I really don't know how much a Russian publication knows about the NBA, but there was a report over there that Nets coach Lionel Hollins is close to being fired -- of course, the Nets' owner is Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov. Not sure what would be the point of firing Hollins as the Nets wouldn't be any better if Phil Jackson was their coach. GM Billy King (now there's a guy who should be fired) gave his coach a vote of confidence on Tuesday. That's never a good thing. King did say he thinks the Nets will be active in trades; don't look for a move until after Dec. 15, when free agents who were signed during the offseason become eligible to be traded. Not like Brooklyn has much other teams would want, but the team would like to get back in the first round of the 2016 draft as it owes its current pick to Boston.
76ers at Nets (-7, 194.5)
Plenty of good seats available for this one! Probably the biggest the Nets will be favored all season as well. Brooklyn ended a two-game losing streak with a 110-105 win over Houston on Tuesday to sweep the season series with the Rockets for the first time in 14 years. Brooklyn set season highs for assists (27) and field-goal percentage (55.6) and had three players score at least 20 points -- Brook Lopez (24), Joe Johnson (22) and Thaddeus Young (20) -- for the first time this season. The Nets' starting five combined to score a season-high 95 points. The 76ers were embarrassed 119-68 on Monday by San Antonio, which rested three of its best players. Jahlil Okafor returned from a two-game suspension but came off the bench (possibly because he was ill) and was just 3-for-14 for 10 points. The Nets won three of four against Philadelphia last season.
Key trends: Philadelphia is 7-3 against the spread in its past 10 in Brooklyn. The "over/under" has gone under is six straight meetings overall.
Early lean: Sixers and under.
Clippers at Bulls (-1.5, 203.5)
This is the first game of the TNT doubleheader and will have live betting at sportsbooks. Rare matchup between Chris Paul and Derrick Rose considering Rose's injury history. The Clippers were in Milwaukee on Wednesday trying for a three-game winning streak and Chicago in Boston looking to avoid a three-game losing streak. The Clippers have won eight of the past 11 meetings, but they split last year, each winning on the road. In fact, the Bulls have lost five straight at home in the series. Their last home win vs. L.A. was a 115-109 overtime victory on Dec. 17, 2008.
Key trends: The Bulls are 2-5 ATS in their past seven in the second of a back-to-back. The under is 4-1 in L.A.'s past five in the second of a back-to-back. The favorite is 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings.
Early lean: Clippers and over as long as nothing major happens to either team Wednesday.
Hawks at Thunder (-7.5, 210)
Atlanta was in Dallas on Wednesday night. Oklahoma City has won two straight and comes off perhaps its most impressive outing of the season (and one I didn't see coming), a 125-88 destruction of the Grizzlies in Memphis on Tuesday. Kevin Durant had 32 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, while Russell Westbrook had 13 points and 16 assists (one shy of career high). They sat out the fourth quarter with a huge lead. Oklahoma City lost in Atlanta 106-100 on Nov. 30. Westbrook had 17 fourth-quarter points but also had a crucial late turnover. In addition to that, Oklahoma City made just one of its last five shots. Paul Millsap had 26 points and 11 rebounds, Jeff Teague 25 points and Al Horford 21 points and 13 rebounds. Durant had 25 points. OKC is 4-2 at home vs. Atlanta since moving there permanently.
Key trends: Oklahoma City is 1-6 ATS in its past seven home games. The under is 7-0 in the Thunder's past seven vs. the East. The over is 5-0 in the past five meetings in OKC.
Early lean: Thunder and over.
Knicks at Kings (-4, 206)
New York was in Utah on Wednesday. Sacramento ended a three-game losing streak with a 114-106 home win over Utah on Tuesday. DeMarcus Cousins had 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists; he had been in a three-game slump. Omri Casspi had 19 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double this season. He's starting now with Willie Cauley-Stein out injured. Sacramento shot 55.8 percent. The Kings swept the Knicks last season and averaged 129.5 points in those games.
Key trends: New York is 1-6 ATS in its past seven Thursday games. The Kings are 1-5 ATS in their past six on the night. The over is 4-0 in the past four meetings.
Early lean: Kings and over.
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