January 21, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
The MLK holiday card in the NBA today is filled up with action starting early in Memphis with the Grizzlies and Pacers. The night ends out in Portland between the struggling Blazers and the improving Wizards, but we'll begin in the Big Apple as two city rivals meet for the final time in the regular season.
Nets at Knicks - 3:35 PM EST
New York returns to Madison Square Garden following Thursday's blowout of Detroit in London, 102-87. The Knicks have dropped five of their last nine games at MSG after starting the season 10-0 at home, while the Nets look to split the four game season series with their arch-rivals.
Brooklyn won the opening meeting with New York in overtime, 96-89 on November 26 as short home underdogs. The Knicks responded with a pair of victories in the next two matchups, including a 100-86 home blowout of the Nets as six-point 'chalk' on December 19. Carmelo Anthony torched the Nets in the two wins, scoring a combined 76 points.
The Nets are rolling with wins eight of their last nine contests, as Brooklyn managed a split of its home-and-home set with Atlanta. Under P.J. Carlisemo, the Nets own a 10-2 SU and 6-5-1 ATS record, while posting a 2-2 ATS record in the underdog role. Each straight-up loss in this stretch came as a 'dog at San Antonio and Atlanta.
Clippers at Warriors - 4:05 PM EST
Los Angeles and Golden State hooks up for the fourth and final time today, as the Warriors go for the series victory. Since falling at Oracle Arena on January 3, the Clippers have won seven of their last eight, including four straight. L.A. dominated on its recent road trip, winning all three games without Chris Paul at Memphis, Houston, and Minnesota.
Paul returned to the lineup in Friday's home victory over the Wizards, but the Clips failed to cover as 12-point favorites. Los Angeles ripped Golden State in their last meeting at Staples Center on January 5, a 115-89 blowout as six-point favorites, as the Clips led by 24 points at the half. This win came just three days following a 21-point defeat to the Warriors in Oakland, as Los Angeles has lost three of the last four meetings at Oracle Arena.
Golden State is expected to have forward David Lee back in the lineup after he missed Saturday's 116-112 victory at New Orleans. The Warriors cashed outright as five-point 'dogs, but the Hornets shot lights out at 57% from the field. Since beating the Clippers at home, the Warriors have failed to cover three straight games at Oracle, while scoring less than 90 points twice.
Spurs at 76ers - 7:05 PM EST
San Antonio keeps rolling, winning its fourth consecutive game on Saturday at Atlanta, 98-93 as 3 ½-point favorites. The Spurs go for the season sweep of the 76ers, after San Antonio dumped Philadelphia on January 5 as 13 ½-point 'chalk,' 109-86. Six Spurs scored in double-figures in that victory, as Tony Parker led the shared scoring load with 20 points.
The 76ers' struggling offense has actually produced recently by drilling the 'over' in three straight games. Philadelphia picked up one of the most unlikely covers of the season on Friday night, rallying from a 19-point deficit to cash in a 108-101 overtime triumph over Toronto as three-point favorites. Doug Collins' club has hit the 'over' in 13 of the last 14 games at the Wells Fargo Center, dating back to mid-November.
The Spurs are in the midst of a nice 'under' run, cashing in eight of the last nine games, including a 5-1 'under' stretch in contests with the total listed below 200. Gregg Popovich's squad has failed to cover in three of the last four road games, while being held to less than 100 points in each of those contests.
Lakers at Bulls - 9:35 PM EST
Just when things were turning around for the Lakers, Los Angeles crashed and burned in losses to Miami and Toronto. The Lakers play the middle contest of their three-game road trip in Chicago tonight against a Bulls' team coming off three straight overtime affairs.
In Sunday's defeat at Toronto, Kobe Bryant shot a dreadful 10-of-32 from the floor, as the Raptors held off the Lakers, 108-103. L.A.'s defense allowed 54% shooting from the field, while Dwight Howard played just 17 minutes after getting ejected with a pair of technical fouls. The last time the Lakers played without rest, they covered as 13 ½-point 'dogs at San Antonio in a 108-105 defeat.
Bulls' forward Luol Deng is listed as doubtful for tonight's contest with a hamstring injury, as Chicago fell short in an overtime defeat to Memphis on Saturday. Amazingly, that game still finished 'under' the total of 175 ½ in an 85-82 loss, the fifth 'under' in the last seven contests played at the United Center. Chicago has struggled all season covering as a home favorite, posting a 3-8 ATS record the last 11 times in this role.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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