I don't think the Rajon Rondo experiment in Chicago is going to end well for anyone involved. The Bulls were supposed to get younger and rebuild this year around Jimmy Butler. Yet they signed Rondo and then Dwayne Wade. The latter you can understand because Wade is a star who helps sell tickets and is from Chicago. But Rondo made no sense whatsoever considering he's a ball hog and that doesn't fly with the offense Coach Fred Hoiberg wants to run. Rondo got a DNP-CD on Saturday night with Michael Carter-Williams starting and then Rondo got another on Monday. Rondo recently met with Bulls GM Gar Forman to discuss his future with the team. Hint: there isn't one. The Bulls would be thrilled if they could find a trade partner, but they won't. If Rondo would take less than his full contract value in a buyout, the Bulls would likely jump at that. Just another mistake by that Chicago front office, which really hasn't done anything much right since lucking into Butler.
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Thunder at Hornets (-3, 209.5)
Oklahoma City lost 98-94 at Milwaukee on Monday. Russell Westbrook committed a late turnover that sealed it for the Bucks. Westbrook had 30 points but was just 9-for-28 shooting. Charlotte lost at Chicago 118-111 on Monday despite 34 points and a season-high 11 rebounds from Kemba Walker. Charlotte big man Cody Zeller missed the game as he's in the concussion protocol. Roy Hibbert started for him. Guard Marco Belinelli (ankle) missed a fifth in a row. First meeting of the season between Charlotte and Oklahoma City. The Thunder have won the past 11 in the series.
Key trends: The favorite is 10-1 against the spread in the past 11 meetings. The "over/under" is 14-3 in Charlotte's past 17 on Wednesday.
Early lean: Hornets and over.
Hawks at Magic (TBA)
Atlanta won a third straight Sunday, 114-112 in OT against San Antonio. Tim Hardaway tied his career high with 29 points and hit a clutch 3-pointer with less than four seconds to go in regulation. Paul Millsap had a season-high 32 points to go with 13 rebounds. It was Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer's first career win over his former boss/mentor Gregg Popovich. The Hawks had lost 11 straight in the series. Orlando ended a two-game losing streak with a 115-103 win at the Knicks on Monday. Jodie Meeks scored a season-high 23 points, and Serge Ibaka and Aaron Gordon each had 22. Leading scorer Evan Fournier missed his fifth straight game with a bruised right heel. Orlando won the first meeting with Atlanta 131-120 on the road Dec. 13. Elfrid Payton had career highs of 26 points and 14 assists.
Key trends: The Hawks are 3-9 ATS in the past 12 meetings. The over is 4-0 in the Magic's past four overall.
Early lean: TBA presumably for Fournier.
Bucks at Knicks (TBA)
Milwaukee won a second in a row Monday, 98-94 over the visiting Thunder. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points and 10 rebounds and rookie Malcolm Brogdon hit two free throws with eight seconds left. Brogdon started with Matthew Dellavedova missing a third game in a row with a hamstring injury. New York lost its fifth consecutive Monday, 115-103 vs. the Magic. Kristaps Porzingis missed a second straight game with a sore left Achilles. Courtney Lee returned from a three-game absence. First meeting of season between Milwaukee and New York. They split four in 2015-16.
Key trends: The home team is 7-3 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The under is 8-2 in the previous 10 in New York.
Early lean: Wait on Porzingis.
Bulls at Cavaliers (TBA)
First of an ESPN doubleheader. Chicago ended a two-game losing streak with a 118-111 win over Charlotte on Monday behind a season-high 52 points from Butler. He scored 17 of those in the game's final four minutes and added 12 rebounds and six assists overall. Wade sat out with left knee swelling, but it's not thought to be serious. Cleveland won its third in a row Monday, 90-82 over New Orleans. LeBron James played through the flu and had 26 points. Kevin Love was dealing with food poisoning and had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Kyrie Irving sat a second straight game with a tight hamstring. Chicago won the first meeting vs. Cleveland 111-105 at home on Dec. 2. Rondo had a triple-double of 15 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
Key trends: The Bulls are 5-1 ATS in their past six in Cleveland. The under is 6-2 in the previous eight there.
Early lean: Wait on Irving -- and even LeBron might sit if he's not feeling better.
Grizzlies at Clippers (TBA)
Memphis was at the Lakers on Tuesday night with Marc Gasol questionable. I'm not confident that Chandler Parsons will play in both ends of the back-to-back, either. Los Angeles ended a six-game losing streak with a 109-98 home win over Phoenix on Monday. Chris Paul sat out again but J.J. Redick had 22 points and Jamal Crawford 18. Doubtful you see Paul here. Memphis and L.A. have split two meetings this season, each winning on the road.
Key trends: The Grizzlies are 7-1 ATS in their past eight at the Clippers. The under is 6-2-1 in the past nine meetings.
Early lean: Wait on Gasol and Paul.
Trail Blazers at Warriors (TBA)
Portland won at Minnesota 95-89 on Sunday as C.J. McCollum put up a career-high 43 points with Damian Lillard sidelined a fourth straight game due to an ankle injury. Doesn't seem likely that Lillard will return here, although he's from Oakland and certainly will want to play. Golden State won its third in a row Monday, 127-119 over Denver. Draymond Green had his second triple-double of the season with 15 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds. Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 25 points. The Warriors are the first team in NBA history to win 30 of their first 35 games in three consecutive seasons. Golden State has won the past four meetings vs. Portland. The Warriors' 45-point win over Portland on Dec. 17 matches the largest margin of victory in 220 games between these two teams.
Key trends: The home team is 7-3 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The over is 8-3 in the previous 11 at Golden State.
Early lean: Wait on Lillard.
Heat at Kings (TBA)
Miami was in Phoenix on Tuesday. Hassan Whiteside (right retinal contusion) and Justise Winslow (shoulder) did not accompany the team to Phoenix so I can't imagine them playing here. This starts a seven-game homestand for the Kings, who were in Denver on Tuesday with Rudy Gay questionable. This is the eighth back-to-back situation of the season for the Kings and they are 5-9 in all back-to-back games and are 2-5 on the back end of them. Miami won the first meeting 108-96 in overtime on Nov. 1. Sacramento has lost five straight in the series overall.
Key trends: The home team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 10-1 in the previous 11.
Early lean: Wait on all those Heat guys and to a lesser extent Gay.
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