Friday’s Tip SheetGame of the Night: Heat at 76ers – 8:00 PM EST
These two Eastern Conference squads are hooking up for the first time this season as the home team captured all four matchups last season. Miami (29-22 SU, 24-24-3 ATS) still leads the Southeast division in spite of Wednesday’s 91-89 setback at Cleveland. The Heat managed a narrow cover as 2 ½-point underdogs, but Erik Spoelstra’s club shot a dismal 3-of-28 from three-point range and 14-of-25 from the foul line.
Philadelphia (24-24 SU, 26-21-1 ATS) returns home from a 1-3 road swing, as the 76ers hit the highway again on Saturday to face Indiana. The Sixers began their recent away trip with an impressive 97-78 blowout of the Spurs, but dropped three straight to close it out by falling at Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, and Brooklyn. Philadelphia’s defense was lit up in each of the past three losses, allowing at least 107 points each time, while giving up 116 points to Brooklyn on Wednesday after the Nets posted 97 points or fewer in their previous three games.
The 76ers compiled a perfect 5-0 SU/ATS record at Wells Fargo Center in January, including victories over San Antonio and Toronto. Miami’s offense tries to get on track following five consecutive games scoring 95 points or less, while finishing UNDER the total in each of those contests. Following Wednesday’s cover at Cleveland, the Heat have compiled an impressive 9-2 ATS record in its past 11 games away from American Airlines Arena.
A three-game skid in mid-January is in the rear-view mirror for the Blazers (29-22 SU, 25-21-5 ATS), who have won seven of their past eight games. The latest victory during this current four-game hot streak came in Wednesday’s 124-108 blowout of the Bulls as eight-point home favorites. C.J. McCollum blew up for 50 points on 18-of-25 shooting for Portland, who led 43-19 after the first quarter. Portland embarks on a three-game road swing against Eastern Conference foes, starting in Toronto.
The Raptors (34-16 SU, 26-24 ATS) return home with no rest following Thursday’s 122-119 defeat at Washington as four-point road favorites. Toronto has posted an 0-3 SU/ATS record in its last three tries in games on the second of a back-to-back set, including a home setback last month to Miami. The Raptors are facing their fifth consecutive Western Conference team at home, winning three of the past four games. Toronto seeks the season sweep of Portland after beating the Blazers at the Moda Center, 99-85 in October as four-point underdogs.
Kings for Another Day?
Sacramento (16-34 SU, 21-26-3 ATS) is staring at another draft lottery appearance for the 12th consecutive season. However, the Kings are coming off a successful end to their six-game road trip by winning three of the final four contests, including Wednesday’s triumph at New Orleans. Sacramento did an excellent job cashing tickets by covering in four of the last five games, including outright victories over the Heat and Pelicans as 9+ point ‘dogs.
The Kings host the defending champion Warriors (40-11 SU, 22-28-1 ATS), who are fresh off their worst loss of the season. Utah thumped Golden State on Wednesday, 129-99 as the Warriors allowed the Jazz to shoot 58% from the floor. Golden State has yet to beat Sacramento this season, albeit only the second meeting between these two northern California squads. The Kings held off the Warriors as 13-point ‘dogs at Oracle Arena in late November, 110-106 to pick up their fourth cover in the last five meetings with Golden State. However, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant each sat out for the Warriors that night, but Golden State carries a 6-12 ATS record this season as a favorite of 11 points or more.
Charlotte (21-29 SU, 21-25-4 ATS) put together one of its top offensive performances of the season in Wednesday’s 123-110 victory at Atlanta as 2 ½-point favorites. Not only did the Hornets beat the Hawks for the third time this season, but Charlotte knocked down 17 three-pointers, including nine from Kemba Walker to go along with his 38 points. The Hornets own a 3-4 record this season following an output of at least 120 points, while compiling a dreadful 2-11 mark the last 13 games off a victory.
The next test for the Hornets is hosting a Pacers’ (29-23 SU, 28-24 ATS) squad that beat Charlotte on Monday, 105-96 as 1 ½-point favorites. Indiana finished off a sweep of its three-game homestand in Wednesday’s 105-101 win over Memphis, although the Pacers failed to cash as 8 ½-point favorites. The Pacers have split their last six games away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse, while dropping their last three visits to Charlotte.
Oklahoma City (30-22 SU, 22-30 ATS) was rolling by winning eight consecutive games, but are nursing a two-game skid following last-minute losses at Washington and Denver. In Thursday’s setback to the Nuggets, the Thunder erased a 20-point third quarter deficit to tie the game late at 124-124 on a Paul George three-pointer. However, the Nuggets needed one second to win it as Gary Harris drilled a trey at the buzzer to beat the Thunder, 127-124 as OKC failed to cash as 1 ½-point favorites.
The Thunder have won five straight contests at Chesapeake Energy Arena as OKC welcomes in New Orleans (27-23 SU, 25-24-1 ATS), who continues life without DeMarcus Cousins. Since the All-Star forward went down with an Achilles’ tear against Houston last Friday, the Pelicans are 0-2 SU/ATS with home losses to the Clippers and Kings. New Orleans has responded in the role of an underdog recently by winning outright in its last three opportunities, while knocking off OKC in its first matchup this season as three-point ‘dogs, 114-107 in November.
-- The Celtics have defeated the Hawks twice in Atlanta this season as the two clubs hook up in Boston. Kyrie Irving is questionable with a quad injury that kept him sidelined in Wednesday’s blowout of the Knicks, as Boston owns a 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS record the past four games. The Hawks have won only four of 24 games away from Philips Arena, including a 1-11 mark the past 12 road contests.
-- Both the Lakers and Nets are seeking their 20th wins of the season tonight at Barclays Center. Brooklyn snapped a four-game skid by knocking off Philadelphia as seven-point home ‘dogs, 116-108 on Wednesday, while the Lakers were blown out by the Magic, 127-105 as short road favorites. Los Angeles topped Brooklyn in the first matchup at Staples Center in November, 124-112, as the Lakers are 4-1 in the past five meetings with the Nets.
-- The Knicks finish off a brutal travel stretch by playing in their 10th different city since January 15. New York owns a 4-5 record following Wednesday’s 30-point setback at Boston as the Knicks face the Bucks for the first time this season in Milwaukee. The Bucks play with no rest after getting blown out at Minnesota last night, but Milwaukee has fared well on the second of a back-to-back set by owning a 7-3 SU and 7-2-1 ATS record.
-- The Jazz have picked up some momentum of late by pulling off three straight victories, including wins over the Raptors and Warriors. Utah heads to Phoenix as a road favorite as the Suns defeated the Jazz in late October, 97-88. Phoenix ended a five-game skid in Wednesday’s blowout of Dallas, as the Suns seek consecutive home wins for the first time late October.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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