Do I think the NBA is too reliant on the 3-point shot these days? I do, although I wouldn't go as far as Charles Barkley did not too long ago in calling it "girly basketball" when he referred to the jump-shooting Golden State Warriors. Well, no team relies on the 3-pointer more than the Houston Rockets, who average a whopping 38.9 attempts per game. Four Rockets are in the Top 10 in 3-pointers attempted. Last Friday in a win over New Orleans, the Rockets set league records for attempts for attempts (61) and made 3-pointers (24). Eric Gordon has made at least three 3-pointers in 13 straight games, four shy of the NBA mark set by Steph Curry. You can't argue with what works, and it certainly is right now for the Rockets, who enter Tuesday on a 10-game winning streak -- the NBA's current longest mark. I still don't think they are a threat to win the Western Conference, however.
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Pelicans at 76ers (+1.5, 208.5)
New Orleans lost a second straight Sunday, 113-100 in San Antonio. Anthony Davis was limited to 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting. Forward Solomon Hill missed it as his wife was giving birth. Every time I think this team is ready to take a step forward, it takes two steps back. Alvin Gentry needs to go. Philadelphia ended a two-game slide with a 108-107 home win over Brooklyn on Sunday. Joel Embiid had a career-high 33 points to go with 10 rebounds. Nik Stauskas sat out with knee soreness and Nerlens Noel was a DNP-CD. The 76ers had lost eight in a row at home. Last meeting of the season between the teams as the 76ers won in New Orleans 99-88 on Dec. 8 to end a franchise-record-tying 23-game road losing streak.
Key trends: The Pelicans are 1-6 against the spread in their past seven on the road. The "over/under" has gone under in five of Philly's past seven.
Early lean: 76ers and under.
Lakers at Hornets (-9, 213)
Los Angeles lost Saturday in Cleveland in the second of a back-to-back, 119-108. Nick Young made eight 3-pointers and scored a season-high 32 for the Lakers. Rookie Brandon Ingram missed a triple-double by one point and an assist. D'Angelo Russell sat out with a sore knee. Charlotte ended a four-game losing streak with a 107-99 victory in Atlanta on Saturday. Kemba Walker had 18 points and 10 assists. The Hornets had lost five straight and 10 of 11 at Philips Arena. Charlotte swept L.A. last season and has won the past two meetings at home.
Key trends: The Lakers are 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 12-3 in L.A.'s past 15 after scoring more than 100 points in its previous game.
Early lean: Lakers and over.
Nets at Raptors (-14, 222)
Brooklyn has lost two straight following a 108-107 defeat in Philadelphia on Sunday. Brook Lopez had 22 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Nets, who lost their ninth in a row on the road. Toronto bounced back from an upset home loss to Atlanta on Friday with a 109-79 blowout win in Orlando on Sunday. DeMar DeRozan had 31 points, his fourth straight with at least 30. Toronto won all four meetings with Brooklyn last season.
Key trends: The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 5-0 in Toronto's past five at home.
Early lean: Nets and over.
Pacers at Knicks (TBA)
Indiana hosted Washington on Monday with Rodney Stuckey doubtful and Monta Ellis likely out another week with a groin injury. New York concluded a five-game West Coast trip with a third straight loss Saturday, 127-114 in Denver. Derrick Rose missed a second game in a row with back issues but was at Monday's practice and fine so should play here. New York is looking to snap a seven-game losing streak vs. Indiana, including three straight at Madison Square Garden.
Key trends: The favorite is 11-4 ATS in the past 15 meetings The under is 7-1 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Wait on Rose.
Magic at Heat (-4, 197)
Orlando lost 109-79 at home to Toronto on Sunday. The Magic scored just 28 second-half points and were 3-for-21 from 3-point range in the game. Miami lost a second consecutive game Sunday, 105-95 at home to Boston. The Heat turned the ball over 23 times, leading to 24 Boston points. And the Heat went 6-for-14 from the foul line in the fourth quarter. Goran Dragic led all scorers with 31 points for Miami. Orlando has lost 16 of the last 18 meetings with the Heat overall. The teams opened the season against one another and Miami won 108-96 on the road.
Key trends: The Magic are 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 4-1 in the previous five.
Early lean: Heat and under.
Cavaliers at Bucks (+6, 214)
Cleveland beat the visiting Lakers 119-108 on Saturday. LeBron James scored 16 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Kyrie Irving matched a career high with 12 assists, and Kevin Love scored 27 with 17 rebounds after all three got the previous game off. James now needs just two points to move past Moses Malone (27,409) for eighth place on the career scoring list. Milwaukee finished off a home-and-home sweep of the Bulls on Friday in Chicago, 95-69. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 22 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. Milwaukee beat visiting Cleveland 118-101 on Nov. 29. Antetokounmpo had 34 points to go along with 12 rebounds, five assists and five steals.
Key trends: The Cavs are 2-5 ATS in their past seven in Milwaukee. The over is 7-1 in the previous seven there.
Early lean: Bucks and over.
Celtics at Grizzlies (+3, 193.5)
Boston won a second straight Sunday, 105-95 in Miami. Isaiah Thomas had 23 points before being ejected for elbowing Justise Winslow in the face and getting a flagrant-2 foul. I don't think Thomas will be facing suspension. Memphis is 0-2 since getting star point guard Mike Conley back earlier than expected from injury on Friday. He was just 3-for-16 from the field in Sunday's nine-point home loss to Utah. Memphis has won the past four at home in the series with Boston.
Key trends: The home team is 4-0 ATS in the past four. The under is 7-0 in Memphis' past seven overall.
Early lean: Grizzlies and under.
Spurs at Rockets (-2.5, 211.5)
First of an NBA TV doubleheader. San Antonio won a fourth straight Sunday, 113-100 over New Orleans on the night the Spurs retired all-time great Tim Duncan's No. 21 jersey. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, who combined to form "The Big Three" with Duncan, combined for 29 points, seven assists and five rebounds. The Spurs are 10-0 this season when Parker scores in double figures. Houston won in Minnesota 111-109 in OT on Saturday night, rallying from a 17-point deficit in the second of a back-to-back and jacking up 51 3-point attempts, the second-most in league history. James Harden scored 10 of his 28 points in OT. These teams have split two meetings this season, both winning on the road.
Key trends: The Spurs are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 7-1 in the past eight in Houston.
Early lean: Spurs and under.
Nuggets at Clippers (-7, 213.5)
Denver hosted Dallas on Monday night looking for a third straight win. The Clippers saw a four-game winning streak end Sunday at Washington, 117-110. Blake Griffin had 26 points through three quarters and none in the fourth. And it will be the last time you see Griffin for 3-6 weeks as he is having clean-up surgery in his right knee. When Griffin was sidelined for much of last season with a quad injury, the Clippers typically relied on small-ball lineups featuring Luc Mbah a Moute at power forward. Thus you could see Austin Rivers moving into the starting five in a three-guard lineup. Los Angeles took two of three vs. Denver last season.
Key trends: The road team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 8-1 in the Clippers' past nine vs. the West.
Early lean: Nuggets and over.
Jazz at Warriors (-12, 211.5)
Second NBA TV game. Utah won its fourth in a row Sunday, 82-73 in Memphis. Gordon Hayward scored 22 points and Rudy Gobert had 21 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. Guard George Hill missed his ninth game with a sprained left big toe, and Coach Quin Snyder suggested his return wasn't imminent. Golden State won its fourth straight Saturday, 135-90 over Portland. Kevin Durant had 34 points and 11 rebounds. Reserve Ian Clark added a career-high 23 points. Golden State won in Utah 106-99 on Dec. 8 and has taken six straight overall vs. the Jazz and six in a row at home.
Key trends: The Jazz are 0-5 ATS in their past five at Golden State. The under is 7-0 in the Warriors' past seven overall.
Early lean: Jazz and under.
Trail Blazers at Kings (TBA)
Portland has dropped six of seven after getting slaughtered at Golden State on Saturday. Damian Lillard publicly called his teammates out after that one, but the Blazers just can't guard anyone. And now comes word that Festus Ezeli, added in free agency this offseason for some rim protection, is likely to have season-ending surgery on his knee. He hasn't played for the Blazers yet. Sacramento lost 99-79 in Dallas on Sunday. DeMarcus Cousins scored 33 for Sacramento, but Rudy Gay was out a third game with a hip injury. Portland has won seven consecutive games against Sacramento, three of which have come on the road.
Key trends: The road team is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 5-1 in the Kings' past six overall.
Early lean: Wait on Gay.
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