January 10, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
Seven games on the Friday NBA card involve a revenge angle, as each of the seven teams looking to avenge an early loss play at home. We'll take a look at three of those contests, but the night starts in Atlanta with the struggling Hawks attempting to get back on a winning track against the Jazz.
Jazz at Hawks - 7:35 PM EST
Two teams going in opposite directions meet at Philips Arena in the Marvin Williams bowl. The former second overall pick by the Hawks was set to make his triumphant return to Atlanta after getting traded to Utah for Devin Harris, but Williams is likely going to miss the game tending to personal matters. The Hawks (20-14 SU, 13-20-1 ATS) have plenty of matters of their own, dropping four straight games, including consecutive losses at Minnesota and Cleveland.
The last time Atlanta and Utah met up, the Hawks outlasted the Jazz in four overtimes last March, 133-125 to cash as one-point home favorites. The most impressive part of that victory for Larry Drew's team is the fact that the Hawks played their third game in three nights, while Atlanta did squander a 17-point lead in the second half. Atlanta has won four of the last five home meetings with Utah, but the Hawks are just 2-3 SU/ATS this season against Western Conference foes at Philips Arena.
The Jazz (19-18 SU, 18-18-1 ATS) began their three-game East Coast swing with a 10-point triumph at Charlotte on Wednesday as 4 ½-point 'chalk,' 112-102. Since losing three straight, Tyrone Corbin's club has won four of their past five contests, while limiting three of those opponents to less than 94 points. Utah burned bettors as a road underdog through the first month with an 0-6-1 ATS record, but the Jazz has rebounded by putting together a 4-4 ATS mark in the last eight away games when receiving points.
Spurs at Grizzlies - 8:05 PM EST
San Antonio has a long memory as the Spurs remember when the Grizzlies knocked them out in the opening round of the 2011 playoffs. Gregg Popovich's team took all four meetings last season, while rallying from a 15-point deficit in a 99-95 overtime home triumph on December 1. The Grizzlies managed a cover as six-point 'dogs, but Memphis needs to get over the hump against San Antonio to prove it belongs in the elite of the Western Conference.
Memphis returns to FedEx Forum fresh off a perfect 3-0 SU/ATS road trip, capped off by a solid victory at Golden State on Wednesday. The Grizzlies (23-10 SU, 20-12-1 ATS) have held seven straight opponents to 90 points or less, while cashing the 'under' six times in this stretch. Lionel Hollins' squad has compiled a profitable 10-6-1 ATS record at home, even though the Grizzlies have failed to break the 92-point mark in the last four contests.
The Spurs (28-10 SU, 22-15-1 ATS) are riding a nice 'under' stretch by hitting in six of the last seven, including Wednesday's victory over the Lakers. To be fair, three of those 'unders' came on totals above 200, which won't be the case on Friday night. San Antonio is struggling to cover numbers on the highway, cashing just two of the previous eight games away from the AT&T Center, including the last two in the 'dog role.
Bulls at Knicks - 8:05 PM EST
New York returns to Madison Square Garden with no rest after last night's game at Indiana without Carmelo Anthony. The leading scorer of the Knicks is back in the lineup after getting suspended one game by the league after his role in an altercation with Kevin Garnett following Monday's loss to Boston. The Knicks (23-11 SU, 17-16-1 ATS) have dropped each meeting with the Bulls this season, including a hotly-contested defeat last month in Manhattan.
Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and head coach Mike Woodson were among those ejected in New York's 110-106 defeat to Chicago as 6 ½-point favorites on December 21. The Knicks trailed by 22 heading into the final quarter before putting together a season-high 45 points in the fourth. New York's rally fell short as Chicago drilled 28 free throws in the win. That victory by the Bulls was in stark contrast to the December 8 triumph at the United Center in which Chicago held off New York, 93-85 as 2 ½-point 'dogs.
The Bulls (19-14 SU, 12-21 ATS) have drilled the 'over' in three of the last four games, but had a three-game winning streak halted in Wednesday's setback to the Bucks. Chicago was held to 39 points in the second half, as Tom Thibodeau's team blew a 15+ point lead to Milwaukee at home for the second time this season. In their last nine road contests, the Bulls have cashed tickets six times, including a 4-2 ATS mark as an underdog.
Thunder at Lakers - 10:35 PM EST
The Purple and Gold stumbles back to Southern California nursing a five-game losing skid after getting swept in Texas by the Rockets and Spurs. Luckily for Lakers' backers, Los Angeles managed a cover as 13 ½-point 'dogs at San Antonio on Wednesday in a 108-105 setback. However, the Lakers have allowed at least 100 points in all five defeats during this cold streak, while looking for some miracle to get back into the playoff race.
Let's not discount the defending Western Conference champions, as the Thunder (27-8 SU and 21-13-1 ATS) bounced back from an embarrassing defeat at Washington earlier in the week to take care of the Wolves by 22. Oklahoma City sits 19 games above .500, but has lost three of its last five games away from Chesapeake Energy Arena. The last time the Thunder faced the Lakers, OKC escaped with a 114-108 victory in early December, as L.A. cashed as 7 ½-point 'dogs.
The Lakers (15-20 SU, 14-20-1 ATS) have been terrible in plenty of areas this season, but the most glaring number is the 0-8 ATS as an underdog of less than six points. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are expected to be out for the third straight game for the Lakers, as L.A. has allowed at least 100 points in six of the last eight home contests.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at email@example.com
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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