The Sacramento Kings don't play Tuesday, but if you believe new coach Dave Joerger then you might want to start hitting the "over" totals on Kings games. Joerger was fed up with the early losing and moved to a smaller lineup, where DeMarcus Cousins shifts from power forward to center while shifting center Kosta Koufos to the bench, and play faster. Joerger is starting games with two point guards in Darren Collison and Ty Lawson alongside Cousins, Matt Barnes and Rudy Gay. It also means even less time for second-year center Willie Cauley-Stein, who already wants a trade. The early result? The team's scoring actually went down Sunday, but the Kings beat Toronto 102-99 to end a four-game losing streak. It's one thing to say you are going to play small; it's another to have the right personnel to do so. The Kings' weakness is their guards and their strength is a glut of big men. But what do I know?
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Trail Blazers at Knicks (-1.5, 215.5)
Portland ended a three-game losing streak with a 129-109 win at Brooklyn on Sunday. C.J. McCollum had 33 points. Al-Farouq Aminu (left calf) and Festus Ezeli (left knee) were inactive and it's not likely either plays here. New York beat visiting Atlanta 104-94 on Sunday for its fourth straight home win. Carmelo Anthony tied a season high with 31 points. Kristaps Porzingis added 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks. Joakim Noah sat out with an illness. These teams split last year, each winning on the road. The Trail Blazers have won seven of their past eight contests against the Knicks, including four in a row at Madison Square Garden. Damian Lillard averaged 29.5 points vs. the Knicks in 2015-16. Anthony averaged 30.0 points vs. Portland.
Key trends: The Blazers are 6-2 against the spread in the past eight meetings. The "over/under" is 8-3 in their past 11 after a win.
Early lean: Blazers and over.
Pelicans at Hawks (-7.5, 206.5)
First of an NBA TV doubleheader. New Orleans won a second straight Saturday, 121-116 in overtime against Charlotte. Anthony Davis had 38 points and 16 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday added 22 points and nine assists. The Pelicans were down 14 in the fourth quarter. Atlanta lost a second straight game Sunday, 104-94 at the Knicks. Dwight Howard had 18 points and 18 rebounds, but point guard Dennis Schroder missed all eight shots. Thabo Sefolosha missed another game with a sprained knee. Atlanta swept the Pelicans last year. Davis had 43 points in his one game vs. the Hawks.
Key trends: The Pelicans are 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 5-2 in those.
Early lean: Hawks and over.
Bulls at Nuggets (-1, 208)
Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg gave Dwyane Wade the second of a back-to-back off Sunday but the Bulls won at the Lakers regardless, 118-110, a night after a blowing a huge lead and losing at the Clippers. Jimmy Butler had a season-high 40 points and Nikola Mirotic had 15 points and 15 rebounds. Denver beat visiting Utah 105-91 on Sunday. Rookie Jamal Murray scored 16 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, and Jusuf Nurkic had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Will Barton started for the Nuggets after missing his previous nine games with an ankle injury. He had seven points. These two clubs made a 2014 draft-day trade that netted the Bulls Doug McDermott (he's out with a concussion) and the Nuggets Nurkic and Gary Harris (he's out with a foot injury). Win for Denver. The teams split last year. Denver has won the past nine at home in the series. The Bulls just never play well in Denver, even in MJ's days.
Key trends: The Nuggets are 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 4-1 in the previous five.
Early lean: Nuggets and over.
Thunder at Lakers (+3, 218)
Oklahoma City lost 115-111 in OT at home to Indiana on Sunday. Russell Westbrook had his fifth triple-double of the season -- as many as the rest of the NBA combined -- with 31 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds, but went 13 of 34 from the field. Oklahoma City rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit to force overtime. Los Angeles lost by eight at home to Chicago on Sunday. The Lakers were destroyed on the boards, 56-37. Lou Williams scored a season-high 25 points and Larry Nance Jr. had a career-high 18 for the Lakers. Jordan Clarkson was 1-for-12 from the field. The Thunder beat the visiting Lakers 113-96 on Oct. 30. Westbrook had 33 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds. OKC has won nine straight in the series.
Key trends: The Thunder are 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 5-0 in L.A.'s past five at home.
Early lean: Lakers and over.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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