March 5, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
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Wednesday night is one of the busiest cards in the NBA all season long with 14 contests. Four games highlight the slate, including the Bulls heading to San Antonio, while the Bucks try to stay red-hot in a revenge situation against the Clippers. We'll begin in the Hoosier State with two Eastern Conference rivals looking to keep up their momentum moving towards the playoffs.
Celtics at Pacers - 7:05 PM EST
Boston is playing in its eighth different city in the last eight games, as the Celtics travel to Indianapolis with no rest on Wednesday night. The Pacers are rolling at the moment with seven wins in their past eight trips to the court, while slowly opening up the advantage over the Bulls inside the Central Division race.
Indiana held off Chicago on Sunday night, 97-92, but failed to cover as 7 ½-point home favorites. The Pacers own the tiebreaker advantage over the Bulls with three head-to-head victories, which will help Indiana potentially be in line for the second overall seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race behind Miami. However, the Pacers are playing with revenge after losing at Boston, 94-75 as three-point underdogs in early January, while Indiana was limited to just 31% shooting from the floor.
The Celtics head to Indiana with no rest following Tuesday's contest at Philadelphia, as Boston owns a 7-8 SU and 6-8-1 ATS record on the second of a back-to-back. On the road in this situation has turned into a profitable 'fade' spot, as Doc Rivers' club is just 2-7 SU and 2-6-1 ATS when Boston hits the highway with no rest. Boston has put together a 5-3 ATS mark in the last eight road underdog opportunities, including outright victories at Utah, New York, and Atlanta.
Blazers at Grizzlies - 8:05 PM EST
Memphis is ascending through the Western Conference with a sparkling 9-1 SU and 7-3 ATS record the previous 10 contests, as the Grizzlies look to solidify a top-four seed in the West. The Grizzlies shoot for their sixth consecutive home win on Wednesday as the Blazers invade FedEx Forum, coming off a 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS homestand.
Portland drilled offensive stalwarts Minnesota and Charlotte by double-digits to win consecutive games for the first time since early February. The Blazers were one of the coldest ATS teams heading into the All-Star break (0-5), but Terry Stotts' squad has cashed in five straight games, including as a 9 ½-point 'dog at the Lakers on February 22. Portland has actually beaten Memphis once already this season, shocking the Grizzlies, 86-84 as eight-point 'dogs on January 4, as Zach Randolph didn't face his former team due to injury.
The same story is written again on Wednesday as Randolph will miss his second straight game with a sprained ankle. Memphis' defense is back on track by allowing 84 points or fewer in five of the last six games, resulting in a 4-2 mark to the 'under.' In spite of the Grizzlies winning each of their past five home contests, Memphis has failed to cover in each of the last three opportunities as favorites of 7 ½ or more against Dallas, Orlando, and Sacramento.
Bulls at Spurs - 9:05 PM EST
San Antonio owns the most victories in the NBA (47), while winning 19 of its last 22 games overall. The Spurs go for the season sweep of the Bulls after picking up a 103-89 triumph in mid-February as part of the Rodeo road trip, cashing outright as 3 ½-point 'dogs. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker both sat out that contest due to injury, but San Antonio shot a blistering 52% from the floor, including 8-of-16 from three-point range.
Parker remains out for the Spurs with a sprained ankle, as San Antonio managed a 114-75 blowout of Detroit without the All-Star point guard on Sunday. The Spurs easily covered as 13-point favorites to avenge a loss last month at the Palace of Auburn Hills, while allowing the second-lowest amount of points in a game this season (73 vs. Nets on 12/31). Gregg Popovich's team has put together a 3-6-1 ATS record the last 10 games as a single-digit favorite, but only two of those contests came at the AT&T Center.
The Bulls have been very ordinary lately by splitting the last eight games to fall further back of the Pacers in the Central (four games). Chicago is coming off three consecutive covers, while cashing in nine of the previous 12 road contests in the underdog role. Tom Thibodeau's club has failed to eclipse the 100-point mark in 11 of the last 12 games, while hitting the 'under' just six times in this span.
Bucks at Clippers - 10:35 PM EST
Milwaukee is slowly coming back to life after several struggles to close the first half as the Bucks put their four-game winning streak on the line at Los Angeles. The Bucks staved off the Raptors and Jazz in overtime at home the last two games, while failing to cash as 4 ½-point 'chalk' in Monday's 109-108 squeaker over Utah.
The Clippers lost for the third time this season to the Thunder on Sunday, falling in a seesaw affair, 108-104 as short home favorites. L.A. is riding a five-game hot streak against Eastern Conference opponents, while winning seven of nine home contests in interconference action. The Clips seek a sweep of the Bucks after routing Milwaukee at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in December, 111-85 to easily cash as five-point road favorites.
Milwaukee began the season owning a 5-12 ATS record against Western Conference foes, but the Bucks covered in two of the last three, including outright underdog triumphs at Dallas and Houston. The Bucks begin a three-game road swing through the state of California, which extends to Golden State (Saturday) and Sacramento (Sunday).
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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