Should be a great matchup on Tuesday night in Indianapolis as the Pacers get their crack at handing the incredible Golden State Warriors their first loss of the season. A win would be the Warriors' 27th straight dating to last season, which would tie the 27-game run by LeBron James' 2012-13 Miami Heat as the second-longest of all-time. That Golden State's first loss is Tuesday night is the +240 favorite at sportsbooks. Next on that list at +300 is that the Warriors stay unbeaten the rest of 2015. Boston, which hosts the Warriors on Friday, is +400 to be the team to deliver that first defeat. That Cleveland hands the Warriors their first loss on Christmas Day in a Finals rematch is +600.
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Warriors at Pacers (+6.5, 211.5)
Another reason to watch this game: it features probably the two MVP favorites right now. Steph Curry is the clear-cut runaway leader and leads the NBA in scoring, but Indiana's Paul George is having a stellar season after missing most of last year due to a broken leg. Curry had 28 points in Sunday's 114-98 win in Brooklyn, 16 of those in the third quarter when Golden State pulled away. The Warriors outscored the Nets 42-15 from 3-point range. The Dubs remain without small forward Harrison Barnes and he won't even be re-evaluated until Dec. 13. Indiana lost a second straight Saturday in Utah, 122-119 in overtime despite a career-high 48 points from George. At 27.6 points per game, his scoring average is nearly six points higher than it was in 2013-14, his last full season. George is also on pace for career highs in 3-point percentage (.454), rebounds (8.2 per game) and assists (4.2 per game). The Pacers and Warriors split last season. Indiana has won seven of the past eight meetings at home.
Key trends: Indiana is 9-0 against the spread in its past nine vs. teams with a winning record. The "over/under" is 8-0 in the Warriors' past eight. Golden State has covered only two of its past 14 in Indiana.
Early lean: Pacers and over.
Trail Blazers at Cavaliers (-9.5, 202.5)
Portland was in Milwaukee on Monday. Cleveland lost a third straight Saturday in Miami, and I was pretty shocked that LeBron James didn't play in that game. Sure, he's going to get the occasional second of a back-to-back off but I didn't think it would be in South Florida. Cleveland is only 5-6 since an 8-1 start. But the Cavs are 16-2 in their last 18 regular-season games against Western Conference opponents (2-1 this season), winning by an average of 11.1 points in that span. They have won 33 consecutive games when scoring at least 100 points at home. The Blazers and Cavs split last season, each winning at home. Kyrie Irving, getting closer to making his season debut, had a career-high 55 points in the Cavs' home win in the series.
Key trends: The Blazers are 1-5 ATS in their past six in the second of a back-to-back. The Cavs are 1-7 ATS in their past eight vs. teams with a losing record. The over is 5-1 in the previous six meetings in Cleveland.
Early lean: Cavaliers and over.
Rockets at Nets (+5, 207.5)
Brooklyn has dropped two straight and hasn't reached triple digits since Nov. 22. The team got bad news over the weekend as promising rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is out indefinitely with a non-displaced fracture of the posterior talus in his right ankle. He will have surgery this week. Brooklyn is nine points better per 100 possessions when Hollis-Jefferson is on the floor this season. That injury only helps the Celtics, who own Brooklyn's unprotected 2016 first-round pick. Bojan Bogdanovic will start in his place. Houston won a third straight Saturday, 120-113 vs. Sacramento. Dwight Howard had probably his best game of the year with 22 points and 18 rebounds. Houston's Donatas Motiejunas, who hadn't played since March due to injury, made his season debut in that one. The Rockets beat the visiting Nets 106-98 on Nov. 11.
Key trends: The favorite is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 8-2 in the Nets' past 10 vs. the East.
Early lean: Rockets and under.
Thunder at Grizzlies (+3, 203)
Oklahoma City ended a two-game skid with a 98-95 home win over the Kings on Sunday. Kevin had committed 10 turnovers but hit the go-ahead jumper with 23 seconds left and then two free throws with 4.4 seconds to go. Russell Westbrook recorded his third triple-double of the season, with 19 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds. Memphis is off a 95-93 home win over Phoenix on Sunday, winning on a Jeff Green dunk with 0.5 seconds left. Memphis is now 11-1 when leading at the half this season. The Grizzlies beat the visiting Thunder 122-114 on Nov. 16 behind 29 points from Mario Chalmers. Westbrook had 40 points for the Thunder, who played without Durant.
Key trends: The home team is 6-0 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Grizzlies and under.
Magic at Nuggets (pick'em, 196)
Denver won in Philadelphia 108-105 on Sunday for its second straight win. Danilo Gallinari had 24 points, including the go-ahead dunk with under a minute left. Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried was back in the lineup after sitting out Thursday because of a left ankle sprain. But guard Gary Harris missed a fifth straight game with a concussion, although it's looking decent for him to play here. Orlando's five-game winning streak ended in a 103-101 loss at the Clippers on Saturday. The Magic had a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter. Denver has won five straight in this series and six in a row at home.
Key trends: The road team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 4-1 in those four.
Early lean: Magic and over.
Jazz at Kings (-1.5, 203)
Utah beat the Pacers in overtime on Saturday to end a two-game slide. Derrick Favors had a career-high 35 points. He converted a 3-point play to help send the game to overtime. Sacramento lost a third straight Sunday, 98-95 to the Thunder. Sacramento rallied from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to lead 93-86 with 3:06 left but obviously only scored two more points. DeMarcus Cousins was just 5-for-20 from the field and is in a mini-slump. Omri Casspi started for the second straight game in place of rookie Willie Cauley-Stein, who is out for 4-6 weeks due to a dislocated finger. Utah has won five of the last six meetings with Sacramento, but Cousins missed three of them.
Key trends: The underdog has covered eight of the past 13 meetings. The over is 4-1 in the previous five in Sacramento.
Early lean: Kings and over.
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