Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:05 AM
Tuesday's Tip Sheet
Game of the Night: Cavaliers at Thunder – 8:05 PM EST
The overhaul of the Cleveland (33-22 SU, 17-37-1 ATS) roster has worked out through two games as the Cavaliers are coming off double-digit road victories over the Hawks and Celtics. In Sunday’s 121-99 blowout of Boston in a potential Eastern Conference Finals rematch, LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 24 points and 10 assists, while seven Cleveland players scored in double-figures. Among the newcomers from Thursday’s deadline, Jordan Clarkson posted 17 points and Rodney Hood put up 15 points at Boston.
Oklahoma City (32-25 SU, 24-33 ATS) has split the past two games as two of their stars have been sidelined. Both Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony are nursing ankle injuries as the Thunder were blown out by the Lakers last Thursday, but rebounded with a home rout of the Grizzlies on Sunday. Westbrook and Anthony remain questionable for Tuesday, but the third major piece of their core posted a 33-point effort on Saturday as Paul George led OKC to a 110-92 victory over Memphis as short 4 ½-point favorites.
The Thunder humiliated the Cavaliers last month at Quicken Loans Arena in a 148-124 triumph as three-point underdogs. Billy Donovan’s club dropped 76 points in the first half, as George led OKC with 36 points, while Westbrook put together an incredible line of 23 points, 20 assists, and nine rebounds. Following an 0-12 ATS run on the road from mid-December through early February, Cleveland has covered back-to-back away games, while the Thunder has stumbled to a 4-7 ATS record in their past 11 home contests.
Right on Target
A pair of Western Conference division leaders meet up at the Target Center in Minneapolis as the Timberwolves entertain the Rockets. Minnesota (35-24 SU, 28-29-2 ATS) edged past Sacramento on Sunday, 111-106, but failed to cash as 13-point home favorites. In spite of the non-cover, the Wolves picked up their 13th consecutive victory at the Target Center, while covering 10 times in this span.
The Rockets (42-13 SU, 27-27-1 ATS) own the second-best road record in the league behind Golden State at 20-7, while winning four straight games away from the Toyota Center. Houston held off Dallas on Sunday, 104-97, but couldn’t cover as hefty 15-point favorites, falling to 1-10-1 ATS in its last 11 opportunities as a double-digit favorite. The All-Star backcourt duo of James Harden and Chris Paul combined to score 52 points, but the two guards shot 6-of-20 from three-point range, while Houston converted only 13-of-45 attempts from long distance.
Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Rockets have captured 11 of 12 meetings, including a 116-98 triumph as 5 ½-point home favorites on January 18. Minnesota limited Harden to 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting, but Eric Gordon burned the Wolves for 30 points off the bench, including knocking down seven three-pointers. However, seven of the last 10 matchups between these teams have been played in Houston as the Wolves are 1-4 in the past five meetings in Minneapolis.
Shooting for Seven
The Raptors (39-16 SU, 31-24 ATS) have compiled an incredible 23-4 record at Air Canada Center this season, while winning six consecutive home games. Following a sweep of a four-game homestand to begin February, Toronto cruised past Charlotte on Sunday afternoon, 123-103 as 3 ½-point road favorites to pick up its fifth straight win and cover. Rewinding back to the 4-0 homestand, the Raptors won all four games by double-digits, while limiting each of their final three opponents to 91 points or less.
Toronto looks to avenge a 90-89 setback to Miami from early January as the Heat (30-26 SU, 26-27-3 ATS) head north of the border. Miami snapped a five-game losing streak in Friday’s 91-85 victory over Milwaukee in Dwyane Wade’s return to the Heat lineup. Although Wade registered only three points, the Heat allowed less than 100 points for the first time in five games, while Miami cashed the UNDER for the seventh time in 10 contests.
Dating back to late December, Miami has been on fire as a road underdog by going 8-2 ATS, including a cover as four-point ‘dogs in the one-point win at Toronto on January 9.
No Rest for the Weary
With Houston’s hot start atop the Southwest division, San Antonio (35-23 SU, 30-26-2 ATS) sits in second place comfortably ahead of New Orleans, Dallas, and Memphis. The Spurs are currently the third seed in the Western Conference playoff race in spite of losing four of their past five games, including Monday’s 101-99 setback at Utah. San Antonio led by eight points heading into the final quarter before getting outscored by 10 points in the last 12 minutes as the Spurs shot an ice-cold 6-of-25 from three-point range.
The Spurs registered their fourth consecutive OVER in the loss as they travel to Denver with no rest to face the Nuggets. San Antonio has captured the first two meetings with Denver at home this season, including a 106-104 close shave victory on January 30 as seven-point favorites. The Nuggets (30-26 SU, 26-27-3 ATS) will face the Spurs twice at Pepsi Center in an 11-day span with the next matchup coming right out of the All-Star break as they have dropped nine of the last 10 day with San Antonio.
Denver has won four of its past five games, including a pair of impressive home underdog victories over Oklahoma City and Golden State. The Nuggets are currently on a 6-1 run at Pepsi Center, while owning a perfect 8-0 SU record against unrested squads this season. The Spurs have held their own on the second end of a back-to-back set by posting a 7-4 mark, capped off by recent road wins at Memphis and Sacramento in January.
Buck at Home
If there is one thing that has energized Milwaukee (31-24 SU, 24-26-5 ATS), it has been its recent schedule. The Bucks are 8-2 SU and 6-4 ATS since the firing of head coach Jason Kidd in late January, while holding seven opponents to below 100 points. For the exception of beating Philadelphia, the other five opponents are not going to the playoffs (New York, Brooklyn, Phoenix, Orlando, and Chicago), but the Bucks have vaulted to a tie for the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference alongside Indiana.
Milwaukee has won four consecutive games at BMO Harris Bradley Center as the Bucks welcome in the Hawks (18-39 SU, 29-26-2 ATS). Atlanta limps in Milwaukee possessing a dreadful 5-22 road record, but snapped a two-game skid in Sunday’s 118-115 home triumph over Detroit. The Hawks have stumbled to a 2-10 record off a home victory, while looking to avenge an 11-point setback to the Bucks in late October at Philips Arena.
From 2002 through 2004, the Kings and Mavericks met three consecutive years in the playoffs with Sacramento eliminating Dallas twice. Things are quite different now with these two Western Conference franchises as they each sit at the bottom of their respective divisions.
The Mavericks (18-39 SU, 29-27-1 ATS) have slipped to a 3-11 record the last 14 games since a 6-3 post-Christmas run. One of those victories came at the hands of the suddenly-hot Lakers on Saturday, 130-123 as three-point home favorites, but Dallas fell the next night at Houston, 104-97. Rick Carlisle’s team is on a 4-1 ATS run, which started with a 106-99 triumph at Sacramento on February 3 as the Mavs began the fourth quarter on an incredible 16-0 run to erase a four-point deficit.
The Kings (17-38 SU, 23-29-3 ATS) held their own in Sunday’s 111-106 setback at Minnesota as 13-point underdogs, picking up their fifth road cover in the last six tries. Sacramento’s first win of the season came at Dallas on October 20 by a 93-88 count, improving to 3-1 in the past four trips to American Airlines Center since March 2016.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.