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Fact or Fiction

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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
 
The Magic May as Well Be Called the Tragic: The Magic have lost nine straight games, and though they are consistently being praised for "playing hard" by head coach Jacque Vaughn, they flat out stink when they don't have center Nik Vucevic in the fold. Vucevic is really the only legit big man this team has, and the Magic have been getting destroyed on the glass while he recovers from his concussion. Don't expect things to get any better as the days go on for what might be the worst team in the NBA.
 
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The Pacers Should Be Afraid of the Heat with Greg Oden
: The Heat are never going to get more than 15 or 20 minutes per game out of Oden, but he looked strong in the paint in his limited time out there on Wednesday in his first game in over four years. The big man has some skills for sure if he can stay healthy, and if Miami properly manages him, he might finally be the force which can body with C Roy Hibbert in the paint to give the Pacers all sorts of troubles.
 
The Blazers Being the Best in the Northwest: Though we aren't sure whether the Trail Blazers are going to ultimately end up being in a position to do well in the playoffs this year, they have a team which is setup well to succeed in the regular season in 2014. Having a couple big time rebounders will help out a lot, but the bottom line is that there are a bunch of great three-point shooters on this team as well. Outside of the exchange of Kevin Durant for LaMarcus Aldridge, there might not be another position on the court where we would take Oklahoma City, the prohibitive favorite at the start of the season in the Northwest Division, over Portland.
 
FICTION
 
Houston Having a Problem After the OKC Loss: The Rockets only scored 19 points in the second-half against Oklahoma City on Thursday, and while that’s no doubt a historic head-scratcher, I still don't think it's the end of the world. ESPN and the likes are saying that this team has all sorts of problems, but I just don't see it. The time is going to come when the ball is going to get back into the paint with C Dwight Howard, and when it does that and the team gets back to playing inside-out basketball, it will be just fine, just as it was when it scored 73 points in the first half in that same game against the Thunder.
 
Miami Being a Team to Worry About After Three Straight Losses: Get real if you really believe this. The Heat have lost and failed to cover three straight games, but that just doesn't matter. In case you've missed it, the rest of the Eastern Conference is really bad, and Miami isn't going to care if it has to play on the road in the playoffs. The Heat are winning the Southeast Division, and they are going to be, at absolute worst, the No. 2 seed in the East. That's good enough for this team to be the favorites to win it all regardless of whether it wins 48 games or 68 games.
 
New Orleans Having the Longest Losing Streak in the Western Conference: The poor Pelicans. They have lost six games in a row, but they have faced a brutally tough schedule throughout the streak. They have had to take on the Rockets, Spurs, Mavericks (twice), Heat and Pacers, and the fact of the matter is that the last three of those games were all ones which could have gone the other way. There are going to be plenty of examples this year of the Pelicans covering games which they lose, and these last three against the three teams from the Lone Star State have been amongst those examples.

  
HEADLINES
Mejia: Christmas Day Matchups
News: Christmas Day Odds posted
Drew added to Cavs' coaching staff
Referee Bavetta retires after 39 years
Ballmer debuts as LA Clippers owner
Charges against Cunningham dropped
Grizzlies sign draft pick Stokes to deal
Coach K takes USA team to West Point
Shawn Marion to sign with Cavaliers
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