This time next week it will be time for the all-star break. Most players will use that time to rest up and get ready for the second half of the season, while the league’s biggest stars will be on the floor in Houston. Over the course of a long year in the NBA, there will be a lot of streaks and slumps for each team. One thing readers who have kept track of his hot and cold report will notice is that some teams show up in almost every edition, while others are virtually never part of this report. The teams who don’t show up on either side of this list are more consistent, while the ones who do show up on this list frequently are the streaky teams to follow closely.
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Who’s streaking and who is slumping right now? Doc’s Sports will be posting an NBA Hot and Cold Report every two weeks this year to help you stay ahead of the game. Please note that statistics in this initial report are from games played between Jan. 25 and Feb. 7.
Top Five “Hot” ATS NBA Teams
-Indiana Pacers (6-1 ATS) The Indiana Pacers started the season off really slowly, but they are starting to play like I expected them to all year. Danny Granger will be back in the lineup soon, and that should give their offense a big spark. Paul George is quickly becoming one of the more versatile small forwards in the game. The Pacers had a rare back-to-back-to-back scheduling spot this past week. Conventional wisdom said they the Pacers would struggle in this spot. It turns out that the Pacers won all three games by double digits and easily covered the spread in each game.
-Boston Celtics (6-1 ATS) If you’re like me, you were a little surprised to see the Boston Celtics show up here after Rajon Rondo went down in late January. The Celtics have covered the number in five straight games since Rondo was injured. Boston certainly isn’t a better team without Rondo in the lineup, but this stretch does say a lot about the improved Celtics bench. Can Boston keep it up? Guys like Jeff Green, Jason Terry, and Courtney Lee are going to have to play at a very high level.
-Houston Rockets (6-1 ATS) At the beginning of this report I talked about teams who seem to show up on every edition, and the Houston Rockets are definitely one of those teams. Houston is never right in the middle of the pack. The Rockets are always red hot or cold as ice. Houston burst out of their slump with a massive 125-80 win at Utah on Jan. 28, and they haven’t looked back since.
-Denver Nuggets (5-1 ATS) A few weeks ago I predicted that the Denver Nuggets would go on a nice run thanks to a friendly schedule, and they have definitely been on fire of late. This is a dominating team on their home floor. They are playing much better defense than they used to, but they can still pile up the points. Last night, the Nuggets poured in 128 points against a Bulls defense that has been one of the best in the league all year. Denver finishes the first half with a four-game road trip.
-Dallas Mavericks (5-2 ATS) After going 6-0 against the number in the last two-week period, the Mavericks are again on the right side of the report at 5-2 this time around. Dallas has covered in eight of their last 10 games despite winning only five of those games. The Mavericks have had several close losses against top teams in the last few weeks. Dallas has four straight home contests to finish the first half, so they’ll look to gain some momentum in the standings.
Bottom Five “Cold” ATS NBA Teams
-Orlando Magic (1-6 ATS) Orlando has been really banged up of late, and the Magic simply haven’t even been competitive. The Magic have been playing without Glen Davis, Arron Afflalo, J.J. Redick, Hedo Turkoglu and others over the past few games. Orlando has scored 77 points or less in three of their last six games. Afflalo and Redick should be back soon. Will that be enough to perk up this offense?
-Milwaukee Bucks (2-6 ATS) Jim Boylan seemed to help this team in his first couple weeks on the job, but now the Bucks are slumping once again. Their offense that was firing on all cylinders just a couple weeks ago has been really inconsistent in the last few games. Look for Milwaukee to keep pushing the tempo under Boylan. Larry Sanders is dinged up right now, and the team really needs him healthy because of his presence in the paint on defense.
-Brooklyn Nets (2-5 ATS) Brooklyn is another one of those teams that seems to make a living on this report. When the Nets are playing their best basketball, they look like one of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. In the middle of their slumps, the Nets look like a very mediocre team. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson have to start shooting a higher percentage for this team to become more consistent.
-Minnesota Timberwolves (2-5 ATS) Minnesota has been slowed by injuries more than any other team in the NBA, so I’m hesitant to be really tough on this team. Ricky Rubio doesn’t seem like he is completely healthy yet, and the Timberwolves really miss Kevin Love’s presence in the post. The Timberwolves need to tighten up their defense a little to help compensate for offensive struggles.
-Sacramento Kings (2-5 ATS) The Kings have been on this side of the report pretty often this year. Sacramento has only covered the number 19 times this year, which is second worst in the NBA. Is the team moving to Seattle or staying in Sacramento? Can this team with young talent ever improve its chemistry and work together as a unit? There are far more questions than answers for the Kings at this point.
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