A lot of people around the NBA snickered when the Chicago Bulls signed Rajon Rondo in free agency this past offseason. You look simply at his statistics last year with the Sacramento Kings and they don't look too bad. But those are very empty numbers. The guy can't shoot and is now a major liability on both ends of the floor. And on top of all that, he reportedly isn't a great teammate with an attitude these days. Rondo was suspended for Chicago's home game on Monday because he got into some sort of altercation with an assistant coach. That came during and after Saturday's terrible loss at Dallas. Rondo played poorly in the loss, committing five turnovers with two points and two assists. Chicago's numbers are far better when he's off the court than on it. I'd say Rondo isn't much longer for the Windy City, but no one would trade for him and the Bulls aren't really the type of franchise to eat a contract. But keep an eye on that as he could bring the whole team down. Rondo has been suspended by either the league or his team seven times since 2012.
Magic at Wizards (-4, 198.5)
Washington was in Brooklyn on Monday. Orlando looks for a third straight win as it concludes a five-game road trip. The Magic won in Detroit on Sunday, 98-92. Serge Ibaka scored 21 points and blocked four shots, while Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and eight rebounds, just shy of a seventh straight double-double. It was the 10th time in the past 11 games that Orlando held its opposition under 100 points. These teams have split two meetings this year. The Magic have lost nine straight at the Wizards.
Key trends: The Magic are 1-8-1 against the spread in their past 10 in Washington. The "over/under" has gone under in seven of the past nine meetings.
Early lean: Magic and under.
Knicks at Heat (-2, 204)
New York won a third in a row Sunday, 106-98 over Sacramento. Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony each scored 20 points. Rose is starting to look as good as he has in years. Have to say that surprises me. Kristaps Porzingis finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Guard Courtney Lee missed a second straight game with a sprained ankle. Miami closed a three-game trip with a 99-92 loss in Portland on Saturday. Hassan Whiteside had 28 points and 16 rebounds for the Heat, who missed out on their first three-game winning streak of the season. Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, Josh Richardson and Luke Babbitt all missed with injuries. Those first two are out Tuesday as is James Johnson. Richardson and Babbitt are questionable. The Heat won three of four vs. the Knicks last year.
Key trends: The Knicks are 1-9 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The under is 5-2 in the Heat's past seven after a loss.
Early lean: Knicks and under.
Bulls at Pistons (TBA)
Chicago hosted Portland on Monday with Jerian Grant starting for Rondo. He frankly should be starting every game for Rondo. Detroit saw guard Reggie Jackson, last year's leading scorer, make his season debut Sunday vs. the Magic but the Pistons lost 98-92. Jackson, who was out with knee tendinitis, had 18 points in 23 minutes. However, now fellow guard Reggie Bullock is out 4-6 weeks after knee surgery. Detroit went 3-1 against the Bulls last season. Jackson averaged 23.5 points and 7.5 assists against Chicago. Jimmy Butler averaged 27.5 points against Detroit.
Key trends: The Bulls are 1-6 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 8-2 in the Pistons' past 10 at home.
Early lean: Probably TBA because Dwyane Wade has gotten a few in the second of a back-to-back off but I haven't seen anything to indicate it happens here.
76ers at Grizzlies (TBA)
Philadelphia hosted Denver on Monday. Joel Embiid was going to play Monday but not here. Jerryd Bayless was out Monday with a wrist problem that might need season-ending surgery. Guard Robert Covington was out with a knee problem and will miss at least the next two. Memphis was in New Orleans on Monday. Chandler Parsons, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter were all missing that one and thus probably this one (Parsons for sure). The Grizzlies are so banged up -- remember, Mike Conley is out several weeks -- they just signed veteran guard Toney Douglas by using the NBA's hardship rule. Memphis won in Philadelphia 104-99 in double overtime on Nov. 23 and has taken eight straight overall in the series.
Key trends: The Sixers are 3-1-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 4-0-1 in the Grizzlies' past five at home.
Early lean: I'd go under regardless of number with so many guys out.
Spurs at Timberwolves (+6, 204.5)
NBA TV game. San Antonio was in Milwaukee on Monday, so I'd imagine at least one or two guys don't play here. Disappointing Minnesota comes off a 125-120 overtime win at Charlotte on Saturday. Andrew Wiggins scored 29 points, Karl-Anthony Towns added 27 points and 15 rebounds, and the Timberwolves rallied from 10 down in the fourth. First meeting of the season between the teams. San Antonio has won the past seven in the series and four in a row in Minneapolis.
Key trends: The Spurs are 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 6-1 in those.
Early lean: Wolves and over.
Suns at Jazz (TBA)
Phoenix lost 138-109 at Golden State on Saturday. Eric Bledsoe had 27 points and Devin Booker 21 for the Suns, who allowed the Warriors to shoot nearly 63 percent from the field. Utah was at the Lakers on Monday. George Hill wasn't going play against the Lakers, missing his third game in a row, but could return Tuesday night. The Jazz swept the Suns 4-0 last season for the first time since 1999-2000 (4-0).
Key trends: The favorite is 6-0 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 5-1 in those.
Early lean: Wait on Hill.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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