March 12, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
In spite of Championship Week in college hoops taking center-stage, the NBA showcases eight contests on the Tuesday card. The Grizzlies and Blazers wrap up the night in Portland, while the surging Bucks host the Mavericks. We'll begin in Orlando with one of its franchise legends returning to the Magic Kingdom.
Lakers at Magic - 7:05 PM EST
The much-anticipated return of Dwight Howard to Central Florida comes on Tuesday night as the Lakers go for their 17th win in the last 23 games. Los Angeles is fighting it out with Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 18 games remaining for each club. The Lakers are playing better away from Staples Center recently with six wins in the last 10 road contests, including a 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS record in the favorite role. The Magic isn't ready to pack in their season despite a 4-22 mark the previous 26 games, as Orlando has cashed in four of the last six contests. Orlando is actually going for the season sweep of Los Angeles, as the Magic upended the Lakers at Staples, 113-103 in early December as heavy 13-point underdogs.
Celtics at Bobcats - 7:05 PM EST
How horrible has Charlotte been recently? Not only did the Bobcats become the first team to 50 losses in the league this season, but Charlotte has failed to win and cover 10 straight games. In fact, the last team the Bobcats defeated was the Celtics back on February 11 as short home 'dogs, 94-91. Boston's five-game winning streak came to a halt at Oklahoma City, 91-79 on Sunday, just the fifth defeat in the last 19 games. Since a 2-7 ATS start as a road favorite, the C's have won and covered each of their last two times in this situation at Phoenix and Philadelphia. This is the fourth straight game in which the Bobcats are listed as a double-digit home underdog, as Charlotte has lost each of the previous four contests at Time Warner Cable Arena by at least 14 points.
Wizards at Cavaliers - 7:05 PM EST
Both these teams are going nowhere, but Cleveland's fall will be faster as star point guard Kyrie Irving is sidelined for 3-4 weeks with a shoulder injury. The Cavs have dropped four of their last five games, while Cleveland cashed as six-point road 'dogs in Sunday's 100-96 defeat at Toronto. The Wizards covered for the first time in six tries as Washington destroyed hapless Charlotte in Saturday's 104-87 rout as 10 ½-point home 'chalk.' Washington owns a 1-3 SU/ATS record the previous four road contests, while cashing the 'under' in 11 straight games away from the Verizon Center.
Hawks at Heat - 7:35 PM EST
Miami puts its franchise-record 18-game winning streak on the line before hitting the road for a five-game swing on Wednesday. The Heat hosts the Hawks, who Miami has beaten three times already this season, while limiting Atlanta to 92 points or less in each victory. Atlanta is going backwards at the moment with losses in five of its last six contests, including four straight defeats away from Philips Arena. Miami has cashed in just three of the previous eight games, but four of those ATS defeats came as double-digit favorites. Since a four-game winning streak, Atlanta has scored 88 points or less in three of the last six trips to the court, including double-digit defeats to Brooklyn and Denver.
Hornets at Nets - 7:35 PM EST
Brooklyn continues to move up the Eastern Conference playoff standings following three consecutive wins, but the Nets were tripped up at Philadelphia last night as road favorites. The Nets held all three opponents to 80 points or less during that hot streak, while cashing the 'under' in four straight games at the Barclays Center. The Hornets snapped a three-game skid by beating the Blazers late, 98-96 as 3 ½-point home 'dogs on Sunday. New Orleans owns a 2-7 SU and 4-5 ATS record the last nine games off a victory, while looking to avenge a 101-97 home loss to the Nets on February 26.
Mavericks at Bucks - 8:05 PM EST
Milwaukee is creeping closer and closer to solidifying the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference after winning five of the last six games. The Bucks grabbed two of three on their California road swing following outright underdog victories at Golden State and Sacramento. The Mavs head to Milwaukee off three consecutive wins, including Sunday's rout at Minnesota as seven-point favorites. Dallas was tripped up the last time these teams met at the American Airlines Center in late February, 95-90 as Milwaukee cashed outright as 5 ½-point 'dogs.
Spurs at Wolves - 8:05 PM EST
San Antonio travels to Minnesota with no rest following last night's blowout of Oklahoma City. The Spurs go for their third win and cover against the Wolves this season, while grabbing the first two meetings by at least 10 points. The Southwest Division leaders hit the road for the first time since the 7-2 Rodeo trip during February, but the Spurs posted a 3-4 ATS record in the role of a favorite. Minnesota has dropped eight of its past nine games, while losing each of its last two contests to Denver and Dallas by 23 points each. The Wolves have hit the 'under' in seven straight contests at the Target Center, as Minnesota has failed to bust the 100-point mark in this stretch at home.
Grizzlies at Blazers - 10:05 PM EST
Portland has covered twice against Memphis this season at FedEx Forum, including as 7 ½-point 'dogs last Wednesday in a 91-86 setback. Former Blazer Zach Randolph missed that victory with an ankle injury, but the All-Star forward is expected to return to the Grizzlies' lineup after missing four games. The Blazers return to the Rose Garden after covering seven of their last eight, including four straight in the underdog role. Next to Miami, Memphis is the second-hottest team in the league by running off a 12-1 mark the last 13 trips to the court, while putting together a 9-4 ATS ledger 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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