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The calendar year is now said and done with, and that means that we are heading into the second-half of the NBA season. Check out some of the hot topic items heading into 2014 for NBA betting fans, as we decipher which are fact and which are fiction.
 
FACT
 
The Spurs Have Some Real Problems To Deal With: When forward Kawhi Leonard went down with a hand injury on Wednesday, the Spurs really needed to sweat. They've got a tough schedule ahead, the Rodeo Road Trip isn't all that far in the future, and both Leonard and center Tiago Splitter are stuck hurt. That leaves F Boris Diaw and C Jeff Ayres as the only two men who could possibly join Tim Duncan in the paint, and all of that seems to make for a lot of potential problems in the Lone Star State in the near future.
 
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Injuries Aren't all that Ails the Knicks
: Sure, F Metta World Peace and a pair of other forwards are out right now for the Knicks, but head coach Mike Woodson has to know that his team's defense is to blame for its five-game losing skid both straight up and against the spread. Allowing 109.4 points per game in any stretch of the season is bad, but when it's capped by allowing over 100-plus to the 76ers, you know you're in trouble. The Knicks don't just need to get healthy. They need to start playing a lot harder on the defensive side of the court as well.
 
LA's Best ATS Team Isn't the Clippers: Oh sure, the Clips have the better record of the two teams residing at the Staples Center at 25-19 ATS for the season, but the Lakers are the team on a tear right now with five straight covers coming into Thursday. Coach Mike D'Antoni has done a remarkable job fielding a competitive team without four men who are all better than any of the starting guards which he has to work with right now. When the Lakers do happen to get healthy, they could become an even better cover side than they are already becoming.
 
FICTION
 
Portland Is Finally Set To Swoon: There has been a lot of grumbling that consecutive losses to the Thunder and the Rockets could be the beginning of the end for the Blazers, who have overachieved all season long. However, when you look at their upcoming schedule, you have to think they are going to be back in first place in the Northwest Division sooner rather than later. The only game until a Feb. 7 game against the Pacers on the road in which they'll be 'dogs is against Golden State on the road on Sunday. There's a great chance to win at least five of these next seven, if not even possibly all seven. Portland's offense can still carry it to plenty of wins. This team hasn't lost three games in a row all season long, and this doesn't figure to be the time when that starts.
 
The Pelicans Are Worthy of Being Unerdogs Almost Every Night: We know that games against the Pistons, Magic, and Cavaliers are probably going to sway New Orleans' fortunes a bit, but just because this team has dropped nine out of 10 games doesn't mean that it should be considered one of the worst teams in the game. The Pelicans covered games against all three Texas teams in a span of five nights, and they’ve fought hard more often than not against big numbers. The last four times New Orleans was a 'dog by more than five points, it has covered.
 
Kevin Durant's Scoring Run Being Good for the Thunder: Sure, the Thunder are winning games, and they are doing so because Durant is wrapping up the MVP award in January by scoring at least 30 points in nine consecutive games. We're just not sure this is a good thing for Durant and his OKC mates in the long run. Durant has played 37 minutes or more in six of his last seven games, and he has been counted on to do far too much. We saw this last season in the postseason. Durant can't carry this team in a seven-game series by himself, and with PG Russell Westbrook still out, we really would have preferred to see someone else step up and shoulder some of the burden for this team for its long-term success.

  
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Davis embracing USA leadership role
Familiar names in the FIBA World Cup
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