"The boss wants to see you." That's generally not a sentence you want to hear, no matter your profession. And when you hear of an owner of a sports team giving his head coach a vote of confidence, that's not usually going to end well for said coach. However, Pistons coach/president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy did get the dreaded vote of confidence from team owner Tom Gores recently. Van Gundy is in his third season in the dual roles with the franchise. Detroit snuck into the playoffs last year at 44-38 but enters Wednesday's game at just 19-24. Van Gundy was given a five-year, $35 million deal in May 2014 and I'm sure Gores would rather not eat the rest of that contract. I could see him telling Van Gundy that he has to pick one role and focus on that exclusively after this season. The Pistons move into a new building to share with the Red Wings in downtown Detroit for the 2017-18 season, and I'm sure Gores would like a little momentum/buzz to help sell new season tickets.
Raptors at 76ers (+6, 212)
You might see the Raptors rest a DeMar DeRozan or Kyle Lowry, etc., here as they were in Brooklyn on Tuesday. Philadelphia won for the fourth time in five games Monday, 113-104 in Milwaukee. Joel Embiid had 22 points and 12 rebounds. The Sixers had lost nine straight to the Bucks. Nerlens Noel was a late scratch with a sprained ankle. Toronto has won the past 14 in the series against Philadelphia, two of those this season.
Key trends: The Raptors are 7-0 against the spread in the past seven meetings. The "over/under" is 4-0 in the past four meetings.
Early lean: 76ers and over.
Grizzlies at Wizards (-4, 205.5)
Memphis lost to Chicago 108-104 on Sunday in a minor upset. Mike Conley had 28 points and eight assists and Marc Gasol 24 points and 11 rebounds. Memphis always hosts a game on MLK Day weekend. Washington won for the fifth time in six games Monday, 120-102 over Portland. Bradley Beal scored 25 points and John Wall had 24. Memphis beat visiting Washington 112-103 in OT on Oct. 30. However, the Grizz have dropped their past two trips to D.C.
Key trends: The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 4-1 in Washington's past five vs. the West.
Early lean: Wizards and over.
Trail Blazers at Hornets (-6, 218)
Portland dropped a second straight Monday, 120-101 in Washington. CJ McCollum was held to just 12 points, ending his streak of eight straight games with at least 25. He did become the eighth player in the NBA to reach 1,000 points on the season, however. Charlotte dropped its fifth straight Monday, all on the road, 109-98 in Boston. Kemba Walker scored 24 points and Marvin Williams had 21. Portland and Charlotte split the season series, 1-1, in 2015-16 with each team winning its home game. The Blazers have won 10 of the past 13 meetings overall.
Key trends: The favorite is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 6-2 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Hornets and over.
Knicks at Celtics (TBA)
New York found a new way to lose Monday, 108-107 at home to Atlanta. Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah all missed fairly easy shots at the end with a chance to win it. Coach Jeff Hornacek moved Courtney Lee to the bench and started undrafted rookie Ron Baker. Kristaps Porzingis was out again with his Achilles problem. Boston won a third in a row Monday, 109-98 over Charlotte. Isaiah Thomas had 35 points, 17 in the fourth quarter. It was Thomas' 25th straight game with 20 or more points. Avery Bradley returned after missing four games. Boston is 2-0 vs. New York this season and has taken four in a row overall vs. the Knicks.
Key trends: The favorite is 9-4 ATS in the past 13 meetings. The under is 5-2 in the past seven.
Early lean: Wait on Porzingis.
Magic at Pelicans (TBA)
Orlando lost a second consecutive game Monday, 125-112 in Denver in game No. 5 of a six-game trip. Elfrid Payton scored 20 points and had 12 assists. Magic leading scorer Evan Fournier was out with a bruised heel. New Orleans dropped a second straight Monday, 98-95 at Indiana. Anthony Davis is banged up again after taking a hard fall. He injured both his thumb and hip, although X-rays were negative. I doubt Davis plays here. The Magic have won four straight and six of the last eight meetings with New Orleans overall. It was 89-82 earlier this season. Davis missed it.
Key trends: The Magic are 2-10 ATS in their past 12 Wednesday games. The under is 4-0 in the Pelicans' past four vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Wait on Davis.
Bucks at Rockets (-8.5, 229)
First of an ESPN doubleheader. Houston was in Miami on Tuesday and to get center Clint Capela back from a 14-game injury absence. Milwaukee lost its second in a row Monday, 113-104 at home to Philadelphia. Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo each scored 23 points for Milwaukee, but the Freak was in second-half foul trouble and did foul out with about three minutes left. Milwaukee and Houston split last year and the Rockets have taken the past three at home.
Key trends: The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 5-1 in the Bucks' past six road games.
Early lean: Bucks and over.
Hawks at Pistons (TBA)
Atlanta won its second straight Monday, 108-107 at the Knicks on Dennis Schroder's 3-pointer with 22 seconds left. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 points and Paul Millsap had 17 for the Hawks, who won for the ninth time in 10 games. Hardaway Jr. started because the Hawks rested Dwight Howard, who should play here. Detroit closed a five-game West Coast trip at 2-3 following a 102-97 victory at the Lakers on Sunday. Tobias Harris scored 23 points and hit a decisive 3-pointer with 30.5 seconds to play. Andre Drummond had 15 points and 17 rebounds. Starters Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (second straight game) and Jon Leuer (fourth) both sat. Last meeting of the season between Atlanta and Detroit and they have split the previous two. The Pistons have lost three of the past four at home in the series.
Key trends: The Hawks are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 6-1 in the previous seven.
Early lean: Wait on Howard and KCP.
Thunder at Warriors (-12.5, 226)
Second ESPN game. Oklahoma City was routed 120-98 at the Clippers on Monday. Russell Westbrook was 7-for-19 for 24 points and not close to a triple-double. He was the only starter to score in double figures and got the fourth quarter off. Steven Adams sat as he was in the NBA's concussion protocol. Golden State destroyed Cleveland on Monday, 126-91 in the Warriors' likely best game of the season. Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant all scored at least 20 points and Draymond Green had a triple-double. This is the second meeting of the season between Westbrook and Durant. On Nov. 3 in Oakland, the Warriors rolled 122-96. Durant was much better in that one with 39 points and seven rebounds. Russ had 20 points, 10 assists and six boards but hit just 4-for-15 from the field.
Key trends: The Thunder are 0-4 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Warriors and over. I'd take the points if I knew Adams was playing but it's not looking good.
Pacers at Kings (+1, 217)
Indiana beat New Orleans 98-95 on Monday. Jeff Teague finished with 16 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds -- he has yet to have a triple-double in his career. Thaddeus Young left in the first half after getting poked in the left eye but returned at the start of the third quarter. Sacramento lost a second in a row Sunday, 122-118 vs. Oklahoma City. DeMarcus Cousins had 31 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. The Kings are 1-5 on their season-high seven-game homestand and go on a monster road trip after this game. First meeting of the season between Indiana and Sacramento. The Kings have taken the past four.
Key trends: The Pacers are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 7-1 in Indiana's past eight.
Early lean: Kings and over.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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