NBA Odds and Predictions: Wednesday, February 25 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 2/24/2015
There hasn't been much reason for fans in Minneapolis to see their awful Timberwolves this season in person, but you can expect a sellout on Wednesday as the fans welcome back the greatest player in franchise history, Kevin Garnett. He's expected to finally make his debut after being acquired from Brooklyn last week. Don't be surprised if KG is part of a group that buys the Wolves here in the few years as well. Here's a look at every game on Wednesday's schedule.
Heat at Magic (+1.5, 192.5)
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Miami beat visiting Philadelphia 119-108 on Monday as Goran Dragic had his best game since being acquired from Phoenix with 23 points and 10 assists, with Miami setting a season high in points. Hassan Whiteside added 12 points and 14 rebounds for Miami, which shot 55 percent. . Miami's previous season high for points was 114, at Philadelphia on Nov. 1. Orlando also comes off a win against visiting Philly, 103-98 on Sunday for its third straight victory. Nik Vucevic dominated with 31 points and 14 rebounds. Tobias Harris returned to the lineup after missing three games with a bruised knee. It's the first three-game winning streak this season for the Magic, who I think will be a playoff team next year. The Heat and Magic have split two meetings.
Key trends: The road team is 5-0-1 against the spread in the past six meetings. The "over/under" has gone over in six of the past eight meetings.
Early lean: Magic and over.
Knicks at Celtics (-10, 194)
New York takes the court for the first time since team president Phil Jackson ripped the team on Twitter -- but isn't it Jackson who put this team together? The Knicks have lost seven straight, last on the court in an 18-point home loss to Cleveland on Sunday. Boston ended a two-game slide with Monday's 115-110 win at Phoenix. Former Sun Isaiah Thomas had eight of his 21 points in the final 1:37. The team was again without second-year center Kelly Olynyk, and he's questionable here. The Knicks and Celtics have split two meetings.
Key trends: The road team is 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings. The under is 6-1 in New York's past seven on the road.
Early lean: Celtics shouldn't be -10 against anyone. Take the Knicks and over.
Mavericks at Hawks (-6.5, 203)
Dallas was at home against Toronto on Tuesday. Chandler Parsons was going to miss that one with a sprained ankle and won't play here, either. That means Richard Jefferson starts. He hasn't been good in about seven years. Atlanta won at Milwaukee 97-86 on Sunday for just its second win in the past five games. Paul Millsap had 23 points and 16 rebounds. The Hawks won 105-102 on Dec. 22 at Dallas. Dennis Schroder had a career-high 22 points and Millsap 13 points and 12 rebounds. Schroder started because Jeff Teague was out.
Key trends: Atlanta is 8-1 ATS in its past nine home games vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 4-0 in Dallas' past four in the second of a back-to-back.
Early lean: Hawks and over.
Wizards at Timberwolves (+1, 202)
Washington had lost three straight and six of eight entering Tuesday's home game with Golden State. It doesn't appear that guard Bradley Beal will be returning for either that game or this one from his leg injury. Perhaps this weekend. Let's be clear that I don't think Garnett helps the Wolves on the court at all unless it's in a mentor role for Andrew Wiggins. Minnesota dropped its third in four games on Monday, 113-102 at Houston. Wiggins had 30 points and six assists, while rookie Adriean Payne, acquired from Atlanta, made the first start of his NBA career and had 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Wolves lost at Washington 109-95 on Dec. 16.
Key trends: The Wizards are 1-7 ATS in their past eight on the road. The over is 6-1 in Minnesota's past seven vs. the East. Washington is 0-4 ATS in its past four at Minnesota.
Early lean: Minnesota and over.
Nets at Pelicans (+1.5, 193)
I don't see New Orleans having a shot at the playoffs with Anthony Davis out 1-2 weeks, Ryan Anderson 2-4 and Jrue Holiday at least two more. Yet the Pelicans did beat visiting Toronto 100-97 on Monday without those guys, rallying from an 18-point hole. Luke Babbitt (Luke Babbitt!) led New Orleans with 18 points. Newly-acquired Norris Cole added 15. New Orleans won for the first time in five home games. Brooklyn won its second straight on Monday, 110-82 in Denver. Brook Lopez led seven Nets in double figures with 19 points, while new addition Thaddeus Young had another solid game with 15 points. He was acquired for Garnett. Guard Jarrett Jack missed his second consecutive game because of a sore left hamstring. First meeting of the season between the Nets and Pelicans.
Key trends: The Nets are 2-6 ATS in their past eight after a win. New Orleans is 1-4 ATS in its past five at home. The over is 10-1 in the Pelicans' past 11 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Nets and over.
76ers at Bucks (-12, 193.5)
Milwaukee lost at Chicago on Monday again playing without big trade addition Michael Carter-Williams, but the 2013-14 NBA Rookie of the Year is likely to make his debut here. The Bucks have dropped two of three since they shipped leading scorer Brandon Knight to Phoenix in a three-team trade last Thursday. Philly lost its fourth straight Monday in Miami, 119-108. Other than Nerlens Noel, I honestly don't know who most of these guys are at this point. The 76ers are now 1-31 when allowing 99 or more points. The Bucks are 2-0 vs. the Sixers this season.
Key trends: The Bucks are 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 10-1 in Philly's past 11 on Wednesday.
Early lean: 76ers and under.
Clippers at Rockets (-3.5, 215)
Houston won its second straight Monday, 113-102 over visiting Minnesota. James Harden had his second triple-double of the season with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Harden and Hakeem Olajuwon are the only players to score 30 points in a triple-double in Rockets franchise history. Olajuwon did it five times. Starting point guard Patrick Beverley was out with flu-like symptoms. The Clippers' four-game winning streak ended with Monday's 90-87 home loss to Memphis. L.A. hadn't scored less than 110 points in any of those previous four games. Chris Paul had 30 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, but lost the ball with 1.9 seconds left.
Key trends: The Clippers have covered six straight meetings. The under is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Clippers and under.
Hornets at Bulls (-9, 188)
Charlotte lost its fifth straight game Sunday, 92-81 in Dallas. Mo Williams led Charlotte in scoring for the second time in two games since being acquired from Minnesota ahead of the trade deadline. He scored 22 points. Al Jefferson grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds but scored only eight points on 4-for-16 shooting. Chicago won for the sixth time in seven games Monday, 87-71 over the Bucks. That despite Derrick Rose going 1-for-13 from the field. Tony Snell continued his fine play with 20 points. The Bulls were without their two top reserves, Taj Gibson and Kirk Hinrich, due to illness. Chicago is 1-0 vs. Charlotte this season.
Key trends: The Hornets are 4-1 ATS in their past five in Chicago. The under has hit in eight of the past 11 meetings.
Early lean: Bulls and under.
Suns at Nuggets (+4, 214)
Phoenix is free-falling, having lost five straight and eight of nine. The opposition has scored at least 111 points in the past four games. Brandon Knight, acquired from Milwaukee last Thursday, had 20 points in a loss to Boston in his first start for his new team. Swingman Gerald Green did not play for the Suns despite not being injured. He's clearly in the doghouse. Denver lost its third straight and ninth in the past 10 on Monday, 110-82 vs. Brooklyn. The Nuggets also have lost seven straight at home, matching their longest losing streak at the Pepsi Center since dropping seven straight from Feb. 6 to March 2, 2003. Wilson Chandler was held out because of soreness in his left groin. The Nuggets and Suns have split two games.
Key trends: The Suns are 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 4-0 in the past four.
Early lean: Denver and over.
Lakers at Jazz (-9, 192)
Utah comes off a surprising 90-81 home win over San Antonio on Monday, the Jazz's fourth win in five games. Rudy Gobert continued his emergence with seven points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Thanks largely to his tremendous defense, the Jazz have held their last five opponents under 100 points. L.A. ended a six-game slide Sunday, 118-111 in OT against Boston. Jeremy Lin had a season-high 25 points as the Lakers won for only the second time in 18 games. The Lakers haven't won in regulation since Jan. 9. Utah won the only meeting with the Lakers thus far.
Key trends: L.A. has failed to cover its past nine vs. the West. The under is 7-2 in Utah's last nine at home.
Early lean: Lakers and under.
Grizzlies at Kings (+6, 198.5)
Memphis won its second straight tough road game, 90-87 at the Clippers on Monday. The Grizzlies are now 15-3 since acquiring Jeff Green from Boston. He had 16 against the Clips. Reserve swingman Vince Carter missed his ninth straight game for Memphis due to a left foot injury. The Kings were crushed 126-99 at the Clippers on Saturday in their last game and are 1-1 under George Karl. Point guard Darren Collison missed his fourth straight game with a hip injury. He might play here. Memphis is 2-0 vs. Sacramento this season.
Key trends: The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings. The road team has covered the last five.
Early lean: Grizzlies and under.
Spurs at Trail Blazers (TBA)
San Antonio dropped its third straight Monday, 90-81 at Utah. The Spurs committed a season-high 22 turnovers, leading to 17 Utah points. Tony Parker had just five points along with five turnovers. Portland lost its second straight, 98-92 at home vs. Memphis on Sunday. Portland blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead. LaMarcus Aldridge was a late scratch for the Blazers because of a right thumb sprain. He's day-to-day, thus the TBA. Arron Afflalo made his Blazers debut in that loss and had eight points in 24 minutes. The Blazers are 2-1 vs. San Antonio this season.
Key trends: The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
Early lean: Wait on Aldridge.
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