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Editor’s Note: Don’t miss out on daily pro basketball winners from Mike Rose this season. Click to win!

The calendar year is now said and done with, and that means that we are right around the halfway point of the NBA season. Check out some of the hot topic items as we head into 2014 for NBA betting fans, as we decipher which are fact and which are fiction.
 
FACT
 
Cleveland Being a Playoff Contender with Luol Deng: We love the move. The Cavs were getting the worst production in the NBA out of the small forward position, and they went out there and got the best small forward on the market by essentially only giving up a few draft picks. Cleveland is only 12-23 coming into Thursday, but parlaying Deng with Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving should put this team into the playoffs in the East.
 
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Miami's Need For Andrew Bynum
: The other piece to the Deng deal was Chicago essentially getting the salary dump known as Bynum's contract. He'll be a free agent by the end of the week, and when that happens, Miami is said to be amongst the interested teams. The Heat badly need a big man who can stand up to Roy Hibbert and some of the other big time big men in the game, and Bynum would certainly fit the mold as a defensive stopper.
 
Brooklyn's Four-Game Winning Streak: Beating Atlanta and Cleveland at home is nothing to write home about, but the Nets also have wins over Golden State and Oklahoma City in this run as well. Deron Williams will be back eventually, and if Joe Johnson can continue to assert himself as a big time scorer, something which has only happened recently, perhaps the Nets have this figured out. Remember, Brooklyn is only 3.5 games out of the lead in the Atlantic Division, where four-game winning streaks go a heck of a long way.
 
FICTION
 
The Warriors' 10-Game Winning Streak: The Warriors are good for sure, but they are really starting to get too much respect. They had no business laying six on the road against the aforementioned Nets on Wednesday night, especially not in the midst of a back-to-back against Eastern Conference teams. Golden State will get into the postseason, and it might make some noise when it gets there, but it just doesn't have the goods to keep up at this pace from a pointspread perspective.
 
Oklahoma City Is the Best in the West: Serge Ibaka is sick. Thabo Sefolosha has a hand injury. Russell Westbrook's knee might never be right again. So what's left for the Thunder? If you want to know what the future of this team holds with all of these problems, just look at the loss to the Jazz on Wednesday. Kevin Durant scored 48, Reggie Jackson scored 20, and the rest of the roster may as well have been eight boards with angry faces. The Thunder need to find a way to make a move to give Durant some help by the trade deadline if they really want to be the best in the West.
 
Portland's Run with One of the Best Records in the NBA: We're a tad late on this one, as the Blazers have been beaten in four of their last seven games. They started at 24-5 this year, and they were also 18-8 ATS once upon a time. Even look at the loss to the Magic on Wednesday. Portland needed a 39-19 fourth quarter just to put that game away. If you're losing at home through three quarters to Orlando, who is in the midst of one of its toughest stretches of the year, you're in a lot of trouble. The Blazers seem destined to fall in the second half of the year.

  
HEADLINES
Mejia: FIBA World Cup Notes
Mejia: Christmas Day Matchups
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US opens basketball worlds vs. Finns
Clippers waive Delfino and Raduljica
Shelley Sterling: Ballmer eager to own
Davis embracing USA leadership role
Familiar names in the FIBA World Cup
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