The Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 196-173 in the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night. Yes, that was actually the score of the game. That's about the score of two NBA regular-season games combined. The 369 combined points blew away the previous record for most points scored in an NBA All-Star Game. Russell Westbrook was named the Most Valuable Player of the game. Maybe I could be called too much of a purist, but I for one will be excited to get the regular-season action back underway this week. I prefer to see both the offense and defense working hard, and there was zero defense in Sunday night's game.
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Doc's Sports has done an NBA ATS Hot and Cold report in the past, and we'll be doing it again this year. We'll highlight the Top 5 hot teams and the Bottom 5 cold teams in each article. This will allow people to see which teams are streaking and which teams are slumping. In a league that is unquestionably a momentum-driven league, that can be extremely important. This report will be offered on a bi-weekly basis throughout the NBA regular season. The statistics listed for this article are for all games played Jan. 29 through Feb. 11. This will give you a look at who headed into the break with momentum.
Top Five Hot Teams
1. Denver Nuggets (6-1 ATS) Does this look familiar? It should. The Denver Nuggets are the hottest team against the spread for the second straight time. They are now 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games. This is a perfect example of the fact that a team doesn't have to be good to be worthy of a wager. Denver has managed to fly under the radar for a while, and bettors have made some nice money backing them.
2. Los Angeles Lakers (6-1 ATS) The Los Angeles Lakers have been up and down in the last few reports. They were on the hot list a couple reports ago, and then they were on the cold list last time around. The only thing that is consistent about this Lakers team is their inconsistency. Obviously, this isn't a good team overall. The only question is can they carry any kind of momentum when it comes to covering numbers into the second half of the season? I wouldn't bet on it.
3. Boston Celtics (6-2 ATS) The Boston Celtics have really impressed me this year. Brad Stevens is doing a tremendous job with this team. While he hasn't proven himself in the league for a long time yet, I do believe he is one of the best coaches in the NBA. Boston is much better defensively than most people realize. The Celtics are 9-4 ATS this year when playing in the second game of a back-to-back scheduling spot.
4. Orlando Magic (6-2 ATS) So far this year, Orlando has been one of the best teams to back. Orlando is 29-22-1 ATS on the season. The Magic started out red hot before faltering about a month ago. This young team found its footing before the break though, and they were playing very well again on defense. I'm very interested to see how this squad looks coming out of the break. Orlando is 20-14-1 ATS as an underdog this year. They are 9-4 ATS as a home underdog.
5. Portland Trail Blazers (5-2 ATS) Here's a team that has really surprised me this year. Portland wasn't expected to be this good. What's been the catalyst? C.J. McCollum making a giant leap and becoming a star already. Most everyone knew he had a bunch of talent, but remember this was a guy averaging only 6.8 points per game last season. He's scoring 20.7 per game this year. Portland plays their next game at home against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
Top Five Cold Teams
1. New York Knicks (1-6 ATS) The New York Knicks stunned a lot of people by getting rid of Derek Fisher last week. Kurt Rambis is the interim coach, and there are a lot of names out there as potential coaches for this franchise. Everything the Knicks do is magnified because of the market, of course, but this is a Knicks team that has much more positive going on than they have had in the recent past. Can they right the ship after the break? Stay tuned.
2. Chicago Bulls (1-6 ATS) The Bulls are a difficult team to figure out. Just as it seemed they might be getting the hang of things, they bottomed out with an ugly finish before the break. Chicago has been the single worst team in the league to bet on so far this season. They are only 19-33 ATS. The fact that a team with as much talent as they have is only 27-25 overall is very disappointing. Chicago is 7-15 ATS as a home favorite this year, so be careful laying big numbers with this team at home.
3. Sacramento Kings (1-6 ATS) The rumors were swirling that Sacramento was about to fire George Karl, and then word came out that they had decided to keep him. It was an odd situation to say the least, and this is a franchise that has a lot of work to do. They have some nice pieces, but chemistry seems to always be a problem. Sacramento has a very weird schedule right out of the break. They play one game on Friday then will have three straight days off. After those three days off, they play a back-to-back spot at Denver and then at home against San Antonio.
4. Detroit Pistons (2-6 ATS) Stan Van Gundy has made it clear that he has been very disappointed in the Pistons effort on defense in recent weeks. The Pistons are currently half a game out of the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. If they can get back to playing the kind of defense they did the first couple months of the year, this team can be dangerous.
5. New Orleans Pelicans (2-6 ATS) Talk about a team that has underachieved. New Orleans should be a lot better than they have been. Before the season, there was a widely-held belief among NBA experts that New Orleans would be much better on defense this year. That definitely hasn't happened. New Orleans ranks No. 27 out of 30 teams in the league in defensive efficiency. Tyreke Evans is out for the year, and that is a huge blow to the team. Eric Gordon will also be out for at least five weeks. It's starting to look like a lost season for the Pelicans.
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