January 17, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
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Friday's NBA card begins a busy weekend of basketball heading into Monday's holiday. Two of the top teams in the Western Conference (Thunder and Spurs) look to stay hot against non-division foes. We'll start with a pair of struggling Southeast Division clubs attempting to get on track in central Florida.
Bobcats at Magic - 7:05 PM EST
Orlando's 11-game 'over' streak came to a halt on Wednesday thanks to a terrific defensive effort in a 97-86 home triumph over Indiana. The Magic had dropped 10 of 11 games prior to that victory, while posting a 1-3 SU and 3-1 ATS record on a four-game road trip. Glen Davis returned to the Orlando lineup in Monday's embarrassing 29-point setback at Washington, but the Magic drilled 12 three-pointers to knock off the Pacers. The Bobcats are riding a five-game skid, while scoring less than 90 points in each of the last four contests. Charlotte fell at home to Orlando in the first meeting in December, 108-97, as the Magic have won 12 of the last 13 matchups with the Bobcats dating back to 2010.
Raptors at 76ers - 7:05 PM EST
These two Atlantic Division rivals meet for the fourth and final time this season after Toronto routed Philadelphia, 90-72 on January 9. The Sixers grabbed the first two matchups, including a 106-98 triumph as 5 ½-point home favorites in mid-November. Philadelphia has dropped 14 of its last 18 contests, while covering just five times during this cold stretch. At the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers have compiled a ridiculous 15-4 mark to the 'over,' as Philadelphia's defense has allowed at least 109 points in four of the last six games. Since winning nine of 10 games to end December, the Raptors are currently going backwards by losing five of the previous seven games. Toronto owns a solid 11-5-1 ATS record the last 17 games, while topping the 100-point mark in each of the past three contests on the highway.
Bulls at Celtics - 7:05 PM EST
Chicago and Boston split the first two matchups at the United Center, as the two clubs look to stay hot. Even though the Celtics were tripped up by the Hornets on Wednesday, Doc Rivers' team has won six of seven, while limiting eight straight opponents to less than 100 points ('Under' is 7-1). The Bulls are in the midst of a 7-3 SU and 4-6 ATS stretch, as Chicago failed to cover as 4 ½-point road favorites in Wednesday's overtime victory at Toronto. Chicago has been on fire away from the Windy City recently by winning nine of its last 11 away contests, while posting a 5-2 ATS mark as a road 'dog. In the previous meeting in mid-December, the Bulls shot 50% from the floor in a 100-89 win as 1 ½-point favorites.
Rockets at Pacers - 7:05 PM EST
Houston has been ice-cold as of late by dropping five consecutive games, while failing to cover each time. The Rockets continue their four-game road trip after losing at Dallas on Wednesday, 105-100 as four-point 'dogs. The Pacers are rolling at home with 10 straight wins at Bankers' Life Fieldhouse, as their last home defeat came back on December 7 to Denver. Eleven of Indiana's previous 13 games have finished 'under' the total, including seven consecutive times at home. Frank Vogel's defense hasn't allowed more than 92 points in a home game since November 23 against San Antonio, a stretch of 10 contests.
Hawks at Nets - 7:35 PM EST
Atlanta bounced back from Monday's ugly loss at Chicago to cruise past Brooklyn in Joe Johnson's return to Philips Arena. The Hawks put together a 109-95 victory without Josh Smith, who was suspended for one game due to detrimental conduct towards the team. Smith will return on Friday night, as Atlanta has lost five straight road contests, while scoring 84 points or less four times in this stretch. The Nets own a 9-2 SU and 6-4-1 ATS record since P.J. Carlisemo has taken over as head coach, including six consecutive victories at the Barclays Center. Brooklyn is putting up the points recently, cashing the 'over' in seven of the last eight games.
Kings at Grizzlies - 8:05 PM EST
All of the sudden, Memphis has cooled off after losing each of its last three games, all by at least 21 points to the Mavericks, Clippers, and Spurs. The Grizzlies had allowed over 100 points just once in 33 games prior to giving up triple-digits twice in the last three losses, while power forward Zach Randolph is listed as questionable for Friday's contest. Sacramento plays nine of its next 11 games away from Northern California, looking to improve on a 3-14 road record. The Kings slipped past the Wizards on Wednesday, 95-94 to finish their homestand at 2-3. The first loss came in a 113-81 setback to Memphis last Monday night, as the Grizzlies outscored the Kings, 62-36 in the second half to easily cash as four-point road 'chalk.'
Warriors at Spurs - 8:35 PM EST
San Antonio has dominated Golden State over the years by winning 15 straight meetings, while taking each of the last 27 matchups in the Lone Star State dating back to 1997. The Spurs are currently on a 13-game winning streak at the AT&T Center, capped off by a 103-82 thumping of the Grizzlies on Wednesday. Gregg Popovich's team has cashed the 'under' in eight of the last 10 games overall, including five straight at home. The Warriors have dropped four of their previous five, while getting routed at home by the Heat, 92-75 on Wednesday as four-point 'dogs. Golden State played without leading scorer Stephen Curry, who re-aggravated an ankle injury in practice, as his status for Friday is in question.
Wizards at Nuggets - 9:05 PM EST
Washington is surprisingly one of the best ATS teams recently by cashing in eight of the last 10 games, including four in a row. The Wizards melted down late in a one-point setback at Sacramento on Wednesday, but Washington managed a cover as five-point road 'dogs. The road trip continues for Randy Wittman's club in Denver, battling a Nuggets' team that has lost just two of 17 games at the Pepsi Center this season. Denver saw it six-game winning streak go up in flames at Oklahoma City in a 117-97 loss, the fifth 'over' in the last six games for the Nuggets. Washington has won only one road contest this season, but the Wizards have put together a 9-3 ATS record as an underdog of at least eight points.
Thunder at Mavericks - 9:35 PM EST
Dallas is starting to find its groove after winning each of its last four games, as the Mavs wrap up a four-game homestand against Oklahoma City. The Thunder keeps rolling with five consecutive victories, while cashing the 'under' four times during this hot streak. Oklahoma City staved off Dallas in overtime, 111-105 on December 27, but the Mavs cashed as 11 ½-point 'dogs. The Mavs have lost seven straight meetings with the Thunder, including all four games in the first round of last season's playoffs. Since dropping Dirk Nowitzki's season debut at San Antonio on December 23, Dallas has put together an 8-4 ATS record the last 12 contests.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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