You won't see Pacers superstar Paul George on Wednesday night when Indiana visits Portland to begin a five-game road trip through the Western Conference. George has missed the past two and five of the last six games with an ankle injury that has been bothering George since at least Nov. 11, when he first missed a contest against the Boston Celtics because of the injury. George got off to a great start this season but is just 19-for-56 in his past three games that he has played. Overall, George is averaging 20.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists. C.J. Miles (sore left knee) was able to go through some individual work on Monday. He has missed the past five with that knee but might play Wednesday. If not, both George and Miles seem likely to return in the team's next game Sunday.
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Kings at 76ers (+3.5, 208.5)
Sacramento lost 101-95 in overtime at Washington on Monday in the second of a back-to-back. DeMarcus Cousins had 36 points and a season-high 20 rebounds. But he missed all three of his field-goal attempts and a pair of free throws in the OT. Philadelphia gave Joel Embiid the night off to rest Monday and the 76ers dropped a fourth in a row, 122-95 in Toronto. The team's losing streak away from home is at 22 games dating to last season. Embiid should be in there Wednesday in a great matchup with Cousins. These two teams split the season series last year with each winning on the other's home court.
Key trends: The Kings are 1-4 against the spread in the past five in Philly. The "over/under" is 3-0-1 in the past four meetings overall.
Early lean: 76ers (as long as Embiid plays) and over.
Pistons at Celtics (-8, 201)
First of an NBA TV doubleheader. Detroit was in Charlotte on Tuesday. Boston played without Al Horford on Monday as his wife was to give birth, but the Celtics won in Miami anyway, 112-104. Isaiah Thomas had 25 points and eight assists. Boston never trailed after about midway through the first quarter. Horford should play here. These teams met in Auburn Hills on Nov. 19 and Boston won 94-92. Horford converted the game-winning layup with 1.3 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter before coming up with the game-saving block on the other end.
Key trends: The Pistons are 3-7-1 ATS in the past 11 meetings. The under is 4-0 in the previous four.
Early lean: Celtics and under.
Grizzlies at Raptors (TBA)
Memphis lost 104-85 at home Monday to Charlotte. Marc Gasol led Memphis with 19 points and eight rebounds. Mike Conley had 14 points before leaving in the third quarter with a lower back injury. Conley will be re-evaluated Tuesday, but he's in question for this one. Toronto won a third in a row Monday in blowing out Philadelphia. Kyle Lowry set a team record by going 6-for-6 from long range on the way to 24 points. Jonas Valanciunas left in the third quarter with an ankle injury so monitor that. Toronto swept Memphis last year and has taken the past three at home in the series.
Key trends: The home team is 3-1-1 ATS in the past five. The over is 9-2 in Toronto's past 11.
Early lean: Wait on Conley.
Lakers at Bulls (-9.5, 212.5)
Los Angeles was in New Orleans on Tuesday with Julius Randle questionable. This is Chicago's first home game since Nov. 12 as it completed a six-game Circus Trip at 4-2. The Bulls finished it with a 105-89 victory in Philadelphia on Friday. Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade had 26 points apiece. Doug McDermott (concussion) has been cleared for non-contact work and shooting but he's not playing Wednesday. The Bulls are looking to sweep the Lakers for the third time in four years. They played in L.A. on Nov. 20 and Bulls got 40 points from Butler and 51.7 percent shooting as a team to win 118-110. Wade was held out to rest. Chicago has won five straight at home in the series.
Key trends: The Lakers are 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 4-0 in the previous four.
Early lean: Bulls and over.
Wizards at Thunder (-5.5, 214.5)
Washington beat visiting Sacramento in overtime on Monday behind 31 points and a career-high seven 7-pointers made from Bradley Beal. John Wall added 19 points and 11 assists, but he had a career-high 11 turnovers. After making his season debut Saturday following preseason surgery on his left knee, center Ian Mahinmi sat with a sore right knee. OKC won a third straight Monday, 112-103 at the Knicks. Russell Westbrook had his third straight triple-double and the 45th of his career, finishing with 27 points, 18 rebounds and 14 assists. He is now averaging a triple-double on the season. Oklahoma City handily won both meetings last year against Washington.
Key trends: The Wizards are 0-3-1 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 9-4 in the past 13 meetings.
Early lean: Thunder and over.
Knicks at Timberwolves (-3, 210)
New York lost a second consecutive game Monday, 112-103 to the Thunder. Derrick Rose scored a season-best 30 points, but the Knicks had their six-game home winning streak snapped. Carmelo Anthony was just 4-for-19 from the field. Minnesota lost 112-103 at home to Utah on Monday. Zach LaVine led with 28 points in the loss. He also had eight rebounds and eight assists. New York swept Minnesota last season and is 4-1 in its past five visits to the Twin Cities.
Key trends: The road team is 6-2-1 ATS in the past nine. The under is 5-2 in Minnesota's past seven overall.
Early lean: Wolves and under.
Spurs at Mavericks (TBA)
San Antonio hosted Orlando on Tuesday, so you have some key guys potentially taking a seat for this road tilt in the second of a back-to-back. Dallas ended an eight-game losing streak Sunday with a 91-81 home win over New Orleans. Wesley Matthews had 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter of the comeback victory. Dirk Nowitzki's Achilles' tendon issue flared up again and he sat out; I addressed Dirk on Tuesday in that he might sit a while or play one, get a few off, etc. San Antonio beat visiting Dallas 96-91 on Nov. 21. The Spurs have won six straight overall in the series.
Key trends: The road team is 4-1 ATS in the past five. The under is 7-2 in the previous nine.
Early lean: Wait on Dirk, the potential Spurs.
Heat at Nuggets (TBA)
Miami lost for the fourth time in five games Monday, 112-104 vs. Boston. Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters (he's not even on this trip) were both out; Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside were both questionable but played. Dragic had 27 points and 17 assists for the Heat, setting season bests in both categories. Whiteside added 25 points and 17 rebounds. Denver won in Phoenix 120-114 on Sunday. Danilo Gallinari missed his third straight game with right thigh soreness. Miami won both meetings last year vs. Denver by a combined eight points.
Key trends: The Heat are 2-8 ATS in the past 10 in Denver. The over is 9-3 in the Nuggets' past 12 overall.
Early lean: Nuggets regardless.
Hawks at Suns (+5, 211.5)
Atlanta concludes a five-game road trip here and has dropped the past three, most recently a very competitive 105-100 defeat at red-hot Golden State on Monday. Dennis Schroder scored 24 points for the Hawks, and Dwight Howard added 14 points and 16 rebounds. The Hawks dropped to 4-1 on the second night of back-to-backs. Phoenix lost 120-114 at home to Denver on Sunday. Eric Bledsoe had a career-high 35 in the loss. Jared Dudley missed the game with left foot soreness, and T.J. Warren sat due to a "mild" head injury. The Suns and Hawks split the series last season with the home team winning each.
Key trends: The favorite is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 5-0 in the last five.
Early lean: Suns and under.
Pacers at Trail Blazers (-7, 217.5)
Portland lost 130-114 at home to Houston on Sunday. CJ McCollum scored 28 points and Damian Lillard had 27 for the Blazers, who have lost six of their last eight games. Portland has scored at least 100 points in 17 of 19 games this season. Sans George, Indiana crushed the visiting Clippers 91-70 on Sunday. Glenn Robinson III and Myles Turner each had 17 points. Portland swept the season series from Indiana last year, and has now won four consecutive games against the Pacers. The Blazers have won the past seven home meetings.
Key trends: The Pacers are 1-6 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 10-2 in Portland's past 12 after a loss.
Early lean: Blazers and over.
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