NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, February 21

NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, February 21

Thursday Tips
By Kevin Rogers
VegasInsider.com

The two games on the Thursday NBA card involve rematches of playoff series over the last two seasons. The Spurs swept out the Clippers in the second round of the 2012 postseason, while the Heat eliminated the Bulls in five games of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. So far this season, the losing clubs from those series have exacted revenge with victories in the opening matchups. Will that trend keep up on Thursday night?

Heat at Bulls

Miami makes its first trip to the Windy City this season as the Heat plays with no rest on Thursday. The defending champions are coming off Wednesday's contest at Atlanta, while looking to avenge an earlier loss to the Bulls. Chicago is fighting tooth-and-nail atop the Central Division with Indiana, as the Bulls enter Thursday's action just 1½ games out of first place.

The Bulls are coming off a 96-87 victory at New Orleans to start the second half, while easily cashing as one-point road favorites. The Chicago frontcourt stepped up as Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, and Joakim Noah combined to score 52 points and pull down 32 rebounds in the win. In spite of two low-scoring quarters in the second and fourth, a 52-point third quarter helped push the game 'over' the total of 181½. That contest ended a stretch of eight games in nine different cities since January 30 for Chicago, but the Bulls head back to the highway for road matchups with Charlotte (Friday) and Oklahoma City (Sunday).

The last time the Heat faced the Bulls in South Florida, Chicago pulled out a 96-89 triumph as 7½-point underdogs on January 4. Boozer owned the paint with 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting, while LeBron James led all scorers with 30 points. However, past James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, the rest of the Heat supporting cast scored just 23 points in the loss. The victory by Chicago was the first at the American Airlines Arena since March 2011, improving to 2-9 in the last 11 trips to Miami.

Tom Thibodeau's club has won five of their last seven games away from the Windy City, while posting a 2-3 ATS record as a home underdog this season. The Heat is rolling on the highway after a slow start by winning and cashing in six of the past nine contests on the road.

Spurs at Clippers

Los Angeles couldn't figure out San Antonio last May in the playoffs, but the Clippers found a way to beat the Spurs twice already this season. These two teams could be on a collision course to meet again in the playoffs this spring, but the Clippers will have to prove that the two November victories over San Antonio was not a fluke.

The Clips dominated the Spurs in the first matchup since the playoff sweep in a 106-84 rout on November 7. Seven Clippers scored in double-figures, while L.A shot a blistering 55% from the floor as Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan combined to put up 42 points. Tony Parker was limited to only four points on 2-of-7 shooting as the Spurs converted 41% of their shots from the field.

San Antonio built a 10-point lead early in the next meeting on November 19 at home, but the Clippers outscored the Spurs, 29-14 in the second quarter to take the lead for good in a 92-87 triumph. Los Angeles cashed outright as 4 ½-point road 'dogs, despite shooting 1-of-12 from three-point range and missing eight free throws. The Spurs struggled again from the floor by hitting just 35% of their field goal attempts.

The Spurs continue their never-ending Rodeo trip in which Gregg Popovich's club has won five of the first six contests of a nine-game swing. San Antonio failed to cover in each of the last two victories at Cleveland and Sacramento, but the Spurs did grab a win in their lone opportunity as an underdog at Chicago on February 11.

The Clippers have won 16 of their last 18 home games dating back to Thanksgiving, but L.A. owns a 1-5 ATS record the previous six trips to the home court. Vinny Del Negro's team has allowed less than 100 points in seven of the last 10 home contests, while the 'over' is 5-5 in this span.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, February 21

NBA TNT Doubleheader: Heat at Bulls, Spurs at Clippers
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Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls (+2.5, 186.5)

The streaking Miami Heat sent a loud message to the rest of the league with a dominating road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in their final game before the All-Star break. The Heat made another statement with a scintillating comeback in Atlanta on Wednesday night and will carry a season-high, eight-game winning streak into Thursday night's matchup at the Chicago Bulls. Miami blitzed the Hawks with 40 points in the fourth quarter to erase a 10-point deficit and notch their fifth straight win by double digits.

Chicago has played eight of its last nine away from home and will hit the road for two more games following Thursday's matchup. The Bulls rebounded from an ugly offensive performance in a 71-69 loss at Boston prior to the break with a solid effort in a 96-87 win at New Orleans on Tuesday night. While Derrick Rose continues to practice and make steady progress in his comeback from knee surgery, the return of point guard Kirk Hinrich gave Chicago its starting lineup intact for the first time in eight games.

ABOUT THE HEAT (37-14, 27-24-0 ATS): Miami typically relies on LeBron James and running mates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but the bench made the difference in Wednesday's win at Atlanta. Ray Allen and Shane Battier combined for 24 points and five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as the Heat shot a blistering 14 of 18 overall during the final 12 minutes. Battier was 5-of-8 from behind the arc to continue a torrid six-game stretch that has seen him connect on 60 percent (21 of 35) of his 3-point attempts. Allen is averaging 14 points in his last three games after failing to top seven points in his previous six outings.

ABOUT THE BULLS (31-22, 23-30-0 ATS): Rose practiced 5-on-5 for the second time this week but coach Tom Thibodeau said there is no timetable for his star point guard's return. Hinrich handed out 10 assists in his return to the lineup and provided a smoother offensive flow. "He's a huge part of what we do, and it just feels good to have Kirk back," center Joakim Noah said. "What he brings to our team, it's hard to measure." Noah, who missed three games earlier this month while battling a foot injury, has registered three double-doubles in the last four games, including a 15-point, 17-rebound effort vs. New Orleans.

TRENDS:

* Under is 5-1 in the last six meetings.
* Under is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings in Chicago.
* Heat are 6-14-2 ATS in the last 22 meetings in Chicago.
* Heat are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.

BUZZER BEATERS:

1. Chicago won at Miami 96-89 on Jan. 4 and has taken the last four home matchups with the Heat.

2. James had his franchise-record streak of 30-point games snapped at seven Wednesday night.

3. Heat F Mike Miller sat out Wednesday due to ear and sinus infections and backup C Chris Andersen sprained his foot in the game.


San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers (-3, 200)

Fresh off his MVP performance in Sunday’s NBA All-Star game, Chris Paul will be trying to guide the Los Angeles Clippers to a fifth straight win when they host the Western Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs on Thursday. The Clippers have had a full week off since demolishing the Los Angeles Lakers and are hoping their momentum carries through the long break. The Spurs got back to their rodeo road trip on Tuesday and have won four straight.

San Antonio has won 15 of its last 16 games to ascend to the top of the West but has had a tough time against Los Angeles in two previous meetings. The Clippers handed the Spurs their worst loss of the season 106-84 in Los Angeles on Nov. 7 and suffered a rare home loss to the Clippers 92-87 only 12 days later. Los Angeles has looked dangerous since Paul returned to full health before the break and have won by an average of 16.3 points during their four-game winning streak.

ABOUT THE SPURS (43-12, 30-23-2 ATS): San Antonio is 5-1 through the first six games of its nine-game road trip and has been at its best against the better teams on the trip in double-digit victories over the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets. The Spurs showed a tendency to play down to the level of competition on the rest of the stops, including a loss at Detroit, a one-point victory at Cleveland and a 108-102 victory in Sacramento on Tuesday. All-Star Tony Parker has become an even bigger part of the offense recently and is averaging 29 points and nine assists in his last five games. Parker has scored at least 20 points in 12 of his last 13 starts to help the Spurs cover over some nagging injuries to the likes of Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. All three of San Antonio’s stars should be healthy and ready to go on Thursday.

ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (39-17, 31-25-0 ATS): Paul collected 20 points and 15 assists in Sunday’s All-Star game and seemed to be in complete control of a Western Conference roster that also included Parker, Duncan, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. The All-Star point guard’s return to full health after a knee injury has been the biggest reason for Los Angeles’ latest surge. Paul had 24 points and 13 assists in last Thursday’s 125-101 drubbing of the Lakers and has averaged 10.5 assists during the four-game winning streak. The Clippers have been one of the most talked-about teams in advance of Thursday’s trade deadline but reportedly are not looking to move backup point guard Eric Bledsoe or center DeAndre Jordan - the two pieces most coveted by potential trading partners.

TRENDS:

* Under is 19-4-1 in the last 24 meetings in Los Angeles.
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Spurs are 10-4 ATS in the last 14 meetings in Los Angeles.
* Spurs are 14-6 ATS in the last 20 meetings.

BUZZER BEATERS:

1. Parker has been held to a total of 15 points in the two losses to the Clippers this season.

2. Paul has averaged 19.3 points and 8.4 assists in 26 career games against San Antonio.

3. Los Angeles is 21-5 at home and has won its last three at Staples Center, including last week’s win as the road team against the Lakers.

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