The trade deadline was pretty much a dud. The Chicago Bulls were rumored to be shopping All-Star Pau Gasol. Instead they traded 82-year-old backup guard Kirk Hinrich. The Houston Rockets were shopping Dwight Howard. They dealt Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton. The Atlanta Hawks surely were going to trade either Jeff Teague or Al Horford. They instead sent away Shelvin Mack. Three title contenders appeared to make solid secondary moves with Cleveland getting stretch forward Channing Frye from Orlando, Oklahoma City acquiring Randy Foye from Denver, and the LA Clippers landing Jeff Green from Memphis while dumping the headache that is known as Lance Stephenson (addition by subtraction there). The impending huge rise of the salary cap had most of the GMs around the league standing pat and hoping they can sign guys who will hit free agency like Gasol, Howard and Horford. There could be north of 20 teams able to offer a max contract this offseason. So once all that shakes out, I do think there will be plenty of trading action this summer.
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Bucks at Hawks (-8.5, 207)
Milwaukee hosted Charlotte on Friday and Atlanta hosted Miami. The Bucks and Hawks have played only once, with Milwaukee winning 108-101 in overtime at home on Jan. 15. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Khris Middleton scored 26 points and Greg Monroe and Michael Carter-Williams added 15 points apiece for the Bucks. Both Monroe and MCW were rumored on the market ahead of Thursday's deadline but stayed put. They are coming off the bench of late. Paul Millsap had 23 points and Horford 18 for Atlanta in that first meeting. The Hawks better hope Horford re-signs this offseason or it was a big mistake not to accept even 50 cents on the dollar for him. Teague remains under contract.
Key trends: The road team is 8-2 against the spread in the past 10 meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in four of the past five meetings.
Early lean: Hawks and under.
Wizards at Heat (TBA)
Washington hosted Detroit on Friday, meaning this is a very rare third game in three nights for the Wizards; their game Thursday vs. Utah was a makeup game. Miami was in Atlanta on Friday with Dwyane Wade a game-time call. The Heat made a couple of minor moves this week that won't affect the team on the court but will save ownership several million dollars by getting the club under the luxury tax. Washington probably got the best player traded ahead of the deadline in forward Markieff Morris from Phoenix. He had been a very unhappy camper with the Suns since the team traded his twin brother to Detroit this past offseason. But Markieff Morris had been playing much better under Phoenix interim coach Earl Watson and has a pretty reasonable contract. On the season, he averages 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds. Will Morris be enough to get the Wiz back into the playoffs? They didn't give up anything of current value to get him. It's the final meeting of the regular season between these two. Washington leads 2-1 and won the game in Miami 114-103.
Key trends: The Wizards are 2-5 ATS in the past seven in Miami. The over is 6-2 in the past eight meetings.
Early lean: Wait on Wade, although the Wizards should be totally gassed and might sit a guy or two themselves.
Knicks at Timberwolves (-2.5, 204.5)
New York was in Brooklyn on Friday and Minnesota in Memphis likely again without center Nikola Pekovic. Both teams were quiet at the deadline. The Knicks don't have any assets other than Carmelo Anthony, who has a no-trade clause, and untouchable rookie Kristaps Porzingis. Minnesota was hoping to deal guard Kevin Martin but might just buy him out now. The Wolves could deal Ricky Rubio this summer. It's the last time this season we see the NBA's two best rookies face off in Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns and Porzingis. That order is the same in which the NBA Rookie of the Year voting will finish as well unless Towns gets hurt soon. On Dec. 16, the Knicks beat the visiting Wolves 107-102. Porzingis had 11 points, seven blocks and six rebounds, while Towns had 25 points and 10 rebounds. Arron Afflalo led the Knicks with 29 points, and Anthony had 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Key trends: The underdog is 5-2-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Wolves and over.
Warriors at Clippers (+4.5, 221)
Obviously Golden State had no need to do anything at the deadline. L.A. certainly upgraded with Green over Stephenson. Green can play both small forward and as a stretch four. Green is averaging 12.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists this season while shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from 3-point range. I'm not sure he was worth a future first-round pick as well (protected 2019), but the Clippers are in win-now mode. This is the Saturday night ABC game and will have live betting at sportsbooks. Tough second of a back-to-back for the Warriors as they were in Portland on Friday. And really, this is a rare game the rest of the way you can actually see them losing. The Clippers were one of two teams not to play Friday. They beat visiting San Antonio 105-86 on Thursday. Chris Paul had 28 points and 12 assists. The Clips got a huge break when the Spurs' Kawhi Leonard was a surprise scratch. Golden State has won two high-scoring games vs. the Clippers this season but had to rally from a 23-point deficit to take the first one in early November. The Warriors have won four straight in the series overall and two in a row in Los Angeles.
Key trends: The road team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 9-3 in the past 12 in L.A.
Early lean: Clippers and over.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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