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NBA Betting and Handicapping: Scouting The Week Ahead
by Alan Matthews - 2/6/2012

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New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire

Because I try to be a glass half-full type of guy, the good news for the New York Knicks is that they have a chance on Monday night vs. Utah for their first back-to-back wins since early January.

But that’s about it for the good news.

New York won’t have Amare Stoudemire on Monday night and perhaps for a few more games after Stoudemire’s brother was killed in a car accident in Florida early Monday morning. Amare Stoudemire, who was a prep star in Florida, left the team to be with his family. And for those Knicks fans and backers who were hoping that Baron Davis was going to be the team’s salvation at point guard, think again.

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Davis reportedly had a setback with his back issue and is now out indefinitely – for sure until after the all-star break. There had been hope Davis could make his Knicks debut by the end of last month but because of a herniated disc issue it continues to be pushed back and now Coach Mike D’Antoni said he doesn’t know when to expect him.

Now your new point guard in New York is former waiver wire pickup Jeremy Lin, who couldn’t even stick with the Warriors or Rockets and has spent time in the D-League. Lin, the first NBA player from Harvard in 58 years and only the fourth American-born Asian to play in the league, starred in Saturday’s win over the Nets with 25 points, seven assists and the crowd at MSG chanting his name. Lin will make his first NBA start on Monday against the Jazz and has been anointed the starter by D’Antoni.

However, don’t make light of the news out of Phoenix that the Suns would be willing to trade star point guard Steve Nash if he asked for a deal. Nash can be a free agent after this season and many expected he would sign with the Knicks as he has a home in New York. And obviously Nash thrived under D’Antoni when he was coach of the Suns. Unfortunately for the Knicks, they don’t have much to offer in a trade after gutting their roster for Carmelo Anthony last season.

Previewing the week

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been pretty good to their backers at 14-10 ATS overall and 7-3 ATS on the road, tied for the fewest ATS road losses in the league. But the Timberwolves might not be a good bet at home Tuesday vs. Sacramento or Wednesday at Memphis as all-star power forward Kevin Love will miss those two games.

Love, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, is suspended for those two games for stomping on Rockets forward Luis Scola's face in their game on Saturday. Love said it was unintentional, but it sure looked like it was on purpose. Minnesota still will be a solid favorite on Tuesday but lean toward the ‘under’ there now. The Timberwolves are 5-9 at home on the over/under this season as it is and the Kings are among the NBA’s worst O/U teams at 8-15 and 2-11 on the road.

Also keep an eye on the San Antonio Spurs this week as they could get back star swingman Manu Ginobili. San Antonio begins its annual rodeo road trip on Monday against Memphis and finishes the nine-game trip Feb. 23 against Denver. Ginobili has been out since Jan. 2 when he fractured the fifth metacarpal in his left hand but is expected to return to the lineup before the trip ends. The Spurs are 13-7 without Manu entering Monday. After Monday’s trip to Memphis they are at Philly on Wednesday and New Jersey on Saturday. The Spurs are 4-7 ATS on the road this season.

The TNT Thursday doubleheader this week is headlined by the opener between the Lakers and Celtics in Boston. It’s the first meeting of the season between the rivals – I will preview that game here at Doc’s. It’s a rare Thursday game where both teams will have had at least one day off beforehand. The Lakers have been a disaster on the road at 3-8 overall and 3-8 ATS – they then visit the Knicks in another national TV game on Friday night before finishing a six-game trip on Sunday in Toronto.

The Celtics (13-10 overall, 12-11 ATS) seem to be finding themselves, having won four in a row entering Tuesday’s likely win at home against terrible Charlotte. Paul Pierce will pass Larry Bird, no doubt, on Tuesday for second all-time in Celtics scoring history. Pierce is currently nine points behind “Larry Legend”. Charlotte is an NBA-worst 1-13 on the road this season (5-9 ATS).

With the NFL season now in the books, ABC will start its weekly national showcase games on Sundays and this week that’s the Bulls visiting the Celtics. Chicago is clearly a very different team with Luol Deng in the lineup. He had 21 points in Saturday’s win over Milwaukee after missing the previous seven games with a torn ligament in his non-shooting wrist. Deng's injury will not get better until he has surgery, so his effectiveness may change from game-to-game depending on how much pain he is in and able to tolerate. The Bulls are 16-3 with him and 4-3 without him.

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