opponents (and the blowout loss to the Lakers), which means the Clippers weren't really a "value" play. In this one, I definitely believe they are, as I think we'll see a hefty line. The Clippers won the meeting in LA 92-90 on a last-second shot, a game that went Under a posted line of 190.5. Boston was an 8.5-point road favorite, so if this line doesn't open up in double-digits, that would indicate a potential trap. Be careful on this one, since Eric Gordon is still doubtful, and his absence severely limits the Clips, but I definitely lean Clippers, and I think another Under may be in the works.

Magic @ Grizzlies - Grizzlies by 1 with a total of 205. I like seeing Memphis getting respect like this, favored by a point to the Magic. This will be these teams' first meeting this year, after playing 2 low-scoring affairs, Memphis covering both. I don't know if it's a match-up issue, but the Grizzlies are a better team this year than they were last year, and they played it close even without the improved youngsters and the addition of Zebo. Orlando is coming off 3 straight wins, 2 at home over the lackluster Pacers and Kings, then a strong road performance against the Bobcats, so the Magic are hot right now, and that makes them scary in this game. The Grizzlies have won 5 of 6 (covering 4 of those 5 wins), so they're playing good ball, too, and picking a winner in this tiny-spread game is going to be awfully difficult given that there really isn't much value on either side. If the Magic are going to magically turn back into the road warriors of 2008-09, they might very well win another game by 10. The Grizzlies are damn tough at home, and without getting too much into the stats, since you guys all know Memphis's home values, and this hot team versus hot team scenario is just screaming pass. With a gun to my head, I lean to the Grizzlies to pick up a narrow home victory, and I like the Under a bit, but this one, I repeat, is a scary proposition.

Bulls @ Spurs - This line is OFF. This is an interesting spot, as we have a white-hot Bulls team against a somewhat slowing Spurs team. The Bulls lost the first two games of their current 7-game road trip to the Warriors and Clippers, but have since bounced back with wins over the Suns and Rockets, playing solid defense, and outhustling both clubs. Now, they come face-to-face with a slower, veteran club, trying to snag a win on their home court. The Spurs have lost the first 2 games of their 6-game homestand to the Jazz and Rockets, but they did finally get a 2-day break between games, which can truly mean the world to this achy old club. I'll be frank when I say I'm terrified of the Spurs on more-than-average rest, and they are indeed 4-1 this season with 2 days off between games. They have also ramped up the shooting, so perhaps it's the jumpshot that goes first, since they're 4-1 to the Over in those same scenarios. The Bulls have been scoring nicely, too, so my first inclination is to take a peek at the Over, and indeed if we can get a decent line, that might be a lean. These teams have met before this season way back in October, and the Bulls won that home game by 7 in a game that went way under. I like this match to go Over because the Spurs were on a back-to-back in that one, and it was not at all indicative of how this team can play when they get some sleep. I lean Spurs, but let's wait and see what we'll have to lay to take them.

Hawks @ Rockets - Houston by 1 with a total of 196.5. This is a tough game to get a grip on, as the Hawks will likely be considered a JM-A play, so our bet% numbers are going to be skewed wildly. Atlanta is hitting the road for 4 of their next 5 games, off a 4-1 homestand, but to be perfectly frank, despite the 4-1 SU record and 3-2 ATS mark on the homestand, I didn't think the Hawks played all that well. The Rockets have been struggling a bit lately, too, covering just 2 of their last 10 games, and one of those covers came in a powerhouse revenge game with the Spurs. These two teams played in November in Atlanta in a game that feature 208 points and an "over", so I would say to look at the total in this one before looking at the side. The Rockets have indeed played the Hawks tough throughout the last decade or so, so I would say to look at the Rockets here in what might look like a too-easy choice on the Hawks. Again, though, like other games on this relatively large Monday card, be very careful with the side - we may see some wacky line movement with sharps setting up middles, and taking that ability to read the line out of our arsenal makes picking a side very tough. I also think a peek at the Under is reasonable, given the hefty total of their last game, and the fact that this total is marked almost 10 full points lower.

Suns @ Jazz - Utah by 6.5 with a total of 220.5. Interestingly, this will be these teams' first meeting of the season, so we can go on situational values, for the most part. The Suns, as is well-documented, have been downright horrid on the road, winning just 1 road game in the last 2 months (roughly). Here, though, they're collecting a fair number of points. I'd be careful with the Suns, though, as they're just 1-3 ATS as a road underdog of 6.5-9 points (yeah, I took that from another site, but it's relevant), and they just don't seem to be able to step up to play the really good teams, especially on the road. The Jazz have shown an ability lately to lock down on defense, but I am concerned about backing this team off a 30+ point victory over the Nets. Will the drubbing inflate Utah's side in this one? Potentially. That's not to say the Jazz won't cover; far from it -- but it does seem to indicate that the Jazz are not a long term winning proposition in this spot, and the best bet is to avoid the side. I would have to lean Jazz in this particular meeting, but again, it's probably 50/50 long term, so handle with care. That total is exceptionally large, and my first thought is that it's that high for a reason, but at the same time, the Suns have not really been able to make buckets for 48 minutes away from home. This one could go over if Utah scores 125, but I think we see the game just barely squeeze Under.

Bobcats @ Nuggets - This line is OFF. Let's be careful, as this game looks like another potential JM play with the Bobcats opening a 5-game road trip with this tough match in the Mile High City. The Nuggets have rattled off 6 straight wins, and the return to health of Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups MIGHT have had something to do with it! But now it looks like Melo might miss this one. (cue sad trumpets) They are a very tough club at home, but at the same time, they are entering marquee territory where the line is rarely going to have the value we need to make money long term. I fear that we may see Chauncey step up with another monster game in Melo's stead, but man, you guys know how I feel about injured stars. It seems like no matter which side we have in the game, it's the wrong one. Obviously, it's a lot of luck at that point, but if you're an "injury theory" bettor, you have to think about taking the Nuggets, since this line will open 2-3 points lower than it would have if Carmelo was playing. I think we'll see a total just a shade over 200, and I like the Under, since I think this becomes Billups' team with Melo out, and we know Chauncey prefers a very structured, organized style of play. I lean Denver, barely, and an Under, also barely.

Hornets @ Blazers - This line is OFF. Battle of the teams with key injuries, version two. We've covered a handful of games involving missing players, and this one is no different. The Blazers are without Brandon Roy, and the Hornets are likely without David West. So, it's Chris Paul and Andre Miller, a strong battle of the point guards, though clearly Miller has a bit more help. New Orleans continues a 5-game road trip, going 1-1 both SU and ATS thus far, and actually getting the cover in Denver on the second half of a back-to-back, a tall order, to be sure. Portland returns home off a 4-game road trip for 2 games at the Rose Garden, so we may see a little sluggishness even though this team has covered 5 of 6. What can I say? I hate to be so indecisive on so many games, but with the injuries piling up and lines getting tighter in other games, it's very important to keep our heads, make sure our wits are about us, and only play the games that offer value. This one might have just a shade of value on the home Blazers, who continue to put our quality efforts without Brandon Roy, and I think his absence will move this line a shade in Portland's favor, and afford them a slightly better opportunity to cover. Still, Chris Paul has been finding ways to get his team victories, keeping games close, just kind of hanging around, then making the key plays down the stretch. Put on the oven mitts for this one, just like a few above.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Monday 1/25

Trend Report - Monday
By Ed Meyer

Clippers at Celtics – The Clippers are 0-7 ATS (-8.7 ppg) since April 08, 2008 when their opponent is off an overtime game. The Celtics are 6-0 ATS (8.3 ppg) since February 14, 2007 when playing an isolated home game (2+ rest before and after).

Magic at Grizzlies – The League is 6-0 ATS (7.8 ppg) since April 06, 2007 on the road with at least one day of rest after a road win in which they attempted at least 10 more three pointers than their season-to-date average. The Grizzlies are 9-0-1 ATS (9.2 ppg) since January 17, 2004 after a win as a favorite when their opponent is off an overtime game. The Grizzlies are 8-0-1 ATS (3.6 ppg) since April 11, 2003 off a win of four points or fewer as a favorite in which they held a double digit lead. The Grizzlies are 8-0 ATS (8.1 ppg) since March 15, 2008 with at least one day of rest when their DPS was minus 15 points or less in their previous game.

Cavaliers at Heat – The Heat are 0-7 ATS (-12.2 ppg) since February 01, 2007 at home with at least one day of rest after a game in which they shot at least 10 percentage points higher than their season-to-date average.

Suns at Jazz – The Jazz are 8-0-2 ATS (8.7 ppg) since January 26, 2007 at home with at most one day of rest after a game in which they shot at least 55% from the field.

Bobcats at Nuggets – The Bobcats are 0-7 ATS (-6.0 ppg) since March 05, 2007 on the road when facing a non-conference team they beat as a dog in their first match-up of the season. The League is 0-7 ATS (-6.7 ppg) since March 07, 2007 on the road with at most one day of rest off an overtime game double digit loss. The Bobcats are 6-0 ATS (15.3 ppg) since January 28, 2008 on the road when their opponent is off an overtime game. The Nuggets are 7-0-1 ATS (6.5 ppg) since December 18, 1999 at home after a home win in which they had at least 20 offensive rebounds.

Hawks at Rockets – The Rockets are 0-7 ATS (-5.4 ppg) since November 16, 2006 after a game at home in which they were outshot by at least 10 percent.

Pacers at 76ers – The Pacers are 0-6 ATS (-7.7 ppg) since April 17, 2007 on the road with at least one day of rest after a loss in which they scored more than 30% of their points from the three-point line. The 76ers are 8-0 ATS (9.6 ppg) since March 12, 2002 after a double digit road win in which they had at least 12 steals.

Bulls at Spurs – The Spurs are 8-0-1 ATS (8.4 ppg) since May 25, 2008 with at least one day of rest after a loss in which they allowed at least 50% from the field.

Hornets at Trailblazers – The Trailblazers are 0-9-1 ATS (-7.8 ppg) since November 13, 2001 after a win against the Pistons. The Trailblazers are 7-0 ATS (6.6 ppg) since January 22, 2006 off a win of four points or fewer in which they held a 15+ lead.

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