I'm thinking that Knicks boss Phil Jackson won't be getting any NBA Executive of the Year votes. His three big moves this past offseason were trading for Derrick Rose and signing free agents Brandon Jennings and Joakim Noah. Those around the NBA scoffed when Jackson essentially bid against himself and gave Noah, who looked completely shot last year with the Bulls, a four-year, $72 million contract. Noah has been terrible this season and it's now apparently over as he is to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery. Noah averaged 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in 46 games. The Knicks just released Jennings - he'll definitely land with a contender after clearing waivers. He was averaging 8.6 points and 4.9 assists in around 24 minutes per night. Jackson tried to trade Rose to Minnesota at least week's deadline, but the Wolves smartly passed on a swap for Ricky Rubio. There's now talk the Knicks might simply waive Rose, which is stunning. On the bright side for Knicks fans: at least they aren't the Nets.
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Knicks at Magic (-2.5, 215)
New York lost 92-91 at home to Toronto on Monday as Carmelo Anthony missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. He finished 9-for-26 for 24 points. Rose suffered a shoulder stinger in the game but did return so he should be OK here. Kristaps Porzingis missed a second straight game with an ankle injury. Orlando ended a two-game skid with a 105-86 home win over Atlanta on Saturday. Newly-acquired Terrence Ross had 24 points. New York and Orlando have split two meetings this season. The Magic have won three of the last four meetings in Orlando.
Key trends: The Knicks are 6-2-1 against the spread in their past nine in Orlando. The "over/under" is 10-3 in the Magic's past 13 vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: I am doubting Porzingis plays, so go Magic.
Wizards at Raptors (-3, 214)
Huge letdown game possibility for Washington as it hosted Golden State on Tuesday. Toronto learned earlier Monday that All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry was expected to miss at least the rest of the regular season due to wrist surgery - I'll go into that on Thursday's Opening Line Report - but won its fourth straight, 92-91 over the Knicks on a last-second jumper from DeMar DeRozan. He had 37 points. Toronto beat Washington 113-103 on Nov. 2 and has taken eight straight in the series.
Key trends: The Wizards are 4-1 ATS in the past five in Toronto. The under is 4-1 in the previous five meetings overall.
Early lean: Raptors and under.
Mavericks at Hawks (-5, 199)
Dallas brings a two-game winning run into this one after a 96-89 home win over Miami on Monday. Seth Curry had 29 points (he was way better than his brother was on Monday) and Harrison Barnes had 24. The Mavs closed the game on a 12-0 run. Atlanta ended a three-game losing streak with a 114-98 upset in Boston on Monday and begins a six-game homestand here. Dwight Howard was ejected in the third quarter vs. the Celtics, but it was nothing that should seem him be suspended for this one. Atlanta won the first meeting with Dallas 97-82 on Jan. 7 and has won the past six in the series.
Key trends: The favorite is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 5-1 in the previous six.
Early lean: Hawks and under.
76ers at Heat (-7.5, 213.5)
Philly lost a second in a row Monday, 119-108 to Golden State amid news that Joel Embiid might now miss the rest of the season with his knee issues. What a dang shame but not a surprise. Dario Saric had 21 points for Philadelphia, and he might steal the Rookie of the Year Award. Miami's three-game winning streak ended in Dallas on Monday, 96-89. Goran Dragic scored 24 points for the Heat and Hassan Whiteside, whom the Mavs really tried to sign the past offseason, had 19 points and 19 rebounds. Philadelphia holds a 2-1 series lead vs. Miami and with a win will take the season series for the first time since 2013-14.
Key trends: The Sixers are 4-1-1 ATS in their past six in Miami. The over is 13-5 in Philly's past 18 overall.
Early lean: Heat and over.
Nuggets at Bucks (-3, 226)
Denver was in Chicago on Tuesday night. Milwaukee lost in Cleveland on Monday, 102-95. Malcolm Brogdon scored 20 points to lead Milwaukee, and All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored just nine on 4 of 13 shooting. The Bucks' Michael Beasley hurt his knee in the game and it looked bad. Beasley started for Khris Middleton, who didn't make the trip as part of the team's plan to rest him in back-to-back games.Denver beat Milwaukee 121-117 on Feb. 3. Nikola Jokic had 20 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in the first triple-double of his career.
Key trends: The Nuggets are 0-7 ATS in their past seven on Wednesday. The over is 4-1 in the Bucks' past five vs. the West.
Early lean: Bucks and over.
Pistons at Pelicans (-2, 209)
Detroit hosted Portland on Tuesday. New Orleans is 0-3 with DeMarcus Cousins after losing 118-110 in Oklahoma City on Sunday. To make matters worse, Cousins got a silly technical foul early in the game, meaning he will sit this one out unless the NBA rescinds it (and it might as it was pretty weak). Cousins had 31 points and 10 rebounds in just 22 minutes. Anthony Davis had 38. Detroit routed New Orleans 118-98 on Feb. 1 behind 38 points from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. In the final 17 minutes of the game, Detroit outscored the Pelicans 52-24.
Key trends: The Pistons are 2-7 ATS in the past nine meetings. The over is 6-2 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Wait on Cousins. Like Pels if he can play but Pistons if not.
Cavaliers at Celtics (+1, 222.5)
First of an ESPN doubleheader and probably the most important game of the week. If the Celtics have any shot of catching the Cavs for the top spot in the East, they probably have to win this one and also April 5 vs. Cleveland, which leads the season series 2-0. The Cavs have taken eight of the past nine in the series. Cleveland got LeBron James back from strep throat on Monday and beat the Bucks 102-95. He wasn't quite 100 percent but had 24 points. Boston clearly was looking ahead to this one in losing 114-98 at home to Atlanta on Monday. With 19 points, Isaiah Thomas' franchise-record streak of consecutive 20-point games ended at 43. The Celtics did get Avery Bradley back after he missed 22 of the past 23 games.
Key trends: The road team is 6-1-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The under is 4-0 in the previous four in Boston.
Early lean: Celtics and under.
Pacers at Spurs ( -11, 211)
Indiana pulled an upset in Houston on Monday, 117-108. It was just the second win in nine games for the Pacers and only their 10th road win of the season. Jeff Teague had 25 points. San Antonio won a fourth consecutive game Sunday, 119-98 to close its season-high eight-game Rodeo Road Trip. Kawhi Leonard had 25 points and Pau Gasol 15 in his second-game back from a 15-game absence due to a broken left hand. Indiana has lost 13 of its last 14 regular-season games at San Antonio.
Key trends: The home team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 5-2 in San Antonio's past seven on Wednesday.
Early lean: Spurs and over.
Timberwolves at Jazz (-7, 200)
Utah was in Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Minnesota won in Sacramento on Monday, 102-88. Karl-Anthony Towns had 29 points and 17 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins scored 27 points. Wiggins has scored 20 or more points in a franchise-record 18 consecutive games. He has blown up since Zach LaVine was lost for the season. Utah is 2-0 vs. Minnesota this season and on a five-game run overall in the series.
Key trends: The favorite is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 5-1 in Utah's past six on Wednesday.
Early lean: Wolves and under.
Rockets at Clippers (-1, 231)
Second ESPN game. Houston was upset 117-108 at home by Indiana on Monday, blowing an early 17-point lead. Lou Williams led the Rockets with 28 points, while James Harden added 25 points with 12 assists. It was Houston's 47th straight game with at least 100 points, tying a franchise record set in 1969-70. L.A. ended a two-game slide with a 124-121 OT win over Charlotte on Sunday. Blake Griffin scored a season-high 43 points and added 10 rebounds and five assists. Chris Paul had 15 points, 17 assists, nine rebounds and no turnovers in 41 minutes.Houston beat L.A. 140-116 on Dec. 30 in the first meeting. Harden had 30 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
Key trends: The home team is 7-3 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The over is 10-2 in the previous 12.
Early lean: Clippers and over.
Nets at Kings (-4.5, 214.5)
Plenty of good seats available! Brooklyn brings a 16-game skid into this one after losing 112-95 at Golden State on Saturday as the biggest dog of the year (Nets covered). Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 16 points, while Caris LeVert, one of the Nets' few good-looking young players, was out with the flu. Sacramento dropped 1-2 since trading DeMarcus Cousins following a 102-88 home loss to Minnesota on Monday. Kosta Koufos had 14 points and 11 rebounds.Sacramento won in Brooklyn 122-105 on Nov. 27 behind 59 points from Cousins and Rudy Gay, who is now out for the season.
Key trends: The Nets are 5-2 ATS in their past seven on Wednesday. They are 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 6-0 in the Kings' past six.
Early lean: Nets and under.
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