NBA Betting and Handicapping: Scouting The Week Ahead
by Alan Matthews - 2/13/2012
I absolutely refuse to mention any headline variation of Jeremy Lin-sanity in this week’s NBA preview.
Yeah, the last thing I wanted to do was lead with the Knicks again and the media sensation that Lin has become in leading New York to five straight wins. Actually, the Knicks were at one point one of the worst teams to back in the NBA but have covered an amazing eight straight games to improve to 13-15 overall ATS entering Tuesday’s matchup at Toronto.
That game will also mark the return of Amare Stoudemire. He has been out since last Monday due to the death of his brother in a car accident. It doesn’t appear that Carmelo Anthony will be back Tuesday (or Wednesday) – Melo has been sidelined with a groin injury. The question is: How can those two superstars mesh with Lin? How hilarious would that sentence have sounded just a week ago?
New York is averaging 11 more points per 48 minutes with Lin on the floor. The Knicks' shooting percentage is up five percent higher with Lin. Stoudemire would seem to thrive with Lin as Lin has a similar style to what Steve Nash played in Phoenix with Stoudemire (i.e. the pick and roll). Anthony, however, is an isolation guy so that could be a problem whenever he gets back.
Carmelo didn’t practice Monday and isn’t likely to return before Friday’s game with New Orleans. I wouldn’t look for Anthony before Sunday’s national TV game with Dallas, frankly, and it wouldn’t shock me if the team held him out until after the all-star break (if he comes back and plays he can’t sit the All-Star Game out; if he’s out injured before that game, he doesn’t have to play).
Time to worry about Bulls?
Monday could be a huge day for the Chicago Bulls as reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose is seeing a back specialist in Chicago after sitting out a second straight game on Sunday, a loss in Boston. Rose said his back has been bothering him since the start of the Bulls' nine-game road trip, which began Jan. 29 in Miami. It ended with Sunday’s loss.
Chicago has played only 10 home games so far (9-1 overall but just 5-5 ATS) and begins a six-game homestand on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings. I would be shocked to see Rose play in that one since Chicago doesn’t need him to beat Sacramento and will be a double-digit favorite regardless, but I can almost guarantee he plays on Thursday in the TNT opener against Boston after what Rajon Rondo did do the Bulls on Sunday. When Rose sits, it can affect Chicago’s line by up to four points. Look for a Celtics-Bulls preview here at Doc’s on Wednesday.
Who is the worst of the worst?
Seriously, name me the three members of the Charlotte Bobcats or New Orleans Hornets right now. Yeah, didn’t think so. Those two clubs have combined to lose 22 straight between them, with the Bobcats seriously threatening to be the NBA’s worst-ever team at 3-24 and on a 14-game losing streak. Not that New Orleans, at 4-23, is any better.
At least Charlotte is consistent, ranking last in both points scored per game and points allowed per game. The Bobcats lost to the Clippers, 111-86 at home on Saturday, one night after suffering a 95-64 home loss to the Bulls. Charlotte is the first team in NBA history to lose home games by at least 25 points on two consecutive days. The Bobcats have failed to reach 100 points in each of those 14 straight games (4-10 ATS), with the ‘under’ hitting in nine of them. The losing streak is tied for the fifth-longest such losing streak in NBA history. The record is 17 by the 1995-96 Grizzlies.
Charlotte’s winning percentage (.125) equals that of the NBA's all-time worst -- the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who finished 9-72. The Bobcats are on pace to finish this year's lockout-shortened 66-game schedule with eight wins.
In case you are curious, circle March 12 on your schedule. Bobcats at Hornets – must-see TV! Actually, I think the Bobcats end their skid on Friday at Toronto.
New Orleans, meanwhile, isn’t exactly making prospective buyers drool – the team is currently owned by the NBA. It has one win since Jan. 11 and that was over Orlando when the Magic were in-fighting because of Dwight Howard’s trade demands. The Hornets are an NBA-worst 2-14 at home (4-12 ATS) entering Monday’s game with Utah. So maybe it’s a good thing that New Orleans starts a six-game road trip on Wednesday in Milwaukee.
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