Could last week's trade deadline have gone any better for Cleveland? No, the Cavs didn't make a deal after earlier acquiring Kyle Korver, but the Celtics, the presumed top challenger to Cleveland in the East, didn't get better by landing a Paul George or Jimmy Butler. In addition, the Mavericks were unable to trade Deron Williams so he took a buyout and signed with the Cavs. Dallas did deal Andrew Bogut to Philadelphia, but he's taking a buyout and now expected to sign with Cleveland too. Two excellent veterans for nothing. I no longer think the Warriors are near-locks to win the NBA title after those two additions (as long as Kevin Love gets back healthy). Bogut could have gone back to Golden State if he wanted. Cleveland GM David Griffin has now landed a former No. 1 overall draft pick (Bogut), No. 2 (Derrick Williams) and No. 3 (Williams) this year without making a trade.
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Warriors at Wizards (+7, 231)
First of an NBA TV doubleheader. Golden State was in Philadelphia on Monday with Kevin Durant probable after missing a game with a hand contusion. Washington dropped a second in a row Sunday, 102-92 at home to Utah. John Wall led the Wizards with 23 points and 11 assists but committed nine turnovers. It's the first meeting between Golden State and Washington. The Warriors have won their past six in D.C.
Key trends: The road team is 5-1 against the spread in the past six meetings. The "over/under" is 6-2 in the Wizards' past eight at home.
Early lean: Wizards (might Steve Kerr rest a key guy?) and over.
Trail Blazers at Pistons (-4, 212.5)
Portland lost in Toronto on Sunday, 112-106 despite 28 points from Damian Lillard and even though the Raptors were without All-Star guard Kyle Lowry. Detroit's two-game winning run ended in a 104-98 home loss to Boston on Sunday. Andre Drummond had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Pistons, but he went 1 of 11 on free throws. The Pistons were 16 of 35 from the free-throw line. Detroit defeated Portland, 125-124, in double overtime at the Moda Center on Jan. 8. The Pistons have won three straight in the series.
Key trends: The home team is 7-3 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The over is 10-1 in the previous 11.
Early lean: Pistons and over.
Nuggets at Bulls (-4.5, 224.5)
Denver lost at home to Memphis 105-98 on Sunday. Danilo Gallinari had 24 points as Denver dropped to 0-12 this season when failing to reach 100 points. Forward Kenneth Faried didn't play due to a sore lower back and Emmuanel Mudiay didn't simply because of coach's decision. He has fallen out of favor. Chicago won a fourth straight Sunday, 117-99 over Cleveland to improve to 3-0 vs. the Cavs this year. LeBron James was out with an illness, so that helped a little. Jimmy Butler had a triple-double and Dwyane Wade was two rebounds shy of one. Chicago lost in Denver 110-107 on Nov. 22 and also has dropped its past two at home vs. the Nuggets.
Key trends: The home team is 7-2 ATS in the past nine meetings. The over is 5-1 in the previous six.
Early lean: Bulls and over.
Suns at Grizzlies (-9.5, 212)
Phoenix lost his second in a row Sunday, 100-96 in Milwaukee. TJ Warren led the Suns with 23 points, and Alan Williams scored a career-high 17 points and tied his career high with 15 rebounds. I do this for a living and thought I knew who every NBA player was. I had to look up Alan Williams. Memphis ended a two-game losing streak with a 105-98 win in Denver on Sunday. Mike Conley had 31 points, 13 in the fourth quarter. Last meeting between Phoenix and Memphis. The Grizzlies lead 2-0.
Key trends: The Suns are 4-9 ATS in the past 13 meetings. The over is 7-2 in the previous nine in Memphis.
Early lean: Grizzlies and over.
Jazz at Thunder (TBA)
Utah won its third consecutive Sunday, 102-92 at Washington. Gordon Hayward scored 30 points, and Rudy Gobert added 15 points and 20 rebounds. The Jazz outrebounded the Wizards 52-27. Oklahoma City won its third in a row, all at home, 118-110 over New Orleans on Sunday. Russell Westbrook had a 41-point triple-double, 21 of those in the fourth quarter. Victor Oladipo missed his second game in a row with back spasms. Utah and OKC have split two meetings this season in Salt Lake City. The Jazz have dropped their past 10 in Oklahoma City.
Key trends: The Jazz are 2-7-1 ATS in the past 10 in OKC. The under is 8-2 in those.
Early lean: I presume TBA for Oladipo. I like Jazz to end that losing streak here regardless.
Hornets at Lakers (+4.5, 215)
Second NBA TV game. Los Angeles has been crushed in back-to-back games since trading leading scorer Lou Williams to Houston - losing is just what new boss Magic Johnson wants to increase his team's chances of landing a top-three pick in the draft. Not only would L.A. have to give it to Philly if it's outside the top three, it also would owe Orlando a 2019 unprotected first-rounder. If it's in the top three, the Magic only get a couple of second-rounders. Charlotte lost 124-121 in OT on Sunday at the Clippers. The Hornets rallied from 17 down to force OT in the second of a back-to-back. The Hornets beat the Lakers 117-113 on Dec. 20. Kemba Walker had 28 points and 10 assists in leading his team back from a 16-point hole. Jordan Clarkson paced the Lakers with 25 points behind 7of9 3-point shooting.
Key trends: The road team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 5-2 in the Lakers' past seven.
Early lean: Hornets and over.
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