November 15, 2012
By Kevin Rogers
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The NBA is back in the spotlight on Friday night with nine games on the card. The Thunder and Lakers are listed as favorites against up-and-coming squads, while the Knicks head to Memphis with no rest. We'll start in Minnesota with a beat-up Wolves' club looking to bounce back from a buzzer-beating loss on Wednesday.
Warriors at Wolves - 8:05 PM EST
This normally isn't a headline game, but Golden State and Minnesota have each jumped out to nice starts. The Warriors picked up another home victory by beating the short-handed Hawks, 92-88 as one-point favorites on Wednesday. Mark Jackson's squad goes for their third road victory, while facing a Minnesota team that is the definition of the "walking wounded."
Minnesota's late rally on Wednesday fell short against Charlotte as Kemba Walker's buzzer-beater helped the Bobcats down the Wolves, 89-87 as seven-point road underdogs. The Wolves played without Brandon Roy, Nikola Pekovic, and J.J. Barea, while Chase Budinger continues to be sidelined with a knee injury. Roy, Pekovic, and Barea are all game-time decisions on Fridays, as the Wolves try to break the 100-point mark for just the second time all season.
Golden State isn't running and gunning anymore, but the Warriors have been consistently inconsistent in the scoring department. Four times (including Wednesday) this season, the Warriors have put up 99 points or less, but they put up triple-digits in the next game the first three instances. The Warriors split their first four road games against division foes, while winning both meetings at the Target Center last season as sizable 'dogs.
Thunder at Hornets - 8:05 PM EST
Oklahoma City looks to rebound after getting tripped up at home by surging Memphis on Wednesday, 107-97 as 5 ½-point favorites. The Thunder heads to the Big Easy where it will be anything but against a Hornets' squad that has cashed in five of six games this season. New Orleans cut a 21-point deficit to just two in the final minutes at Houston on Wednesday, but the Rockets held on for a 100-96 win.
The Hornets cashed again as 6 ½-point 'dogs at Houston, the third cover as a six-point 'dog or more this season. Dating back to last season, Monty Williams' team owns a 10-1 ATS mark the last 11 games when receiving points at home, as the lone loss came as a short underdog against the 76ers on November 7. New Orleans is playing slow tempo basketball, allowing triple-digits just once in six games this season.
The Thunder's defense finally folded after giving up 94 points or less in five straight contests, when the Grizzlies burned OKC for a season-high 107 points. All three road games for the Thunder have finished 'under' the total, while two of those contests were decided by two points. Oklahoma City swept the three-game series last season, but New Orleans managed covers in the final two matchups as heavy 'dogs.
Knicks at Grizzlies - 9:35 PM EST
New York travels from San Antonio to Memphis for another contest against a top-tier Southwest Division opponent. The Knicks will attempt to stay on fire as they battle a Grizzlies' team that is riding a six-game SU and ATS winning streak. Memphis has beaten its last six opponents by eight points each, including consecutive double-digit victories over Miami and Oklahoma City.
Mike Woodson's squad has won in its only opportunity with no rest, dominating the 76ers, 110-88 as 2 ½-point road 'dogs. New York has topped the 100-point mark in five of its first six victories, with the lowest-scoring output being 99 at Orlando on Monday. The Knicks improved to 6-0 following last night's 104-100 road triumph over the Spurs, cashing for the third time in the role of an underdog.
The Grizzlies are trying to prove last season's first-round exit to the Clippers was just an aberration as Memphis has put together three fantastic outings at home. The lone loss for Lionel Hollins' team came in the opener to the Clippers, but Memphis is helping out backers with six consecutive covers, including four straight as a favorite.
Suns at Lakers - 10:35 PM EST
Mike D'Antoni is the new head coach in Los Angeles, but the former Knicks' head man will likely wait one more game to patrol the sidelines due to knee surgery. The Lakers will face the team that D'Antoni led to 54 wins or more in four consecutive seasons when the Suns invade Staples Center.
Phoenix fell short in Wednesday's home overtime loss to Chicago, 112-106, while easily cashing the 'over' of 190 ½ in regulation. The Suns have won three of four games off a defeat this season, but just one of those victories came as an underdog against the Nuggets on Monday. After hitting the 'under' in the first two games, Phoenix drilled the 'over' in six of the last seven contests.
The Lakers are going the other direction in the totals department by hitting the 'under' in four of the previous five games, while allowing less than 100 points each time. The home team has won each of the last five meetings between these division rivals, as each of the four matchups in the lockout-shortened season were decided by double-digits.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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