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NBA's Fastest and Slowest Starters to the Season

NBA's Fastest and Slowest Starters to the Season

NBA's Fastest and Slowest Starters to the Season
By Jason Logan

The Los Angeles Lakers have stumbled out of the blocks to start one of the most anticipated seasons in the franchise’s storied history.

Despite the additions of Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison, The Lakers are 0-2 headed into Friday’s date with the rival Los Angeles Clippers. However, while the NBA world has been captivated by the Lakers’ early troubles, it’s the Clippers basketball bettors should worry about.

The “other” L.A. team is historically a slow starter, going just 65-81-4 ATS (64-86 SU) in the month of November the since 2000-01 season.

Here’s a look at the best and worst teams out of the blocks, looking at November records from 2000-01 to 2010-11 (last year the lockout-shortened season started in December).

NBA’s fastest starters

Detroit Pistons (86-65-2 ATS, 90-63 SU in November since 2000-01)

The Pistons are expected to stay in the middle of the road in the Central Division. But with Derrick Rose out for Chicago, Detroit could put itself in the running with another strong November showing. Two years ago, the Pistons posted a 10-5 ATS mark in November (9-6 SU). That record could be hard to top in 2012, with the schedule makers doing Detroit no favors and handing it a six-game Western road trip right off the bat. There could be value with the Pistons getting the points on the left side of the country.

San Antonio Spurs (83-64-5 ATS, 107-45 SU in November since 2000-01)

It wouldn’t be a “best bets” list without the Spurs and their money-making ways. San Antonio doesn’t waste time finding its form in the early stages of the schedule. A consistent core of superstars and solid role players – not to mention the infinite wisdom of Gregg Popovich – has allowed the Spurs to get down to business without many hiccups in November. San Antonio looks like it’s ready for another strong start after knocking off Oklahoma City in dramatic fashion Thursday.

Indiana Pacers (84-68-2 ATS, 90-64 SU in November since 2000-01)

Indiana was a monster against the spread in the early 2000s, leaning on a reliable veteran corps. Things have taken a step back in recent years, with the franchise in transition following the retirement of Reggie Miller, but happy times may be here again for Pacers backers in November. In 2011, Indiana went 8-5 ATS (7-6 SU) in November. Last season, with the schedule opening in December, the Pacers won their first three (2-1 ATS) and were 5-3 ATS through the first eight games. They could be back on the same track, opening 2012 with a win over Toronto on Halloween.

NBA’s slowest starters

Miami Heat (61-92-3 ATS, 65-91 SU in November since 2000-01)

Two years ago, following the formation of the “Big 3”, the Heat opened the season with a 2-12 ATS mark in November, going 7-7 SU. With such a turnover in talent and mixing three guys who were used to being the focal point of the offense, Miami struggled to be a cohesive unit. But even before LeBron took his talents to South Beach, the Heat were a dismal early-season bet. They went 2-11 ATS in 2001-02 and 4-11 ATS in 2004-05, the year they got Shaquille O’Neal. The 2012 defending champion Heat are always a tough bet – no matter the month – thanks to the inflated spreads and public perception.

Washington Wizards (59-88-1 ATS, 54-94 SU in November since 2000-01)

It’s never a good time to bet on the Wizards, especially this season with star guard John Wall out of action until late November. Washington has managed to cover in just under 40 percent of its November games since 2000-01. Even two seasons with Michael Jordon on the roster – in which the team went a combined 8-18 ATS and 9-17 SU – couldn’t help bettors cover with the Wiz. Washington lost its season opener to Cleveland and plays four of its next six on the road.

Los Angeles Clippers (65-81-4 ATS, 64-86 ATS in November since 2000-01)

The Clippers were a bad team for many, many years. But even their resurgence in recent seasons hasn’t helped their loyal backers. Los Angeles did however go 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS in its first 10 games of the shortened 2011-12 season with new point guard Chris Paul at the wheel and got this year off on the right foot with a win and cover over Memphis on Oct. 31. The Clippers play just two road games in their first eight contests, and one of those is against the Lakers. All the Staples Center crew has to do is flip the floor boards.

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