Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:59 AM

Wednesday's Tip Sheet

ATS Rankings | Totals Report | Injuries

Game of the Night: Nuggets (-5 ½, 227) at Lakers – 10:35 PM EST

LeBron James has led his teams to the NBA Finals in each of the past eight seasons, which is one of the most impressive individual streaks in American professional sports. However, his Lakers (30-34 SU, 26-36-2 ATS) may not even qualify for the playoffs in his first season with the Purple and Gold. The Lakers suffered their third consecutive loss on Monday as they fell to the rival Clippers, 113-105 as 3 ½-point favorites.

Since shocking the Celtics at the buzzer on February 7, Los Angeles owns a dreadful 2-7 SU/ATS mark, including five outright losses in the favorite role. The Lakers squandered an eight-point advantage after one quarter in Monday’s setback to the Clippers, while allowing 49% shooting from the floor. James led the Lakers with 27 points, while Rajon Rondo registered a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists as L.A. fell to 4-8 since James returned the lineup from his groin injury on January 31.

The Nuggets (42-21 SU, 34-29 ATS) rode a five-game winning streak in mid-February, but Denver has gone backwards of late by dropping three straight contests. After melting down in Saturday’s 120-112 home loss to an unrested New Orleans squad as 13 ½-point favorites, the Nuggets fell behind by 19 points to the Spurs following 12 minutes of play on Monday.

Denver rallied back in the fourth quarter, but were squeezed by San Antonio, 104-103. The Nuggets managed a cover as 1 ½-point underdogs, but Denver suffered its second losing streak of three games since the start of February in spite of 25 points from Jamal Murray. Denver attempted (and made) only four free throws, while cashing the UNDER for the sixth consecutive game.

The Lakers will be without second-leading scorer Kyle Kuzma on Wednesday, as the second-year forward sprained his right ankle in Monday’s defeat. The home team has captured each of the first two matchups this season, as the Nuggets crushed the Lakers in the previous meeting in Denver, 117-85 in late November. Denver limited Los Angeles to 5-of-35 shooting from three-point range, while James was 0-of-4 from downtown. However, the Nuggets have lost in their last four trips to Staples Center since 2017.

NoCal Sweep?

For all the problems the Celtics (39-26 SU, 33-32 ATS) have endured on and off the court this season, Boston finally was able to show the country that it isn’t dead yet. The Celtics crushed the Warriors in the opener of their four-game road trip on Tuesday, 128-95 to easily cash as 6 ½-point underdogs. Boston dropped 73 points on the two-time defending champions in the first half, as Gordon Hayward came off the bench to score 30 points in its first road win since the All-Star break.

The Celtics head from Oakland to Sacramento tonight to face the Kings (32-31 SU, 37-26 ATS) for the first time this season. Sacramento snapped a three-game skid on Monday as the Kings slipped past the awful Knicks, 115-108 as 11-point favorites. Although the Kings didn’t cover, they improved to 15-2 overall this season in the favorite role, but they are flipped to an underdog at Golden 1 Center.

Since the start of December, the Kings have covered in seven of 11 opportunities as a home ‘dog, but have lost two of the past three home matchups with the Celtics. Boston has had its issues with no rest this season by compiling a 4-6 SU and 3-7 ATS record, including a 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS mark on the road.

Beasts of the South-least

The Southeast division race is the closest one in basketball, although not one team owns a winning record. The Magic fell out of a three-way tie for first alongside the Hornets and Heat after losing at Philadelphia on Tuesday. Charlotte (29-34 SU, 30-32-1 ATS) has lost four consecutive home games, while Miami (29-34 SU, 33-30 ATS) is fresh off a pair of home victories to pull into the top spot of the Southeast.

Since winning five straight home games from mid-January through the start of February, the Hornets own a 1-5 record the last five contests at Spectrum Center. Four of the losses came to the Clippers, Warriors, Rockets, and Blazers, as the latest setback came in Saturday’s 118-108 defeat to Portland. Charlotte has allowed 117 points or more in four straight home contests, while the OVER has cashed in six of its past seven games overall.

The Heat finally figured out the Hawks in Monday’s 114-113 home triumph to beat Atlanta for the first time in four tries this season. However, Miami failed to cash as 10-point favorites to end a three-game ATS hot streak. The Heat have dropped five of their past six road games since February 8, while losing the first two meetings with the Hornets back in October after sweeping the four-game series last season.

Back to the Big Easy

Things aren’t going on script for the Pelicans (30-36 SU, 33-32-1 ATS), who were supposed to fall apart after Anthony Davis demanded a trade out of New Orleans. Things have gone well for the Pelicans lately, who have covered five of six games, while capturing the final three games on their road trip, including outright underdog victories at Denver and Utah.

New Orleans erased a nine-point halftime deficit on Monday to shock Utah, 115-112 to cash as 9 ½-point road ‘dogs, led by 30-point efforts from Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle. Davis played only 22 minutes and scored 15 points, but the Pelicans picked up three consecutive wins for only the second time since Thanksgiving.

Now, the two teams flip venues and head to Smoothie King Center as the Jazz (36-27 SU, 32-29-2 ATS) try to bounce back after having their four-game winning streak snapped. Utah’s offense continues to score points, as they eclipsed the 111-point mark for the sixth consecutive game in Monday’s setback. However, Utah fell to 1-3 ATS the last four games since putting together a 5-0 ATS run earlier in February.

The Jazz have seen plenty of success in their former home of New Orleans by winning in five straight visits since 2016, including a 132-111 blowout in late October as six-point favorites. However, Davis didn’t suit up in that contest, as the Jazz shot 52% from the floor led by Ricky Rubio’s 28 points as the OVER is 5-0 in the past five matchups in the Big Easy.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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