No NBA head coach has been fired this season, and I doubt one is at this point, although there will be openings after the regular season. Will we see a top college coach head to the NBA? There has been very mixed success with the pros dipping into the college ranks. Billy Donovan has been good with Oklahoma City. John Calipari flopped years ago with the Nets, but you continue to hear his name linked to the New Orleans Pelicans - and that job will be open assuming the Pels miss the playoffs - because two of Coach Cal's former UK stars, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, are on the team. Mike Krzyzewski could have probably any job he wanted in the NBA other than with the Spurs, but he's not leaving Duke. Tom Izzo nearly took a couple of NBA jobs, but he'll stay at Michigan State. The Association had been high on UConn's Kevin Ollie, but his star has faded. One guy I could see landing in the NBA next year is Villanova's Jay Wright, especially if he leads the Wildcats to a repeat. What more would there be to accomplish on the college level? Something to keep an eye on this summer.
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Mavericks at 76ers ( +3.5, 207)
Dallas ended a two-game losing streak with a 112-107 upset at Washington on Wednesday. Dirk Nowitzki scored 10 of his 20 points and Seth Curry added 10 of his 19 in the fourth. The Mavs scored a season-high 39 points in that quarter. Nerlens Noel scored 12 points and played 22 minutes after missing three games with a sore right knee. I recommended Philadelphia +16.5 at Golden State on Tuesday and the 76ers lost only 106-104, blowing a big fourth-quarter lead in what would have been the upset of the season. Rookie Dario Saric had 25 points in the Sixers' eighth straight loss to Golden State.Philadelphia lost in Dallas 113-95 on Feb. 1.
Key trends: The home team is 6-0 against the spread in the past seven meetings. The "over/under" is 7-3 in the Sixers' past 10 at home.
Early lean: 76ers and over.
Bulls at Wizards (TBA)
Chicago lost for the sixth time in seven games Wednesday, 98-91 at home to Memphis. Dwyane Wade left in the fourth quarter with what is for now being called a sprained elbow, but he had an MRI and early returns are not good. I'll have more on that in Saturday's Opening Line Report. Jimmy Butler was held to 14 points - he hasn't been the same since the All-Star break. Washington returned home from a long road trip on Wednesday and was surprised by Dallas, 112-107. Wizards guard John Wall had 26 points and 11 assists despite briefly leaving the game in the second quarter with a sprained left foot. Wall admitted he wasn't 100 percent after the game so he could sit here. The Wizards have dropped back-to-back games for the first time since early January. Chicago won the first meeting with Washington, but the Wizards have taken the past two.
Key trends: The Bulls are 1-6 ATS in their past seven. The Wizards are 1-9-1 ATS in their past 11 playing on one day of rest. The over is 8-0 in Washington's past eight.
Early lean: Wait on Wall.
Celtics at Nets (+9, 223)
Brooklyn was at the Knicks on Thursday, so at least the Nets don't have to travel back. Boston won its second straight Wednesday, 117-104 over Minnesota. The Celtics were down two at the half. Isaiah Thomas had 27 points and Al Horford added 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. The Celtics are 21-7 this year when they have their projected starting five all healthy and in the opening lineup. Boston is 2-0 vs. Brooklyn this season, averaging 116.5 ppg.
Key trends: The Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their past five in Brooklyn. The under is 4-1 in those.
Early lean: Celtics and over.
Raptors at Pistons (-3.5, 199.5)
Toronto hosted Oklahoma City on Thursday. Detroit lost its second straight Wednesday in the second of a back-to-back, 97-83 at home to Utah. The Pistons were way down at the half after shooting 2-for-19 outside the paint before intermission. They also finished just 3-for-13 from long range overall. No starter had more than 10 points. Neighboring Toronto and Detroit have split two meetings, each winning at home.
Key trends: The Raptors are 2-6 ATS in the past eight meetings. The over is 8-2 in the previous 10.
Early lean: Pistons and over.
Rockets at Pelicans (+5, 227.5)
Houston won its third in a row Wednesday, crushing the Lakers 139-100. Lou Williams scored 30 points against his former team and James Harden had his 17th triple-double of the season with 18 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds. He nearly had an unwanted quadruple-double because Harden also had nine turnovers. New Orleans' two-game run ended in a 120-112 loss in Miami on Wednesday in the second of a back-to-back. Davis scored 27 points and Cousins added 19 for the Pelicans. Cousins got a technical, so one more and he's suspended a game. Houston is 2-0 vs. New Orleans this season and has won the past two in the Big Easy.
Key trends: The Rockets are 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings. The under is 5-0 in the Pelicans' past five at home.
Early lean: Rockets and under.
Timberwolves at Heat (-4.5, 207.5)
NBA TV game. Minnesota started a three-game trip with a 117-104 loss in Boston on Wednesday. Ricky Rubio had a season-high 23 points to lead the Timberwolves, who dropped to 10-21 on the road. Reserves Namanja Bjelica and Lance Stephenson both left with injuries. Miami improved to 14-1 in its past 15 at home with a 120-112 win over New Orleans on Wednesday. Goran Dragic was questionable with a swollen eye and slightly blurred vision but played and had 33 points. Hassan Whiteside had 20 points and 17 rebounds. Whiteside has 14 consecutive games with at least 10 rebounds, a Heat franchise first.Miami beat Minnesota 115-113 on Feb. 6 and looks to sweep the season series for the first time since 2012-13.
Key trends: The Heat are 7-1 ATS in their past eight vs. the West. The over is 10-1 in the Wolves' previous 11 vs. the East. Minnesota is 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings.
Early lean: Heat and over.
Magic at Suns (-3, 221.5)
Orlando was no doubt losing at Golden State on Thursday. Phoenix lost 107-101 at home to Sacramento on Wednesday as a rare favorite. T.J. Warren scored 24, Devin Booker 19 and Marquese Chriss 17 for the Suns, who rested Eric Bledsoe. There's some talk his season is over. Leandro Barbosa did not play in the second half due to illness.Orlando has lost six of the last seven meetings with the Suns, including 92-87 at home on Nov. 23.
Key trends: The Magic are 2-5 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 14-5 in the Suns' past 19 at home.
Early lean: Suns and over.
Bucks at Lakers (+5, 216.5)
Milwaukee upset the Clippers in Los Angeles on Wednesday, 97-96. Six players scored in double figures for the Bucks, led by 16 points apiece from Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee held on despite not scoring in the final 1:17. The Lakers were blasted for the second game in a row Wednesday, 139-100 in Houston. The lone bright spot was a career-high 32 points from Julius Randle. Nick Young was 0-for-9 from the field. Los Angeles won in Milwaukee 122-114 on Feb. 10. Young scored 26 points and the Lakers overcame a career-high 41 points by Antetokounmpo.
Key trends: The Lakers are 0-5-1 ATS in their past six at home. The over is 4-1 in the Bucks' past five vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Bucks and over.
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