NBA Odds and Predictions: Friday, February 27 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 2/26/2015
This late in the season, I figured every NBA coach was safe from being fired until the offseason. I mean, what's the point of dumping a guy with only 25 games left or so? Now I'm not so sure, mostly about Washington's Randy Wittman, a guy who has had only one good season there. His Wizards are in a complete tailspin and I might start getting my references ready if I'm Wittman. Especially is his team loses at Phillyon Friday. Here's a look at every game on the schedule.
Wizards at 76ers (+10, 192.5)
Washington lost its fifth straight and 10th in 12 on Wednesday, 97-77 at Minnesota. The Wolves are better, but losing by 20!? And after leading by 15 at one point? Paul Pierce sat with a bruised knee and Bradley Beal was out again with his foot injury, but Beal says he hopes to play Friday. I'm skeptical. Philly lost its fifth straight Wednesday, 104-88 at Milwaukee. The Sixers had just 12 first-quarter points, shooting 5-for-20 with nine turnovers, and the game was already over. Washington won the only meeting this season, 117-76 at home on Jan. 19. The Wizards, who had seven players in double figures, went on a 20-3 run for a 27-11 lead late in the first quarter and the Sixers pretty much laid down.
Key trends: The Wizards are 1-11 ATS in their past 12 after an ATS loss. The road team is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The "over/under" is 7-3 in the past 10 meetings.
Early lean: Sixers and under.
Cavaliers at Pacers (+6, 199.5)
Certainly major letdown possibilities here for Cleveland after hosting Golden State on Thursday. Indiana certainly will have fresh legs as it has been off since a 105-92 loss in Oklahoma City on Tuesday ended the Pacers' three-game winning streak. Rodney Stuckey, who had been averaging 25.3 points off the bench during the winning streak, finished with only five points. The Pacers and Cavs have split two meetings, each winning at home. Indiana upset Cleveland 103-99 on Feb. 6 to end Cleveland's season-high 12-game winning streak.
Key trends: Indiana is 4-0 ATS in its past four at home. The over is 4-0 in the Pacers' past four vs. the East.
Early lean: I'll take the points here. Go over.
Knicks at Pistons (-12.5, 195.5)
New York dropped its eighth straight on Wednesday, 115-94 at Boston. You know things are bad when Andrea Bargnani is your leading scorer, and he was for New York with 17 points. Detroit last played Tuesday, losing 102-93 at home to Cleveland despite leading by 14 in the third quarter. Reggie Jackson had 22 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in his second game with Detroit. Tayshaun Prince started at small forward in his first game as a Piston since he was traded to Memphis in January 2013. The Pistons are 2-0 vs. the Knicks, holding New York to an average of 88 points.
Key trends: The Pistons are 8-0 ATS in their past eight following an ATS loss. The under is 9-3 in New York's past 12 on the road.
Early lean: Pistons and under.
Magic at Hawks (-12.5, 199)
Orlando lost a crusher at home on Wednesday, 93-90 in OT to Miami. The Magic were up eight points with less than a minute to play. Now rookie forward Aaron Gordon is hurt again. He left late in the first half with a sprained right ankle and did not return. Atlanta won its second straight Wednesday, 104-87 over Dallas, which was missing three starters. The Hawks have the best record against the West in the NBA at 16-4. These two played a home-and-home in mid-December and the Hawks won 87-81 at home but lost the next night 100-99 in Orlando. Tobias Harris hit a 13-foot buzzer-beater to end Atlanta's nine-game winning streak at the time.
Key trends: The Magic are 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 4-0 in Atlanta's past four overall.
Early lean: Hawks and under.
Warriors at Raptors (pick'em, 214)
Tough second of a back-to-back for the Warriors as they were in Cleveland in one of the games of the year on Thursday. Toronto brings a three-game skid into this one, all on the road and not topping 92 points in any of them. Toronto is 12-10 against the Western Conference this season. The Raptors are one of six Eastern Conference teams with a .500-plus record against the West (Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, Cleveland and Milwaukee). However, the Raptors were pounded 126-109 in Golden State on Jan. 2. Steph Curry had 32 points and 12 assists, while Draymond Green finished with 16 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in his first career triple-double. DeMar DeRozan was out for Toronto.
Key trends: Toronto is 2-8 ATS in its past 10 at home vs. teams with a winning road record. The under is 10-1 in the Raptors' last 11 home games vs. teams with a winning road record.
Early lean: Raptors and under.
Hornets at Celtics (-4, 194.5)
Charlotte ended a five-game losing streak Wednesday, 98-86 in Chicago against a Bulls team clearly flat from the Derrick Rose injury. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 18 points and 12 rebounds. The plodding Hornets had 17 fast-break points, a season high. Boston won its second straight Wednesday by blasting the Knicks. New additions Jonas Jerebko (20 points) and Isaiah Thomas (19) led the C's in scoring. The Celtics outscored the Knicks 77-45 in the second half. Boston improved to 6-4 in February, guaranteeing the team's first winning record in a month since going 1-0 in October. If that even counts. Charlotte is 2-0 vs. Boston this season, winning each by nine points. The most recent (Jan. 5) was when the Hornets didn't have Al Jefferson and Lance Stephenson due to injury.
Key trends: Boston is 5-0 ATS in its past five vs. the East. The under is 6-0 in Charlotte's past six on the road.
Early lean: Hornets and under.
Clippers at Grizzlies (-4, 197)
L.A. lost its second straight Wednesday, 110-105 in Houston, which has won just two of the past 13 meetings. DeAndre Jordan continued putting up huge numbers with 22 points and 19 rebounds. Memphis was surprised at Sacramento on Wednesday, 102-90. Vince Carter missed his 10th consecutive game with a left foot tendon injury, and he won't play here. Memphis is 2-0 vs. the Clippers this season and has totally shut L.A.'s offense down. The Grizz beat the visiting Clips 90-87 on Monday. Memphis led by eight before L.A. went on a 7-0 run to close to 88-87. After Mike Conley stripped Chris Paul, he got fouled and made both. The game ended with Matt Barnes throwing the ball into the hands of Courtney Lee. Paul was great otherwise with 30 points and 10 assists.
Key trends: The Clippers are 1-9 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The under is 8-0 in Memphis' past eight at home.
Early lean: Grizzlies and under.
Nets at Rockets (TBA)
Brooklyn's two-game winning streak ended with a 102-96 loss in New Orleans on Wednesday. Jarrett Jack returned after missing two games with a hamstring injury and had 15 points. Houston won its third in a row Wednesday, 110-105 at home against the Clippers, ending a six-game skid against L.A. The Rockets opened the fourth quarter with a 15-1 run to take a 99-86 lead. James Harden had a bit of an off night, going 4-for-13, but did finish with 21 points and 10 assists. Houston starting point guard Pat Beverley missed his second straight game with flu-like symptoms. Harden was seen limping afterward (thus the TBA). Brooklyn lost at home to Houston 113-99 on Jan. 12 in a game that Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett (who was ejected) had a little skirmish. There will be no replay with Howard hurt and KG in Minnesota. Harden had 30 for the Rockets.
Key trends: The Rockets are 12-3 ATS in their past 15 vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 10-4 in Brooklyn's past 14 road games against teams with a winning home record.
Early lean: Wait on Harden, who didn't seem to be concerned.
Heat at Pelicans (+1.5, 195.5)
Miami staged a near-miracle rally to win 93-90 in OT in Orlando on Wednesday. The Heat were down eight with less than a minute left but then the Magic started missing free throws and giving the ball away. Hassan Whiteside had 15 points and 13 rebounds. New Orleans, again without three of its best players, beat Brooklyn 102-96 on Wednesday for its third straight win. Quincy Pondexter had a career-high 25 points. The Heat lost at home to New Orleans 105-91 last Saturday. Both Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson left that game with injuries, and they remain out. Eric Gordon had 24 points. That was Miami's first game with Goran Dragic and first since learning Chris Bosh was out for the season.
Key trends: Miami is 0-4 ATS in its past four vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 5-1 in the Pelicans' past six.
Early lean: Heat and over.
Timberwolves at Bulls (-5.5, 196.5)
Chicago played its first game without Derrick Rose on Wednesday, and clearly the players weren't into it, losing 98-86 at home to a struggling Charlotte team. Aaron Brooks moved into the starting lineup and had 12 points and four assists in 28 minutes. "We all were affected by it," Pau Gasol admitted of the Rose injury. Minnesota clearly was fired up by Kevin Garnett's debut back in a Wolves uniform as they pounded visiting Washington 97-77 on Wednesday. KG had five points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes. The 77 points allowed were a season-low for the Wolves. Chicago visited Minnesota way back on Nov. 1 and won 106-105. Jimmy Butler taught rookie Andrew Wiggins a lesson, drawing a foul on a jumper with 0.2 seconds left and then hitting the winning two free throws. No Rose in that game or Taj Gibson.
Key trends: The Bulls are 1-8 ATS in their past nine at home vs. teams with a losing road record. The over is 7-0 in Minnesota's past seven following an ATS win.
Early lean: Bulls and over.
Jazz at Nuggets (TBA)
Utah's two-game winning streak ended Wednesday, 100-97 at home to the putrid Lakers. The Jazz still haven't won three in a row this season. Rudy Gobert tied a career high with 16 points to go along with 14 rebounds and three blocks. Denver lost its fourth straight Wednesday, 110-96 at home to Phoenix. It was loss No. 8 in a row at home. The team record is 11. Denver was without Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler, and Darrell Arthur and promising rookie Jusuf Nurkic both left the game with injuries. Denver won the lone meeting so far, 103-101 in Utah on Dec. 1. The Jazz rallied from a 22-point deficit to tie in the final minutes, but Ty Lawson hit the key jumper with just under 30 seconds left. Utah big man Derrick Favors was out with an illness. That was back when Denver was playing well.
Key trends: The Jazz are 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Wait on all those Denver injuries.
Spurs at Kings (+5, 200.5)
San Antonio lost its fourth straight on Wednesday, and if the Spurs aren't careful they might slip to the No. 8 seed. They were beaten 111-95 in Portland. Tony Parker had another lousy game with just two points. He might be hurt. Sacramento improved to 2-1 under George Karl with Wednesday's 102-90 upset of Memphis. The Kings outscored the Grizzlies 26-13 in the fourth quarter. The Spurs and Kings have split two meetings, each winning at home. San Antonio had won nine straight and 21 of 22 in this series entering the season.
Key trends: The Spurs are 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings. The under has hit in the past four in Sacramento.
Early lean: Spurs and under.
Bucks at Lakers (+4, 194)
Milwaukee ended a two-game losing streak with a 104-88 home win against Philly on Wednesday. Michael Carter-Williams made his Bucks debut, against his former team, and had seven points and eight assists in 17 minutes. L.A. has won two straight, winning 100-97 in Utah on Wednesday despite using a laughable starting five of Ryan Kelly, Carlos Boozer, Robert Sacre, Wayne Ellington and Jordan Clarkson, who had a career-high 25 points. L.A. lost in Milwaukee 113-105 in overtime on Feb. 4. O.J. Mayo hit the tying 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left to send it into OT. Former Buck Brandon Knight had 12 of the Bucks' 19 points in OT. The Lakers didn't have big man Jordan Hill then.
Key trends: Milwaukee is 1-5 ATS in its past six after a win. The over is 5-0 in L.A.'s last five vs. teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Bucks and under.
Thunder at Trail Blazers (-4, 206)
Oklahoma City was in Phoenix on Thursday. Portland beat visiting San Antonio 111-95 on Wednesday to end a two-game slide. LaMarcus Aldridge returned after missing a game and had 11 points and 13 rebounds. Portland improved to 25-4 when leading after three quarters. Portland leads the season series with the Thunder 2-0, winning easily on opening night at home and then in late December 115-111 in OKC in overtime. In that one, both Damian Lillard, who hit the tying 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation, and Russell Westbrook each had 40 points. Westbrook missed a potential winner at the regulation buzzer. Kevin Durant didn't play in either game. The Blazers haven't won three straight in this series since 2008-09.
Key trends: Portland is 3-8 ATS in its past 11 Friday games. The under is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.
Early lean: Blazers and over.
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