Free NBA Picks: Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, Opening Line Report and Handicapping
The marquee matchup of the night in the NBA is Cleveland at Oklahoma City (well, if two banged-up Thunder stars are in the lineup). What makes it even more interesting in my opinion is that it's the last time that LeBron James and Paul George will share the same court this season - sorry, there's not going to be a Cavs-Thunder NBA Finals. Of course, James was trying to get his former GM to land George in a trade this past summer, but that didn't work out reportedly because James wouldn't commit to stay in Cleveland past this season. Last week's trade deadline was notable for the Los Angeles Lakers because they cleared enough salary to have enough cap room to offer James and George max contracts. It's no secret that George is from L.A. and that the Lakers have already tampered with George, getting fined $500,000 by the NBA in August. LeBron has two mansions in Los Angeles and wants to grow his personal brand & empire globally after he's done playing - and there's nowhere better to do that than Hollywood. It's possible the Lakers lose out on both and that George stays in OKC and LeBron stays in Cleveland or goes to Houston. Or, the next time the duo is on the same court it could be in purple & gold.
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Heat at Raptors ( -8.5, 206.5)
The Heat ended a five-game losing streak Friday with a 91-85 home win over the Bucks in Dwyane Wade's first game back with the team. He had just three points in 22 minutes. Kelly Olynyk was out with a shoulder injury. The Raptors won their fifth in a row Sunday, 123-103 in Charlotte. C.J. Miles had 24 points off the bench. It was the 300th career win as Raptors coach for Dwane Casey. Rookie forward OG Anunoby sprained his right ankle in the second quarter and did not return. Miami won the first meeting between the teams this season, 90-89 in Toronto on Jan. 9. Wayne Ellington converted a go-ahead driving layup with less than a second remaining. You may remember that Serge Ibaka and James Johnson threw punches at one another and were tossed.
Key trends: The Raptors have covered five straight games overall. The under has hit in the past five in this series.
Early lean: Heat and under.
Hawks at Bucks (-8, 207)
Atlanta stopped a two-game slide with a 118-115 upset of visiting Detroit on Sunday. Dewayne Dedmon matched his career high with 20 points and had 13 rebounds; he gave the Hawks the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 1:34 left. The Bucks won in Orlando on Saturday, 111-104, in the second of a back-to-back. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 32 points. It was his team's sixth straight win in the second of a B2B so file that away. John Henson did not play because of a sore right hamstring and Jabari Parker isn't playing the second of B2Bs yet in his return from a torn ACL. It's the first meeting between these teams since a Bucks 117-106 road win on Oct. 29. Milwaukee never trailed.
Key trends: The Hawks are 8-1 ATS in their past nine in Milwaukee. The under is 7-0 in the Bucks' past seven after a win.
Early lean: Bucks and under.
Rockets at Timberwolves (+3, 222.5)
The Rockets won an eighth consecutive game Sunday, 104-97 over Dallas. James Harden had 27 points and Chris Paul 25. Trevor Ariza missed his seventh straight game with a strained left hamstring, and I doubt he's back until after the break. The Timberwolves stopped a two-game slide with a 111-106 home win over the Kings on Sunday - it was Minnesota's 13 th straight home victory. Karl-Anthony Towns had 29 points. Houston won the first meeting this season with Minnesota, 116-98 at home. It was the Wolves' 10th straight loss there.
Key trends: The Rockets are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 5-1 in the previous six in Minnesota.
Early lean: Wolves and over.
Cavaliers at Thunder (TBA)
First of a TNT doubleheader. Cleveland won its third in a row in hugely impressive fashion Sunday, 121-99 in Boston as the four trade acquisitions all made their team debuts. George Hill is the only one who started and finished with 12 points in 21 minutes. Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. combined for 32 off the bench. Oklahoma City beat Memphis on Sunday, 110-92 without both Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. Paul George had 33 points. OKC goes for the season sweep as it blasted the Cavs on Jan. 20, 148-124. George scored 36 points, Westbrook had 23 and 20 assists and Anthony had a season-high 29 points. The 148 points tied the most even given up by Cleveland in a regulation game. LeBron was a ghastly minus-33.
Key trends: The Cavs are 1-9 ATS in their past 10 vs. teams with a winning home record. The over is 5-2 in OKC's previous seven after a win.
Early lean: Wait on Russ & Melo.
Kings at Mavericks (TBA)
The Kings lost for the fourth time in five games Sunday, 111-106 in Minnesota. Rookie De'Aaron Fox had 23 points, but his team turned it over 19 times and were outscored by 16 at the free-throw line. The Mavs lost by seven in Houston on Sunday in the second of a back-to-back. Dirk Nowitzki sat out for the first time this season. Wesley Matthews didn't make the trip because of tightness in his lower back. These teams have split two meetings this season, each winning on the road.
Key trends: The Kings are 7-2 ATS in the past nine meetings. The under has hit in nine straight Tuesday games for Dallas.
Early lean: Wait on Dirk and Matthews.
Spurs at Nuggets (TBA)
Second TNT game. The Spurs were in Utah on Monday without LaMarcus Aldridge due to a knee injury. The Nuggets won in Phoenix on Saturday, 123-113. Wilson Chandler had his best game of the season with 26 points on 11-for-15 shooting and Will Barton had 25. Devin Harris had nine points and two steals in 22 minutes in his Denver debut. San Antonio is 2-0 vs. Denver this season and has won five straight overall in the series.
Key trends: The favorite is 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The over is 6-1 in Denver's past seven overall.
Early lean: Wait on Aldridge.
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