Sacramento Kings ownership was all in on this season with the team playing in its new publicly-funded arena. By all in, I obviously don't mean winning an NBA title but simply making the playoffs, which the terribly-run Kings haven't done since 2006. I'm not sure what's so exciting about getting a No. 8 seed and then getting swept in the first round by Golden State, but I'm also not in marketing. The Kings knew that their second-best player, small forward Rudy Gay, was going to leave in free agency next summer because he told them that. Instead of getting something for him before Gay walks, the Kings kept him for that playoff push. Well, forget that now. Sacramento had a chance to make some hay with a seven-game homestand but completed that just 1-6 on Wednesday night in blowing a huge lead to Indiana and watching Gay go down with a torn Achilles tendon that obviously ends his season. Gay is averaging 18.7 points and 6.3 rebounds on the season. There are actually two good things that could come of this: 1) Gay decides to exercise his 2017-18 option year because he's coming off a such a serious injury; 2) the Kings land a Top-10 pick in the 2017 draft. Anything outside the Top 10, they would have to give to Chicago.
Blazers at Celtics (-6.5, 220)
Portland was in Philadelphia on Friday night. Boston had a three-game winning streak end in a 117-106 home upset loss to the Knicks on Wednesday. Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 39 points, his 13th time this season with 30 or more points. But Al Horford was 2-for-14 from the field. Avery Bradley had just returned from a sore right Achilles but sat out again and now it sounds as if he came back too soon and will be out a while. First meeting of the season between Portland and Boston. They split last year, each winning at home.
Key trends: The favorite is 8-2 against the spread in the past 10 meetings. The "over/under" is 6-0 in Boston's past nine vs. the West.
Early lean: Celtics and over.
Wizards at Pistons (TBA)
Washington won a fourth straight Thursday, 113-110 at the Knicks. John Wall had 29 points and 13 assists and scored the Wizards' final four points in the last 32 seconds. Surging Otto Porter Jr. added 23 points. A Wizards assistant appeared to interfere with a play late in the game and caused the Knicks' Courtney Lee to pass up a 3-pointer. We shall see if that assistant faces league punishment. I would think so. Detroit won its second game in a row Wednesday, 118-95 over Atlanta. Reggie Jackson led the way with 26 points, while Marcus Morris had 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Detroit scored the first seven points and never looked back. Starters Jon Leuer (right knee) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (left rotator cuff strain) did not play again. Washington won the first meeting of the season with Detroit, 122-108 in D.C. on Dec. 16.
Key trends: The Wizards are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 3-1-1 in the past five in Detroit.
Early lean: Like Wizards regardless of those two injured Pistons.
Nets at Hornets (-13, 218.5)
Brooklyn was in New Orleans on Friday so you could see Brook Lopez sit this one out. Charlotte hosted Toronto on Friday, but the Hornets don't sit guys out in the second of a back-to-back usually. Brooklyn and Charlotte have split two meetings this season, both very close and in New York. The Nets won the last one on a Randy Foye 3-point buzzer-beater.
Key trends: The Nets are 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 4-1-1 in the past six in Charlotte.
Early lean: Nets and over.
76ers at Hawks (TBA)
Philadelphia hosted Portland on Friday, so that presumably means Joel Embiid won't play here. Atlanta hosted Chicago on Friday. Occasionally the Hawks do rest Dwight Howard in the second of a back-to-back. Maybe they feel more comfortable doing so with Embiid out because the Sixers are terrible without him. Atlanta has blown out Philly twice this year.
Key trends: The 76ers are 0-5 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Wait on Embiid.
Suns at Knicks (-6, 220.5)
Phoenix dropped its second consecutive on Thursday, 118-103 in Cleveland. Tyson Chandler had 22 points and 16 rebounds -- tying a club record with a sixth straight game of at least 15 boards -- and Devin Booker 21. Brandon Knight returned from a two-game absence but was in foul trouble and did little. New York got back Kristaps Porzingis on Thursday but lost 113-110 to Washington. Carmelo Anthony scored a Knicks-record 25 points in the second quarter and finished with 34. Joakim Noah missed his second straight game with a sprained left ankle. Phoenix beat New York 113-111 in OT on Dec. 13. The Knicks led by six with 2:57 left in regulation but didn't score again as the Suns pulled even. Porzingis finished with a game-high 34 points.
Key trends: The Suns are 2-6 ATS in their past eight road games. The over is 6-0 in New York's past six on Saturday.
Early lean: Knicks and over.
Bucks at Heat (-2, 207)
Milwaukee was in Orlando on Friday. Miami won its second game in a row Thursday, 99-95 over Dallas. Goran Dragic had 32 points, and Tyler Johnson scored 10 of his 23 in the fourth quarter. It was only the Heat's third win this season when trailing at halftime. Milwaukee and Miami have split two meetings this season, each winning at home.
Key trends: The Bucks are 7-2 ATS in the past nine meetings. The under is 4-1 in the past five in Miami.
Early lean: Heat and under.
Rockets at Grizzlies (+3.5, 217.5)
Houston hosted Golden State on Friday with Ryan Anderson expected to return from an illness, while Memphis hosted Sacramento. So huge advantage to the Grizzlies. Memphis is 2-0 vs. Houston this year, averaging 112.5 points in the two. The Grizz rallied from a 15-point third-quarter hole in the last meeting. Tony Allen and Co. have done a pretty good job on James Harden as he's averaging 21.5 points, 13.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds in the two games. He's shooting only 30.8 percent from the field.
Key trends: The Rockets are 2-5 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five in Memphis.
Early lean: Grizzlies and over.
Spurs at Cavaliers (TBA)
ABC begins its Saturday night showcase series with this potential NBA Finals preview. San Antonio beat Denver 118-104 on Thursday but lost Pau Gasol to a broken finger suffered in warm-ups. So he's going to miss some time. Tony Parker sat with a sore ankle but is traveling with the team to Cleveland. Kawhi Leonard had 34 points, his fifth in a row with at least 30. Cleveland bounced back from its huge loss at Golden State on Monday to beat Phoenix 118-103 on Thursday. Kyrie Irving had 26 points and LeBron James 21 points and 15 assists. They will both start for the East in the All-Star Game, as will Leonard for the West. Kevin Love sat out with back spasms. Tristan Thompson dislocated his finger in the game but did return. San Antonio and Cleveland split last year, each winning at home.
Key trends: The road team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 9-1 in the Spurs' past 10 after a win.
Early lean: Wait on Parker and Love.
Clippers at Nuggets (TBA)
Los Angeles began life without Chris Paul on Thursday and not surprisingly suffered its first loss of 2017 in a 104-101 home defeat to Minnesota. DeAndre Jordan had a career-high 29 points and 16 rebounds but missed some key free throws late. The Clippers were only 4-for-22 from long range. Denver's three-game winning streak ended in a 118-104 loss in San Antonio on Thursday. Nikola Jokic had a career-high 35 points. Danilo Gallinari (ankle) and Wilson Chandler (personal) were out. L.A. and Denver have split two meetings in Los Angeles. The losing team had 102 points in each.
Key trends: The Clippers are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 4-0 in the previous four in Denver.
Early lean: Wait on the two Nuggets.
Pacers at Jazz (-7, 203.5)
Indiana was at the Lakers on Friday. Utah was in Dallas with Rodney Hood out and not expected here, either. Joe Ingles has been starting for him. First meeting between Indiana and Utah, which won both last season. The one in Salt Lake City was a 122-119 OT decision. Derrick Favors had 35 points as the Jazz were without Rudy Gobert. Indiana's George Hill missed a potential tying 3-pointer at the buzzer. Of course he's with Utah now. Paul George had a career-high 48 for the Pacers.
Key trends: The Jazz 0-4-1 ATS in their past five in the second of a back-to-back. The under is 5-2 in Utah's past seven vs. the East.
Early lean: Jazz and under.
Kings at Bulls (-5.5, 204)
Sacramento was in Memphis on Friday and Chicago in Atlanta. Dwyane Wade hasn't been playing both ends of a back-to-back but early reports are that he will this weekend. Taj Gibson was a game-time call for Friday. First meeting between the Kings and Bulls. The common bond between these teams is that Rajon Rondo wore out his welcome with the Kings last year and has already done so in Chicago. The Bulls swept the Kings in 2015-16.
Key trends: The Kings are 7-2 ATS in the past nine meetings. The under is 6-0 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: Kings and under.
Doc's Sports has a great offer for new clients. You can get $60 worth of picks from any Advisory Board handicapper for any sport he handicaps. All with no obligation and no credit card needed. Claim your free picks today .
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- NBA Commissioner Weighs In on Legal US Sports Betting
- Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns NBA Playoff Series Predictions and Odds
- Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets NBA Playoff Series Predictions and Odds
- LA Lakers Could be in Real Trouble with LeBron and AD Injuries
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/20/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/15/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/13/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/8/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/6/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/1/2021 and Opening Line Report