Playing the NBA Stock Market: Buy or Sell
by Josh Nagel - 01/12/2009
As the NBA all-star break fast approaches, the thought of the annual mid-season affair seems to send teams darting in one of two directions - up or down.
Teams that sprinted out of the gate hit the wall a little and, with some rest in sight, start to stumble toward the finish line. Whereas some of the league's downtrodden clubs want to have some sort of momentum to take into the second half, and they have a habit of picking up their performances right before the break.
Here is a look at a little of each in this week's Buy or Sell:
Orlando Magic - The Magic are one of the few elite teams that have not slowed down as the break nears. In fact, they keep getting better, their recent run resulting in the Eastern Conference's best record at 30-8. The Magic have won eight of their last 10, including four of six on the road, and covered seven times in that span.
Oklahoma City Thunder - The Thunder quickly are threatening to become the most profitable bad team in NBA history. Despite just a 6-32 overall clip, with half of those wins coming in the past week, the Thunder are a delightful 24-14 ATS and have covered in eight of their past 10 games.
Minnesota Timberwolves - Another club that has unlimited room for improvement, the Timberwolves are starting to show some by winning seven times in their last 10 outings. They have an 8-1-1 ATS clip during this run.
Dallas Mavericks - The good news for Mavericks fans is that the team is playing much more defense than it used to, a hallmark of a Rick Carlisle-coached club. While having the league's 15th-ranked defense is respectable, the bad news is the Mavs are scoring at a lower pace as well. They have had a hard time hitting the number of late, with five straight non-cashes and just three in their last 10 games.
Houston Rockets - The bi-polar Rockets are in the throes of another one of their downslides and, given their propensity for inconsistency and injuries, it's probably best to stay away for a while. Their 3-7 mark ATS in their last 10 includes a five-game losing streak at the cage while going 5-5 overall.
Atlanta Hawks - The Hawks are another team that appear to have a case of the all-star blues, following up a five-game winning streak by losing four of their past five. They have left bettors empty-handed in five consecutive outings as well.