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NBA News



The Houston Rockets will attempt to extend their winning streak to five games when they head north and take on the Toronto Raptors this Monday night.

The Rockets have continued to be one of the elite teams out west as they have won seven of their past eight contests (6-2 ATS), winning by an average of 7.9 PPG over that period. Three of those victories came on the road as they put up 100+ points in all but two of the outings. They had a tough draw on Sunday when they traveled to Washington as 2-point favorites and came away with a 99-91 win. Six different players hit double-digits in points as they overcame a 19 turnover game with the defense holding the Wizards to 29-of-75 shooting (39percent FG). The Raptors certainly havent been the same since the All-Star break, going 7-13 both SU and ATS, but have been a little better of late with victories in five of their past nine games. The offense has made better than 46percent of their shots in each of the past four contests as they put up 101.8 PPG. An easy opponent came into town on Friday when they hosted the Lakers as 8.5-point favorites and were victorious by a score of 94-83. They held L.A. to a putrid 34.5percent shooting and the only reason it was as close as it was is because Toronto allowed the Lakers to grab 16 offensive rebounds. Houston has managed a solid 23-13 SU (20-15-1 ATS) when playing as the road team and will be facing a Raptors group which is 25-13 SU (16-22 ATS) at Air Canada Centre. This is the second time that these teams have matched up on the year and it was all the Rockets in the first game as they dominated in a 98-76 win as 2-point home favorites. Neither team shot better than 42percent from the floor as they each had 23 turnovers, but Toronto was worse with a mere 24-of-77 shots going in (33percent FG). Trends show that Toronto has gone 8-18 ATS (31percent) after a win by 10 points or more this year as Houston has managed a poor 13-24 ATS record (35percent) in road games after having won five or six of its past seven games in the past two years. The Rockets will be quite thin with all their injuries as C Dwight Howard (Rest), PF Donatas Motiejunas (Back), PG Patrick Beverley (Wrist), PF Terrence Jones (Ribs) and SF Kostas Papanikolaou (Ankle) are all expected to be out while PG Kyle Lowry (Back) is listed as doubtful for the Raptors.

Houston has been a great offensive team for the past few years and is once again as it is putting up 103.4 PPG (6th in league) on 44.1percent shooting (10th-worst in league). On the defensive side of things, the Rockets are letting opponents get 100.1 PPG (16th in league) with 44.1percent of shots going in (10th in league). SG James Harden (27.2 PPG, 7.0 APG, 5.8 RPG, 1.9 SPG) has made just 40.4percent of his shots in the past five contests but is still averaging 28.4 PPG as he made 10 free throws per game. He had a sub-par performance, by his standards, the last time he met Toronto with 20 points on 5-of-12 shooting as he added seven assists, five rebounds and two steals. SF Trevor Ariza (12.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.9 SPG) has been doing better from the field recently with 47percent of his shots dropping in the month of March but he had just nine points and five rebounds against the Raptors in February. SG Corey Brewer (11.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.5 SPG) has been vital in this teams success and has hit double-digit points in four of the past five games despite shooting a mere 39percent from the field. He had one of his best performances of the year in the win over Toronto with 26 points, 10 rebounds and five steals.

The Raptors are the best offensive group in the Eastern Conference as they are netting 104.2 PPG (3rd in league) and making 45.4percent of their shots (13th in league). They havent been able to do much on defense, though, with their opposition scoring 101.2 PPG (9th-worst in league) behind 46.1percent shooting (4th-worst in league). SG DeMar DeRozan (19.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.2 SPG) has been playing a ton of minutes in March (38.2 MPG) but is coming off a 1-for-10 shooting performance with six points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the win over the Lakers. He was also poor in the loss against Houston earlier in the season with 10 points (4-for-14 FG), three steals and a block. SG Louis Williams (15.1 PPG, 1.1 SPG) has been one of the most explosive offensive bench players this year and has scored 18.3 PPG over the past three outings. He did not play in the one game facing the Rockets this year and had six points with eight assists in a single contest off the bench last season. C Jonas Valanciunas (12.1 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.2 BPG) had one of his better recent offensive showings against L.A. with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting as he added seven rebounds and a block. He had 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals when his team was dismantled in the last matchup with Houston.

NBA Atlantic Division Preview



2012-13 SU record: Football Live Betting Lines nfl football betting Online Bingo Bicimotos 43-44 SU (49.4percent), 17th in NBA
2012-13 ATS record: 40-44-3 ATS (47.6percent), 20th in NBA
Odds to Win 2013-14 Eastern Conference: 60-to-1
Odds to Win 2013-14 NBA Championship: 125-to-1


RAJON RONDO is the last man standing in Boston. Coming off a torn ACL and with a weakened supporting cast, its going to be a long year . . . AVERY BRADLEY is the favorite to start alongside Rondo. Hes still lost on offense, but his defense will be much needed . . . COURTNEY LEE continues to tease with flashes of talent, but hasnt shown consistency and is no longer young . . . JORDAN CRAWFORD will hoist a lot of shots . . . MARSHON BROOKS fell out of favor in Brooklyn and is just hanging on to an NBA roster spot . . . KEITH BOGANS is in Boston because a new deal made the numbers work on the Nets trade . . . Local product PHIL PRESSEY, an undersized point guard, will try to stick as a back-up.


Suddenly, JEFF GREEN is Bostons first option on offense. He showed an ability to score with 20.1 PPG over 17 starts last season, but hell be in for a whole new world of attention as the only legitimate scorer on this team . . . BRANDON BASS should continue to hold down the power forward spot, and hell get to take more shots with the team rebuilding . . . Durability is a major issue for JARED SULLINGER, but he has a chance to play big minutes for a team in need of his offensive skill set . . . A washed-up vet with arguably the worst contract in the NBA, GERALD WALLACE is of little use to the Celtics (or any other team) . . . KRIS HUMPHRIES is also dead weight, but is a more enticing trade chip due to an expiring contract.


Rookie KELLY OLYNYK is going to get pushed around, but he has some rare shooting and ball-handling skills for a 7-footer. Boston has little to lose by letting him learn on the job . . . VITOR FAVERANI is a tough-nosed Euro import who gives them insurance behind Olynyk.


2012-13 SU record: 52-37 SU (58.4percent), 9th in NBA
2012-13 ATS record: 43-44-2 ATS (49.4percent), 16th in NBA
Odds to Win 2013-14 Eastern Conference: 15-to-2
Odds to Win 2013-14 NBA Championship: 14-to-1


DERON WILLIAMS will surely take on more of a distributor role this year, but hes still this teams best option from three-point range, as well . . . JOE JOHNSON started to break down last season, so along with fewer shots (with the upgrade to the rest of the roster), he figures to play fewer regular-season minutes as well . . . JASON TERRY is clearly in the decline phase of his career, but is still the top scoring option among Brooklyns second unit . . . ALAN ANDERSON gives them another shooter off the bench . . . SHAUN LIVINGSTON steps into the back-up point guard spot vacated by C.J. Watson. The injury-prone vet will be one of the more rarely used back-up PGs . . . TYSHAWN TAYLOR will be a non-factor.


PAUL PIERCE still has something left in the tank. While his athleticism is fading, hes still a cagey scorer who can also play some point forward to set up Williams . . . ANDREI KIRILENKO will be a Swiss army knife sixth man and should see plenty of starts as new head coach Jason Kidd rotates which veterans rest . . . REGGIE EVANS was retained for his rebounding ability and willingness to look ridiculous while flopping . . . ANDRAY BLATCHE will continue to settle in as a second-unit big. Hes a name to remember for the future, as Kevin Garnett doesnt have much left in the tank . . . MIRZA TELETOVIC will be a seldom-used option as a stretch four . . . TORNIKE SHENGELIA is still years away from contributing, and the influx of veterans will further delay his development.


Last year did a lot to assuage durability concerns for BROOK LOPEZ. Hes highly skilled, and he may be forced to grab more rebounds now that Reggie Evans is on the second unit . . . KEVIN GARNETT will start at power forward. Hes still an effective pick-and-pop shooter and pick-and-roll defender, but hell have to rest often during the regular season . . . MASON PLUMLEE is in no position to help this season.


2012-13 SU record: 60-34 SU (63.8percent), 7th in NBA
2012-13 ATS record: 52-41-1 ATS (55.9percent), 5th in NBA
Odds to Win 2013-14 Eastern Conference: 13-to-1
Odds to Win 2013-14 NBA Championship: 35-to-1


RAYMOND FELTON is still the best the Knicks can do at point guard. With his shortcomings in the half court, head coach Mike Woodsons desire to go up-tempo should play to Feltons skill set a little bit better . . . IMAN SHUMPERT should be ready for a slightly bigger role. Hes their best perimeter defender and a good enough spot-up shooter to play off Carmelo Anthony . . . J.R. SMITHs offseason knee surgery is a bit of a concern, as is the fact that hes no longer in a contract year. Still, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year should light it up on many nights . . . PABLO PRIGIONI will be Feltons primary back-up. He disappears at times, but can at least knock down threes . . . BENO UDRIH will provide quality backup minutes after another solid year seeing big minutes in OrlandoTIM HARDAWAY JR. is likely looking at a redshirt year in 2013-14.


Last year was CARMELO ANTHONYs dream offense, with lots of isolation plays. With his improved three-point shot, Melo should make a run at a second-straight scoring title . . . ANDREA BARGNANI might start by default, but hes more suited to a part-time role as a one-dimensional floor spacer . . . Expect to see a lot of lineups with either Anthony or METTA WORLD PEACE at the four. MWP is still good enough defensively to justify his erratic shot selection . . . AMAR'E STOUDEMIRE will likely be limited to a part-time role due to injuries. Hell try to re-invent himself as a second-unit scorer . . . KENYON MARTIN will be counted on to play some four and five off the bench . . . Athletic rookie C.J. LESLIE is ticketed for the D-League.


TYSON CHANDLER will be relied on heavily on the glass for what could be the weakest rebounding team in the NBA. The Knicks would like to keep his regular-season minutes down, but they may be forced to play him a lot if theyre going to get home court in a first-round playoff series . . . The Knicks will try to develop JEREMY TYLER into a useful No. 2 center.

2012-13 SU record: 34-48 SU (41.5percent), T-19th in NBA
2012-13 ATS record: 39-42-1 ATS (48.1percent), 19th in NBA
Odds to Win 2013-14 Eastern Conference: 200-to-1
Odds to Win 2013-14 NBA Championship: 500-to-1

Welcome to Tankadelphia. MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS will be handed the reigns at the point, and has the size and savvy to create some offense. But a work-in-progress jumper and too many risky passes will lead to plenty of lost possessions . . . The Sixers would love to unload perennially disappointing ex-No. 2 pick EVAN TURNER. Hes yet to develop a jump shot, and while hell start for a laughably thin Philly team, he looks more and more like a second-unit player . . . JAMES ANDERSON could end up playing a lot of minutes off the bench, simply because the Sixers dont have enough NBA-caliber players . . . JASON RICHARDSON will miss at least half the season after major knee surgery. He may never contribute in the NBA againTONY WROTEN could see the floor plenty as a high-upside player who must cut down on his turnovers and improve his jump shot.
THADDEUS YOUNG will likely step up as the No. 1 option, and he very well may be the only player on this team that would make a rotation of a playoff contender. Well see what he can do with defenses focused on stopping him . . . LAVOY ALLEN will be leaned on for heavy minutes as one of their few proven players . . . ARNETT MOULTRIE might end up with a very big role this year, as the Sixers are especially lacking post players. He at least rebounds and gets in peoples way defensively . . . Philly will try its hand with ROYCE WHITE, who has plenty of talent but just as much baggage. He and the Rockets couldnt see eye-to-eye with how to manage his anxiety issues . . . TIM OHLBRECHT might actually see the court on this team.
SPENCER HAWES should start at center, especially early. His mid-range shooting makes him one of the few offensive options on this team . . . Coming off a torn ACL, NERLENS NOEL probably wont be ready until December. He should contribute as a rim protector and rebounder, but will be pushed around and doesnt have much on offense . . . KWAME BROWN is waiting for his contract to be bought out.

2012-13 SU record: 34-48 SU (41.5percent), T-19 in NBA
2012-13 ATS record: 41-40-1 ATS (50.6percent), 13th in NBA
Odds to Win 2013-14 Eastern Conference: 65-to-1
Odds to Win 2013-14 NBA Championship: 125-to-1
KYLE LOWRY was banged up last season, but he enters this year healthy and has the potential to be one of the leagues best two-way point guards . . . DEMAR DEROZAN does a nice job attacking, but hes a flawed player unless he develops a jump shot . . . The Raptors want TERRENCE ROSS to attack the basket more often. But whether he develops a three-point shot could determine where he fits into this rotation . . . After a disastrous season in Indiana, D.J. AUGUSTIN will have to earn his rotation spot. Toronto could use his shooting, though . . . DWIGHT BUYCKS comes back from Europe to back up Lowry . . . Versatile JULYAN STONE is an interesting bit piece, as he reunites with GM Masai Ujiri, who brought him to Denver.
Despite all that talent, RUDY GAYs poor shot selection and disinterested defense will have him on the trading block . . . AMIR JOHNSON will get another chance at full-time minutes. Despite some inconsistency, he still has the upside to be a good rebounder and shot-blocker . . . TYLER HANSBROUGH brings toughness and a decent mid-range jumper. Hes a second-unit talent, but could challenge Johnson for minutes . . . LANDRY FIELDS is a well-compensated reserve . . . STEVE NOVAK gives them a legitimate shooter among the second unit . . . Toronto will try to shake some of that upside out of AUSTIN DAYE . . . QUINCY ACY will move to the three, likely making this a redshirt year.
JONAS VALANCIUNAS is set to become Torontos new centerpiece. Talented enough for them to run the offense through him, hes rapidly improving on both ends of the court . . . AARON GRAY will stick around as a decent back-up, a 7-footer who can get in the way defensively.

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Odds to Win 2015 Kentucky Derby

NBA Double Header

DALLAS MAVERICKS (5-5) at BOSTON CELTICS (4-4) Line & Total: Boston -5.5 & 183.5
Opening Line & Total: Celtics -5.5 & 185.5

The Mavs look to build on their first road win of the season when they visit a well-rested Celtics team on Wednesday night.

After losing their first three road games of the season (the final two by 17 and 22 points), Dallas cruised to a 100-86 win in Detroit on Tuesday. The Mavs, 4-1 (SU and ATS) in their past five games, continued their excellent team defense. In the past six games, no Dallas opponent has shot above 45% from the floor, averaging 89.2 PPG on 42% FG. The Celtics haven’t played since Friday, an ugly 87-74 home loss to Indiana, but none of the Dallas starters logged 30 minutes in Tuesday’s victory, so fresh legs should not be an issue in this one. And even though Jason Kidd (back) won’t play, Delonte West proved himself more than capable of running the point in Detroit with 10 assists, two turnovers and five steals. Since the 2005-06 season, the Mavs are 9-3 ATS (5-7 SU) against the Celtics, and with a moderate point spread, that trend should hold true again.

Dirk Nowitzki posted an incredible +42 rating in his 28 minutes of action on Tuesday, finishing with a team-high 18 points (9-10 FG) and seven rebounds. Six other Mavs scored 9+ points during the balanced attack. Nowitzki has always enjoyed facing Boston in his career, pumping in 27.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG and 3.1 APG in 24 lifetime meetings. The scoring average is his highest versus any opponent in his NBA career, helped by 31.2 PPG (57% FG) in his past five meetings with the Celtics. SG Jason Terry continues to provide a lift off the bench, as he’s second on the team with 13.8 PPG. Terry has been the team’s lone marksman from three-point land (44%), as the rest of the Mavs are a pathetic 25% from downtown this year. SG Vince Carter (9.1 PPG) is finally starting to find his rhythm though, connecting on 9-of-18 FG in his past two games. He started the season in a 20-of-58 funk (35%). Dallas is still waiting for offseason acquisition Lamar Odom to get comfortable with his new team. So far Odom is shooting a laughable 28% FG (21-for-75) including 5-of-31 (16%) from three-point range.

The Celtics offense was horrendous in Friday’s 87-74 loss, especially Paul Pierce (3-of-17 FG). Pierce also had five turnovers in the defeat. It’s been a rough season for Pierce (39% FG), but he usually plays well against Dallas in his career with 22.0 PPG on 46% FG. In contrast to Pierce, Ray Allen has been lights-out on the offensive end all season. He leads the team with 20.4 PPG on 58% FG, including an amazing 63% from three-point land. Allen had 23 (7-of-11 FG) of his team’s 74 points in Friday’s loss. Three other Celtics are shooting better than 50% this year -- Rajon Rondo (14.8 PPG, 52% FG), Kevin Garnett (12.9 PPG, 52% FG) and Brandon Bass (12.9 PPG, 53% FG). Rondo continues to be a great ball distributor (10.5 APG), but he’s committed a career-high 4.1 turnovers per game. His decision making will be key against an improving Mavs defense.

MIAMI HEAT (8-2) at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (4-3) Line & Total: Miami -4 & 203
Opening Line & Total: Heat -4 & 202

There will be no shortage of star power when Miami stops into L.A. for a matchup with the new look Clippers on Wednesday night.

Both teams are traveling from the Pacific Northwest after tough losses: the Heat went to overtime in Golden State while the Clippers lost at Portland Tuesday night. Fatigue is more likely to be a factor for Miami, who has a banged-up superstar and a short bench. The Heat led by 12 after three quarters and by as many as 17 on Tuesday before blowing the game in Oakland. SG Dwyane Wade returned to the lineup for the first time in eight days because of a bruised foot. He played 37 minutes while LeBron James (43) and Chris Bosh (38) played heavy minutes as well.

Wade (21.0 PPG, 5.9 APG) played well in his return to the lineup, scoring 34 thanks to 16 trips to the line at Golden State. But it’s yet to be seen how his foot will react to a back-to-back. Going with pretty much an eight-man rotation, the Heat got nearly no help from their bench, which scored just 16 points in the loss. Veterans Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem came off the bench and posted atrocious plus/minus numbers, -12 and -15 respectively. The Heat got another big game from James (29.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.6 APG), who had 26 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. But the return of Wade coincided with the disappearance of Bosh (19.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG), who had just 16 points and four rebounds against a weak Warriors front line.

The Clippers were competitive in Portland, one of the NBA’s toughest road venues. Blake Griffin (23.7 PPG, 10.6 RPG) posted another double-double (18 points, 12 rebounds), but PG Chris Paul (14.6 PPG, 8.4 APG) is still not being assertive. He scored just 11 points on nine shots with three assists on Tuesday. Perhaps the marquee matchup against the Heat will bring out a little more fire in him. He had 13 points and 19 assists in a home win over Miami with the Hornets last year.

The Clippers continued to struggle from behind the arc (6-for-23, now 31.4% on the season). The good news is that they had their best game of the season on the boards. After allowing 11.8 offensive rebounds per game through their first six games, they held Portland to just seven offensive boards on 35 misses on Tuesday night.