Obviously I'm not going to overreact to one game in an NBA season, especially this early. But can we stop calling Golden State the Super Warriors or whatever they have been labeled with? They are still the NBA title betting favorites and are going to win the Western Conference for a third straight season barring injury. But, wow, I surely didn't see Tuesday's home blowout loss to San Antonio coming. It will take the Warriors some time to figure each other out as there are several new players on the team. Kevin Durant looked just fine and so did Steph Curry. The defense and bench, however, were considered the only two question marks entering the season, and those two areas were exposed by the Spurs. I'm quite sure we will see a very different effort from the Warriors in their first road game of the season on Friday.
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Cavaliers at Raptors (+3, 202.5)
First of an ESPN doubleheader. Could be a bit of a letdown game for the Cavaliers after Tuesday's emotional ring ceremony and raising of the franchise's first championship banner in Cleveland. Then the Cavs went out and blew out the Knicks 117-88 behind a triple-double of 19 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds from LeBron James. Cleveland did see Iman Shumpert go down with a possible concussion. Toronto opened with a 109-91 home win over Detroit as DeMar DeRozan scored 40 and Jonas Valanciunas had 32 and 11 rebounds. The duo became the first teammates in NBA history with a 40-point game and a 30-point game in a season opener. These two teams met in last season's Eastern Conference Finals, won by Cleveland in six. The Raptors won both regular-season meetings last year vs. Cleveland.
Key trends: The home team is 8-1 against the spread in the past nine meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in seven of Toronto's past eight after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game.
Early lean: Raptors and under.
Pacers at Nets (+6, 209.5)
Indiana beat visiting Dallas 130-121 in overtime on Wednesday. A lot of experts liked Myles Turner as one of this season's breakout stars in the NBA, and the second-year center had 30 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks. Jeff Teague had 20 points and eight assists in his Indiana debut. That team is going to be fun to watch this year as the Pacers are playing totally different (i.e. up tempo) and have some great athletes. Brooklyn only lost by five Wednesday in Boston, 122-117. The Nets' bench played a big role in cutting a 23-point deficit to just 3 at one point. Brooklyn will shoot a ton of 3-pointers this season and shot 44 of them vs. the C's. Indiana won three of the four regular-season matchups with the Nets last season, including a 114-100 road win at Brooklyn on Feb. 3.
Key trends: The Pacers are 10-4 ATS in their past 14 in Brooklyn. The over is 4-0 in the past four there.
Early lean: Pacers and over.
Magic at Pistons (-3.5, 202)
Orlando didn't look good at all in its opening 108-96 home loss to Miami. The Magic played without big free-agent acquisition Bismack Biyombo due to a one-game suspension, but he doesn't do anything offensively so I doubt the result would have changed much. Serge Ibaka had 14 points in his Magic debut. Detroit was blown out in Toronto on Wednesday. Andre Drummond took an elbow to the jaw and left for a bit. He had an off game, finishing with 16 points and only six rebounds. He's the defending rebound king. Orlando has lost six straight meetings with Detroit and nine of the last 14 overall.
Key trends: The Magic are 0-6 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 5-0 in the past five.
Early lean: Pistons and over.
Suns at Thunder (-9.5, 213)
It will be a long year in Phoenix as the Suns were handled 113-94 at home by Sacramento on Wednesday. Devin Booker, plagued by foul trouble, scored 18 points for the Suns. At one point, the Suns had three teenagers on the court, the first NBA team to do that. Oklahoma City failed to cover in a 103-97 win in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Russell Westbrook fell one assist shy of what should be many triple-doubles this season with 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. I watched some of that game, though, and I think the Thunder might struggle more than I thought this season at times, at least offensively. There's no one else to fear other than Westbrook. Oklahoma won all three meetings last season vs. Phoenix.
Key trends: The underdog is 7-3 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The over is 10-1 in the past 11 in OKC.
Early lean: Thunder and over.
Hornets at Heat (-3, 196.5)
Charlotte won 107-96 in Milwaukee on Wednesday. Great to see Michael Kidd-Gilchrist healthy as he's one of the NBA's best defenders and had 23 points and 14 rebounds vs. the Bucks. Frank Kaminsky missed the game with a strained foot. Miami won't be very good this year but won 108-96 in Orlando. Hassan Whiteside will put up big numbers this season, however, with 18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. The Heat were without Josh Richardson with a sprained MCL in his right knee, and he's not expected here. These teams split four meetings last year. The Heat have won 12 of the past 13 vs. the Hornets in Miami.
Key trends: The favorite is 5-2 ATS in the past seven. The under has hit in the previous five.
Early lean: Hornets and under.
Rockets at Mavericks (-2, 224)
Houston is really going to stink defensively this year and that showed Wednesday in a 120-114 loss at the Lakers. The Rockets ran out of gas, missing 15 of 16 3-pointers in the second half. James Harden is going to fill the stat sheet all year and had 34 points, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds. Eric Gordon had 19 points in his Rockets debut. Dallas lost 130-121 in OT at Indiana. New Maverick Harrison Barnes sent the game to OT on a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left. He finished with 19 points. These teams split four meetings in 2015-16. Harden averaged 24.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists in them. Both teams scored under 90 points in the last meeting for the first time since February 2007.
Key trends: The Rockets are 10-4 ATS in the past in the series. The over is 13-6 in Dallas' past 19.
Early lean: Rockets and over.
Lakers at Jazz (TBA)
Los Angeles began the post-Kobe Bryant Era with a 120-114 win over Houston. The Lakers outscored the Rockets by 12 in the fourth quarter. Reserve Jordan Clarkson had 12 of his 25 points in the fourth. Rookie Brandon Ingram had nine points. Utah led in Portland by six entering the fourth quarter on Tuesday but lost 113-104. Joe Johnson scored 29 points in his debut with the Jazz and Rodney Hood added 26. The Jazz were without Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks. You won't see Hayward or Burks for a while, but Favors could play here. Utah won the 2015-16 series vs. Los Angeles 3-1 and held the Lakers to just 83.0 points per game.
Key trends: The Jazz have covered four of the past five meetings. The under is 7-1 in Utah's past 8 after scoring at least 100 in the previous game.
Early lean: TBA for Favors. Jazz will be favored and I think they win comfortably whether he plays or not.
Warriors at Pelicans (+9.5, 216)
Second ESPN game -- get used to Golden State being on national television. The Warriors were stomped by the Spurs 129-100 on Tuesday. By comparison, in the previous two seasons Golden State lost a total four regular-season home games by a combined 25 points. Durant had 27 points and 10 rebounds and Curry 26 vs. San Antonio, but the Warriors were killed on the boards and their reserves were terrible. FYI: no eventual NBA champion has lost by more than 25 points in a season opener. New Orleans lost 107-102 at home to Denver despite 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals, five assists and four blocks from Anthony Davis. Man, I hope that guy stays healthy because he's unbelievable. But the Pelicans are really short-handed in the backcourt right now with Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday out. Thus, they had to start Tim Frazier and E'Twaun Moore. That's not good. The Warriors were 3-0 vs. the Pelicans last year.
Key trends: The Warriors are 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 20-6-1 in the Pelicans' past 27 vs. the West.
Early lean: Warriors and over.
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