Sunday NBA Action
March 3, 2013
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MIAMI HEAT (42-14) at NEW YORK KNICKS (35-20)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Miami -4.5 & 198
Sizzling-hot Miami seeks a 14th straight victory when it visits the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.
Although Miami has won 13 in a row since Feb. 3, the Heat have failed to cover three straight games, all at home. But they were a perfect 5-0 (SU and ATS) on the road in February, winning at Toronto by 15, at Oklahoma City by 10, at Atlanta by 13, at Chicago by 19 and at Philadelphia by a whopping 24 points. New York is also riding a win streak, prevailing in three straight games. But Friday's eight-point victory at Washington was the first time the Knicks have covered a spread since Feb. 4, as the team went 0-7-1 ATS from Feb. 6-27. New York has dominated both meetings with the Heat this season, winning by 20 points in each game. The Knicks won 104-84 at home on Nov. 12 and 112-92 in Miami on Dec. 6. However, the Heat are 14-5 SU (10-8-1 ATS) in this series since 2009, including last year's 4-games-to-1 playoff series victory.
The Heat have scored 103.8 PPG this season, while allowing 96.6 PPG. But during the 13-game win streak, they have put up 108.4 PPG (52% FG, 42% threes) and allowed just 96.1 PPG on 46% FG and 36% threes. Nobody on the planet is playing better than SF LeBron James (27.1 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 7.3 APG), who has 28.9 PPG on 63% shooting (44% threes) during the win streak to go along with 8.4 APG and 7.6 RPG. He hit just 4-of-14 shots in Friday's win over Memphis but still recorded at least 10 assists for the fourth time in the past six games. James has 27.0 PPG versus the Knicks this season, which is actually below is gaudy 27.7 PPG average in 32 career games against New York. James has been even better at Madison Square Garden with 29.5 PPG (48% FG), 6.9 RPG and 6.5 APG in 15 visits to Manhattan. SG Dwyane Wade (21.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.8 APG) has also been outstanding during the 13-game win streak with 24.3 PPG (54% FG), 6.0 RPG and 5.7 APG. But he has struggled versus New York this season with a mere 14.0 PPG (44% FG), 4.0 RPG and 2.5 APG. PF Chris Bosh (16.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG) has put up solid numbers of 16.5 PPG (55% FG) and 6.6 RPG during the current winning streak, but has made just 8-of-25 shots (32%) against the Knicks this season, posting 12.0 PPG and 8.5 RPG.
New York has scored 100.2 PPG this season, making 44.2% FG and 37.1% threes. Defensively, the Knicks allow just 96.3 PPG on 45.8% FG and 36.4% threes. Although they have won three straight games with 101.3 PPG, they are shooting just 42% FG and 28% threes during this win streak. But the defense held the Wizards to 11 fourth-quarter points on Friday to pull away for the 96-88 win. SF Carmelo Anthony (28.6 PPG, 6.4 RPG) scored 30 points with six boards at Washington, which actually lowered his scoring average to 31.5 PPG in the past four games. Anthony also scored 30 points with 10 rebounds in the home win over the Heat on Nov. 2, but shot just 10-of-28 from the field. He did not play in the win at Miami in December due to a cut on his left hand that required stitches. PG Raymond Felton (14.8 PPG, 6.0 APG) has played pretty well during the three-game win surge with 15.7 PPG, including 23 points at Washington. But he has just 3.7 APG over his past nine games, a far cry from the 6.6 APG he posted in his first 34 contests. Felton has been a big key to his team's dominance of Miami this season with 20.5 PPG (46% FG, 9-of-17 threes), 8.0 APG and 4.0 RPG in the two victories. SG J.R. Smith (16.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG) has made just 7-of-26 FG (27%) against the Heat this season, but has been on fire in his past four games with 18.0 PPG on 48% FG and 15-of-31 threes. He also pulled down 12 rebounds before fouling out of Friday's win at Washington.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (42-16) at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (43-18)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Los Angeles -2.5 & 203.5
The Thunder look to snap a long road losing skid when they visit the red-hot Clippers on Sunday afternoon.
Oklahoma City leads the NBA in scoring (106.7 PPG), but has struggled on the road recently, going 3-7 (SU and ATS) in its past 10 away games, including three straight defeats where the team has allowed 112.0 PPG to these hosts. The Clippers have won eight of their past nine contests (7-2 ATS), including four in a row (SU and ATS), where they have held their opponents to a mere 89.5 PPG on 42% FG and 29% threes. Although these teams have split their past 12 meetings 6-6 SU, the Thunder have won both matchups this season, prevailing 117-111 in overtime at home on Nov. 21, and then winning more comfortably, 109-97, in L.A. on Jan. 22.
Oklahoma City is an excellent shooting team, making 48.3% FG, 39.2% threes and an NBA-leading 83.3% free throws. The Thunder are also strong defensively, allowing just 97.2 PPG on 42.9% FG and 35.1% threes. SF Kevin Durant (28.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 4.6 APG) has posted two triple-doubles in his past five games, averaging 21.0 PPG, 12.0 RPG and 7.4 APG during this span. In Friday's loss to Denver, he had 25 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Durant has also played extremely well against L.A. this season with 33.5 PPG (50% FG), 6.5 RPG and 6.0 APG in the two victories. PG Russell Westbrook (23.3 PPG, 7.8 APG, 5.2 RPG) has also exploded on the Clippers for 24.5 PPG and 7.5 APG this season. Westbrook has scored at least 20 points in eight straight games, averaging 28.4 PPG on 50.3% FG (13-of-23 threes) to go along with 6.1 APG. SG Kevin Martin (14.6 PPG) usually provides healthy scoring off the bench, but has struggled with four single-digit scoring outputs in the past seven games, tallying just 10.1 PPG over this span. Martin has played well against L.A. though, scoring 16.5 PPG on 53% shooting. PF Serge Ibaka (13.6 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.0 BPG) has averaged a double-double in the season series with the Clips, posting 16.0 PPG (55% FG) and 10.5 RPG despite fouling out of both meetings.
The Clippers are a team without a real weakness, averaging 100.5 PPG, and allowing just 93.8 PPG this season. They love to share the basketball with 23.4 APG, and lead the NBA with 9.92 steals per game. And despite playing Friday in Cleveland, they should be well-rested for this matinee as only one player logged 30+ minutes in the 105-89 lopsided win at Cleveland. PG Chris Paul (16.2 PPG, 9.6 APG) saw the most action with 33 minutes, tallying an impressive 15 assists and zero turnovers to go along with 11 points and a +19 rating. Paul leads the NBA in both Ast/TO ratio (4.42) and steals (2.43 per game), but he played a terrible game in his lone meeting with Oklahoma City this season, making just 2-of-14 shots and committing four turnovers. However, Paul was able to keep his team in the game with nine assists, five rebounds and four steals. PF Blake Griffin (18.5 PPG, 8.7 RPG) has had no problem scoring on the Thunder this season with 27.0 PPG (57% FG), 8.5 RPG and 2.5 SPG in the two victories. Griffin has also been red-hot during his team's four-game win streak with 19.0 PPG on 67% FG, plus 10.5 RPG. SG Jamal Crawford (17.0 PPG) has also shot well since his one-game absence to deal with a personal matter. In two games since returning, he has 23.5 PPG on 57% FG (4-of-7 threes). Crawford has shot poorly versus Oklahoma City though, making just 36% of his shots, but has still managed to score 17.0 PPG in the two meetings. C DeAndre Jordan (8.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG) played only 10 minutes at Indiana on Thursday due to a bloody nose, but he showed no ill effects in Friday's win with 10 points (5-of-6 FG) and five rebounds in just 20 minutes of action. He's also been very efficient against the Thunder this season with 9.5 PPG (60% FG) and 8.0 RPG.
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