I will be interested to see how the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors follow up Monday's highly-anticipated matchup in Oakland in their games on Wednesday. Unfortunately, Monday's game itself was pretty uninteresting unless you are a Warriors fan or gave the points. Golden State made a major statement with a 120-90 rout. But my favorite part from that was in the post-game interview session with usually grumpy Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. But Pop actually had a funny comment to reporters, saying: "We almost got them. ... My opening comment here will be, I'm just glad my general manager wasn't in the locker room, because it might have gotten me fired." He was clearly referring to the Cleveland Cavaliers firing Coach David Blatt not long after their blowout loss to Golden State last week. The Warriors and Spurs don't play again until March 19 unfortunately.
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Suns at Cavaliers (-14.5, 205.5)
Phoenix was in Philadelphia on Tuesday likely without Brandon Knight and Markieff Morris again. Cleveland got its first win under new head coach Tryonn Lue with a 114-107 home victory over Minnesota on Monday. LeBron James had 25 points to lead six players in double figures. Lue is asking his players to go more up-tempo but says they aren't in good enough shape yet. Cleveland won in the desert 101-97 on Dec. 28. Kyrie Irving had 22 points and LeBron just 14. Irving scored the Cavaliers' final seven points of the game, including a 3-pointer that put the Cavs up 99-95 with 21.9 seconds remaining. TJ Warren led Phoenix with a game-high 23 points.
Key trends: The Suns are 2-5 against the spread in their past seven in the second of a back-to-back. Cleveland is 2-5 ATS in its past seven at home vs. teams with a losing road record. The Suns are 5-0 ATS in the past five in Cleveland. The "over/under" has gone under in 11 of the past 13 meetings.
Early lean: Cavaliers and under.
Nuggets at Celtics (-10, 206.5)
Denver lost 119-105 at home to Atlanta on Monday. The Nuggets had won eight straight at home in the series. Denver finished a season-high eight-game homestand at 4-4. Forward Kenneth Faried played after missing Saturday's game with left adductor soreness. Boston won a third straight Monday, 116-91 at Washington. Isaiah Thomas outplayed John Wall with 23 points and nine assists in just three quarters. First meeting this season between Denver and Boston, which has won five straight at home vs. the Nuggets. The Celtics swept last season but by only a combined five points.
Key trends: Denver is 5-0 ATS in its past seven after a loss. The Celtics are 6-0 ATS in their past six following a double-digit win. The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings in Boston. The C's have covered five straight in series there.
Early lean: Celtics and over.
76ers at Pistons (-12, 202.5)
Philadelphia hosted Phoenix on Tuesday. Detroit completed a four-game road trip with a 95-92 win in Utah on Monday. Reggie Jackson had 29 points as the Pistons never trailed. Andre Drummond was quiet with seven points and six rebounds and took a hard fall but stayed in the game. The Pistons won the first meeting 107-95 in Philly on Dec. 12. Jackson and Marcus Morris led Detroit with 21, and Jahlil Okafor had 22 for the Sixers. The Pistons have also won four of their past five at home in the series.
Key trends: The home team is 8-3 ATS in the past 11 meetings. The over is 5-1 in the past six in Detroit.
Early lean: Pistons and over.
Clippers at Hawks (-3, 209)
Los Angeles was at Indiana on Tuesday amidst news that Blake Griffin now might be out several more weeks after breaking his hand. ESPN is reporting that Griffin was hurt while punching a member of the team's equipment staff multiple times outside a Toronto restaurant the other night. If that's true, I'd expect some sort of suspension as well, either from the team or NBA. I'll have more on that later this week as it develops. Atlanta ended a four-game trip out West with a 119-105 win in Denver on Monday. Paul Millsap led the way with 22 points. Atlanta won both meetings with L.A. last season, scoring exactly 107 points in each. The Clippers have lost six straight at the Hawks.
Key trends: The Hawks are 5-1 ATS in their past six at home. The Clippers are 0-5 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 9-4 in the past 13.
Early lean: Hawks and over.
Thunder at Timberwolves (+9.5, 210)
OKC was at the Knicks on Tuesday. Minnesota lost in Cleveland by seven on Monday. The Wolves did cut a 15-point deficit to three midway through the fourth. Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Andrew Wiggins had 20 against the team that drafted him No. 1 overall. Kevin Garnett (rest) and Kevin Martin (right wrist) both sat out. Oklahoma City is 2-0 vs. the Wolves this season, averaging 107 points and holding Minnesota to an average of 94.5. The Thunder have won nine straight overall in the series and four in a row at Minnesota.
Key trends: The Wolves are 7-3 ATS in the past 10 meetings in Minnesota. The under is 5-2 in the past seven there.
Early lean: Wolves and under.
Rockets at Spurs (TBA)
This first of an ESPN doubleheader and should have live betting at sportsbooks. Houston won a third straight Monday, 112-111 in New Orleans. James Harden had 35 points and Trevor Ariza a season-high 31. Dwight Howard missed a third straight due to a sprained ankle. San Antonio played without Tim Duncan on Monday, but it wouldn't have mattered in that blowout loss at the Warriors. The defeat ended the Spurs' 13-game winning streak. They committed a season-high 26 turnovers. The Spurs and Rockets have split two meetings, each winning at home. Houston has lost three straight at San Antonio after winning two in a row prior to that.
Key trends: The home team is 8-0 ATS in the past eight meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: TBA for Howard and Duncan. I expect a huge bounce-back game for the Spurs.
Hornets at Jazz (TBA)
Charlotte won a third straight Monday, 129-128 in double OT at Sacramento despite DeMarcus Cousins' 56 points. The Hornets' Troy Daniels hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with nine seconds left and finished with eight 3-pointers and a career-high 28 points. Jeremy Lin had 20 points and 11 assists. Charlotte is 5-0 in OT this season. The Hornets played without Nic Batum and Cody Zeller; for sure Zeller won't play here. Utah lost by three at home to Detroit on Monday. Rudy Gobert had 17 points and 17 rebounds. Jazz forward Derrick Favors returned from a 16-game absence and had 14 points in 19 minutes. Charlotte won the first meeting 124-119 in double overtime on Jan. 18. Kemba Walker set a Charlotte franchise record with 52 points.
Key trends: The Hornets have failed to cover their past eight in Utah. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: Jazz will win.
Mavericks at Warriors (-13.5, 216)
Second ESPN game. Dallas was in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Golden State embarrassed the Spurs on Monday behind 37 points from Steph Curry, who also became the 26th player in NBA history with 1,400 career 3-pointers. It was the Warriors' 39th straight regular-season home win. Golden State is 25-2 against the West this season and has won 35 in a row at home against Western Conference teams in the regular season. Golden State played maybe its worst game of the season on Dec. 30, a 114-91 loss in Dallas. Curry missed that one. Still, the Warriors have won seven of the past eight meetings and five straight at home.
Key trends: Golden State is 2-9 ATS in its past 11 on one day of rest. The under is 8-3 in the past 11 meetings.
Early lean: I'll say the Warriors are a bit flat. Take the points.
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