A Timberwolves-Knicks matchup last year would have been quite hard to watch because both teams were so terrible. This season, however, both are much improved and that's due largely to a couple of terrific rookies in Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns, the No. 1 overall pick, and New York's Kristaps Porzingis, who went No. 4. They share the court as professionals for the first time Wednesday night. I would say they are also the two leading candidates thus far for NBA Rookie of the Year honors. Towns and Porzingis were their respective conference's Rookie of the Month awards in November. Porzingis might be hitting a slight rookie wall as he was scoreless in Portland on Saturday. And the Knicks' just completed three-game road trip, Porzingis scored 17 points on 6-for-25 shooting.
Mavericks at Pacers (-4.5, 204)
Dallas beat Phoenix 104-94 on Monday to end a two-game losing streak. Chandler Parsons played a season-high 28 minutes off knee surgery and had 17 points. Indiana routed visiting Toronto 106-90 on Monday. George Hill had season highs of 20 points and 13 rebounds. Indiana used a 39-4 run in the first half to climb out of a 21-point deficit. Indiana swept Dallas last season and has won five of the past seven in the series. Pacers guard Monta Ellis played with Dallas the previous two seasons. Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle coached the Pacers for three seasons from 2003-07.
Key trends: The underdog is 4-1 against the spread in the past five meetings. The "over/under" is 7-1 in Indiana's past eight following an ATS win.
Early lean: Pacers and over.
Hornets at Magic (pick'em, 197.5)
Charlotte's four-game winning streak ended with a 98-93 home loss to Boston on Saturday. Nic Batum led the Hornets with 21 points and eight rebounds but missed a late tying 3-pointer badly. Orlando ended a two-game slide with a 105-82 victory in Brooklyn on Monday. It was the Magic's first-ever win there. These teams split four games last year, with Orlando winning both at home in low-scoring affairs.
Key trends: The Hornets are 8-1 ATS in their past nine in Orlando. The over is 5-2 in the past seven meetings.
Early lean: Magic and under.
Heat at Nets (+4.5, 191.5)
Miami won in Atlanta 100-88 on Monday for its second win in a row. Chris Bosh led the Heat with 24 points. Goran Dragic had a tooth knocked out by Al Horford but played through it after getting quick treatment. Heat forward Josh McRoberts sat out his third straight game with a bruised right knee. Brooklyn was pounded by Orlando at home on Monday for its second loss in a row. Brook Lopez shot 4-for-15 for just 11 points. Brooklyn has lost two straight at home to Miami and four in a row overall.
Key trends: The Heat are 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 6-0 in the Nets' past six at home vs. teams with a losing road record.
Early lean: Heat and under.
Celtics at Pistons (-2.5, 201.5)
Boston hosted Cleveland on Tuesday. Detroit lost at home to the Clippers on Monday, 105-103, in overtime. Pistons guard Reggie Jackson missed at the regulation buzzer to win it and at the overtime buzzer. He finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Detroit went 1-2 against Boston last season, but the Pistons have won five of their past six meetings at home.
Key trends: Boston is 2-5 ATS in its past seven in Detroit. The over is 6-0 in the previous six meetings.
Early lean: Detroit and over.
Timberwolves at Knicks (-2, 200)
Minnesota hosted Denver on Tuesday. New York ended a four-game losing streak with a 112-110 win in Portland on Saturday despite Porzingis putting up a goose egg. Carmelo Anthony tied a season-high with 37 points as New York rallied from a 10-point hole in the fourth quarter. New York lost the season series versus Minnesota last season, the first time the Knicks lost the season series since 2006-07.
Key trends: The Wolves are 7-2 ATS in their past nine in New York. The under is 5-0 in New York's past five on Wednesday.
Early lean: Knicks and under.
76ers at Hawks (-13.5, 196.5)
Philadelphia lost a seventh straight Monday, 115-96 at Chicago despite leading at halftime. Rookie Jahlil Okafor had 22 points in his first game as a professional in his hometown. The Sixers are now 0-15 on the road. Nerlens Noel missed the game with an eye injury and isn't expected here. Atlanta lost a third in a row Monday, 100-88 to visiting Miami. Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver both made just 2-for-12 from the field each. Since a 7-1 start, the Hawks have lost 11 of 18 games. Atlanta won three of four meetings with Philly last year. That lone Sixers win came when the Hawks rested three starters.
Key trends: The under is 7-0 in Atlanta's past seven overall. Philly has failed to cover its past seven games.
Early lean: Sixers and under.
Grizzlies at Bulls (-4.5, 192.5)
This is the first game of an ESPN doubleheader and will feature live betting at sportsbooks. Chicago won a third in a row Monday, beating Philly by 19 after trailing by five at the half. Derrick Rose played through an illness and had only six points in 26 minutes. Memphis might have temporarily saved Coach Dave Joerger's job with a 112-95 win over Washington on Monday. Marc Gasol had 24 points and 12 rebounds. Of course, it will be brother vs. brother in the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol and Bulls' Pau, who is still the Grizzlies' all‐time leader in several statistical categories, including points (8,966) and blocks (877), and was the franchise's first‐ever All‐Star (2006). The Grizzlies have won three straight games in Chicago.
Key trends: The Grizzlies are 5-1 ATS in their past six in Chicago. The under is 5-2 in the previous seven meetings there.
Early lean: Grizzlies and under.
Trail Blazers at Thunder (-10.5, 212)
Portland won 105-101 vs. New Orleans on Monday; this starts a five-game road trip. Damian Lillard had 30 points vs. the Pelicans. It was the 30th game of Lillard's career that he's scored 30 points. Oklahoma City won a fifth straight Sunday, 104-98 in OT over Utah. The Thunder rallied from a 16-point hole. Kevin Durant had just two first-half points but finished with 31. The Thunder have held their opponent under 100 points for six straight games. Portland won three of its four games against Oklahoma City in 2014-15, marking the first time that the Trail Blazers took a season series over the Thunder since 2009-10. Portland has won one road game against the Thunder in each of the past two seasons.
Key trends: The Blazers are 2-5 ATS in their past seven in OKC. The under is 9-3 in the past 12 meetings.
Early lean: Thunder and over.
Wizards at Spurs (-12, 197.5)
Washington was routed in Memphis on Monday. Bradley Beal missed his third game with stress reaction in right leg. John Wall had just six points, none after the first quarter. San Antonio routed the Jazz on Monday for its third win in a row and to improve to 13-0 at home. The Spurs led by as many as 46 points, so the starters didn't play heavy minutes. The first Warriors-Spurs game can't get here soon enough! Washington beat the Spurs 102-99 on Nov. 4 despite the Spurs leading at the end of each of the first three quarters. Beal hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left.
Key trends: The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under has hit in four of the past six between the clubs.
Early lean: Spurs and under.
Pelicans at Jazz (-4.5, 201)
New Orleans lost a second straight Monday, 105-101 to Phoenix. The Pelicans have a single road win on the season. Utah is really starting to miss the injured Rudy Gobert as it lost a third straight Monday, 118-81 in San Antonio. The Jazz are now 2-5 without Gobert, and he's not going to be back soon. Utah won the first meeting with New Orleans 101-87 in Salt Lake City on Nov. 28 despite 36 points and 11 rebounds from Anthony Davis. Trevor Booker had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz.
Key trends: The Pelicans have covered just one of the past nine meetings. The over is 7-1 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Pelicans and over.
Suns at Warriors (-12, 220.5)
This is the ESPN nightcap game. Phoenix lost by 10 in Dallas on Monday. Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 23 points and seven assists. The Suns fell to 0-9 when held under 100 points. Golden State was stunned in Milwaukee on Saturday 108-95 for its first loss of the season and first time being held under 100 points. You could tell the Warriors were tired in the finale of their seven-game road trip. They also were dragged to double overtime the night before in Boston. The Warriors still can be the only team in league history with just one loss at Christmas. Golden State beat the Suns 135-116 on Nov. 27 in Phoenix behind 41 points from Steph Curry. The Warriors hit an NBA record 15 three-pointers in the first half and hit a franchise-record 22 3-pointers in the game.
Key trends: The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 12-5 in the previous 17 in Oakland.
Early lean: Warriors and over.
Bucks at Clippers (-10, 204.5)
Milwaukee was at the L.A. Lakers on Tuesday. The Clippers closed a five-game trip at 4-1 with a 105-103 OT win in Detroit on Monday. J.J. Redick hit a tying 3-pointer with 19.6 left in OT and then Jamal Crawford the winner with 12.4 seconds left. Blake Griffin finished with 34 points for the Clippers. L.A. won in Milwaukee 109-95 last Wednesday. Redick had a season-high 31 points. Griffin had 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 18 points and 18 assists for the Clippers.
Key trends: The road team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 6-1 in the Clippers' past seven at home vs. teams with a losing road record.
Early lean: Clippers and under.
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