March 7, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
The Friday night NBA card is loaded with March Madness coming around the corner. Twelve games take place on Friday, including the Hawks battling the Celtics in Boston, while the Rockets and Warriors renew their rivalry in the Bay Area late night. We'll start with the Pacers playing in an interesting revenge spot in Central Florida.
Pacers at Magic - 7:05 PM EST
Indiana eliminated Orlando in the first round of last season's playoffs, but the Magic somehow exacted revenge in January. Orlando shocked Indiana as short home underdogs, 97-86, while limiting the Pacers to just 35 first-half points. The Magic has struggled mightily this season, but Jacque Vaughn's club has covered five of the last eight games, including Wednesday's 97-96 defeat at Miami as 15 ½-point 'dogs. The Pacers hope to avoid a look-ahead situation with a trip to South Florida on Sunday, as Indiana has won seven of its last nine games. Indiana got tripped up in Wednesday's 83-81 home setback to Boston, while the Pacers head into Friday's action with four consecutive road covers.
Thunder at Bobcats - 7:05 PM EST
These two teams are no doubt on different ends of the spectrum, as Charlotte enters this mismatch with a league-high 48 losses. The Bobcats led the Nets, 53-43, but a nine-point third quarter doomed Charlotte in a 21-point home defeat. The Thunder travels to Charlotte with no rest after winning by one at New York on Thursday, as OKC took the first matchup with the Bobcats in a rout, 114-69 as 11 ½-point favorites in late November. Since winning at Orlando to start the second half, the Bobcats have lost and failed to cover eight consecutive games, including three times as a double-digit underdog.
Wizards at Nets - 7:35 PM EST
Washington was the hottest ATS team in the month of January, but the Wizards have failed to cash in three March contests. The Wizards head to the Barclays Center for the first time this season after splitting a pair of home contests with the Nets, including an 89-74 blowout of Brooklyn last month. The Nets have won just two of their previous six contests following a four-game hot streak in mid-February. Washington is playing plenty of low-scoring affairs recently by cashing the 'under' in 14 of the last 18 trips to the court, while Brooklyn has hit the 'under' in three straight home games.
Grizzlies at Cavaliers - 7:35 PM EST
Memphis is on fire with victories in 10 of the last 11 games, including a 91-85 home triumph over Portland on Wednesday. The Grizzlies failed to cash in their fourth straight opportunity at FedEx Forum, but Memphis owns a terrific 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS record the last five road contests. The Cavaliers rallied past the Jazz on Wednesday, 104-101 to cash as 1 ½-point 'chalk,' while snapping a two-game home skid. Cleveland owns a solid 13-6 ATS record the last 19 games, while posting a 6-4 ATS mark the previous 10 opportunities in the home 'dog role. Memphis makes it first trip to Cleveland since November 2010, as the Grizzlies have dropped seven straight visits to Quicken Loans Arena.
Mavericks at Pistons - 7:35 PM EST
Detroit has gone backwards since the All-Star break with losses in seven of its last nine trips to the court, including four home defeats by double-digits. The latest setback for the Pistons came on Wednesday as Detroit squandered a 10-point lead in an 87-77 loss at the Palace. The Pistons have put together a 3-6 ATS record the last nine games as a home 'dog, hosting a Dallas squad that is 12-3 ATS the previous 15 road contests. The Mavs took care of the Pistons in the first meeting at American Airlines Center, 92-77 on December 1 as seven-point favorites. Dallas is riding a 5-1 'under' run the last six games, while facing a Detroit team that has been limited to 96 points or fewer in four straight contests.
Hawks at Celtics - 8:05 PM EST
Boston returns to TD Garden after rallying past Indiana on Wednesday, 83-81 as nine-point underdogs. The Celtics have won four straight, while posting a 13-4 SU/ATS record in the 17 games since Rajon Rondo suffered a torn ACL. Boston blew a 27-point lead in a double-overtime loss at Atlanta, as Rondo was lost for the season with that devastating knee injury on January 25. However, the C's are putting things together in this stretch, while the Hawks are playing in their eighth different city since February 23. Atlanta has dropped three straight road contests, as the Hawks ended their losing streak with Wednesday's 11-point home triumph over the struggling Sixers. Boston is riding a five-game home winning streak against Atlanta, which includes three victories in last season's second round of the playoffs.
76ers at Heat - 8:05 PM EST
Miami continues to roll with 16 straight wins, in spite of not covering as 15 ½-point favorites against Orlando on Wednesday. The Heat hosts Philadelphia on Friday, taking nine of the last 10 meetings in the series. Miami drilled Philly in the last matchup at the Wells Fargo Center, 114-90 on February 23 as 8 ½-point favorites, as the Sixers have dropped 10 of the last 11 games overall. Since January 2, Philadelphia has scored less than 100 points in 10 of the past 11 road contests, while posting an 8-3 mark to the 'under' in this span. Miami is going the opposite way in the totals department by cashing the 'over' in seven straight home contests.
Rockets at Warriors - 10:35 PM EST
Houston has beaten Golden State twice this season, including the infamous 140-109 rout at the Toyota Center in early February in which the Rockets drilled a franchise-record 23 three-pointers. The Warriors return to their home court fresh off consecutive wins over the Raptors and Kings, while failing to cash as 11-point favorites against Sacramento. The Rockets have allowed at least 103 points in nine of the last 10 games, including 112 points in Wednesday's loss at Dallas. Houston has cashed in six of its previous eight opportunities in the underdog role, including outright victories over Oklahoma City, Utah, and Golden State in this stretch.
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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