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NBA News

HOUSTON ROCKETS (50-23) at TORONTO RAPTORS (43-30)


2015-03-30

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.




N.B.A. Game of the Week: Kings vs. Mavericks
2014-11-11

Sacramento at Dallas, Tuesday, 8:30 Football Live Betting Lines nfl football betting Online Bingo NFL Lines p.m. Eastern

With the Western Conference superpowers of recent years struggling in the early goings of this season the Spurs were 2-3 entering Sunday, the depleted Thunder 1-5 opportunities abound for teams formerly stuck in the middle tier. The Warriors and the Grizzlies, the sixth and seventh seeds in the playoffs last season, were in first and second in the conference entering Sunday, and even teams that missed the playoffs by a wide margin, including the Pelicans, are fighting for a spot in the top eight.

Sacramento, in particular, has been a surprise to many, going 28-54 last season but winning five of its first six games this season. The Kings did not make blockbuster moves in the off-season, so credit their improvement to the maturation of their scorers and an increased focus on defense.

DeMarcus Cousins has been a strong player at center for a few seasons now, but attitude problems have kept him from being considered one of the N.B.A.s true stars. There are signs now that he has grown up witness, for instance, Fridays game, in which he restrained his coach after fouling out on a questionable call in the fourth quarter against the Suns. (The Kings ended up winning in overtime, with Cousins watching from the sideline.) Cousins seems to have benefited from his time on the United States team at the FIBA World Cup: He is scoring more ably than he did last season while remaining a force on the boards.
The Kings were criticized for letting the young point guard Isaiah Thomas head to Phoenix in a July sign-and-trade deal. But Thomass replacement, Darren Collison, has exceeded expectations, averaging 15.2 points and 6.2 assists entering Sunday and giving a boost to a defense that was allowing fewer than 100 points per 100 possessions at 98.7, the eighth-best mark in the league through Saturday.

Sacramentos biggest problem remains its passing. Despite an increased focus from the second-year coach Michael Malone on sharing the ball, the Kings had the worst assists-per-game mark in the league through Saturday, at 17.7. And if they cannot move the ball, they will have a tough time against teams with the ability to stop Cousins and forward Rudy Gay.
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The Dallas Mavericks have been on fans radars since pushing the Spurs to seven games in the first round of the playoffs in the spring. But it is easy to forget that Dallas nearly missed the playoffs, clinching the eighth seed in its penultimate game.

In order to avoid that kind of close call this season, the Mavericks will have to improve their defense. To that end, they reacquired center Tyson Chandler from the Knicks and gave the strong defender Devin Harris a bigger role at point guard. But the Mavericks still look shaky; their 105-82 victory over the Jazz on Friday was the first time this season they had held an opponent to fewer than 100 points.
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It has been difficult to get a read on how good the Mavericks are. Although they lost their opener, 101-100, at San Antonio, they played a great game against the Spurs, the reigning N.B.A. champions. Then again, their only impressive win has come against New Orleans, and they were beaten badly by the Trail Blazers on Thursday.

Dallas has never had to worry much about scoring. The Mavericks were averaging 106.5 points per game, the second-highest output in the league, behind only Golden States 107.2, through Saturday. Chandler Parsons looks to be fitting in well in his first season with Dallas, averaging 15.2 points a game entering Sunday, and Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis have picked up where they left off last season as the teams first and second scoring options.

Before missing out on the postseason in 2012-13 and barely making it in last season, the Mavericks made the playoffs for 12 straight seasons, often with a comfortable margin. Displaying that sort of dominance, however, has grown increasingly difficult as the Western Conference has become almost comically competitive. Teams like the Kings that few expected to be good this year still have the kind of talent to challenge borderline playoff teams like Dallas in the fight to make it to May.

It is still early in the season, but Tuesdays game should help fans begin to understand how the Kings and the Mavericks stack up.


NBA Double Header
2012-01-11

DALLAS MAVERICKS (5-5) at BOSTON CELTICS (4-4)

Sportsbook.com 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)

Sportsbook.com 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.



NBA: Portland at Phoenix 10:30E TNT
2010-04-26

After Games 2 & 3 of the first round West playoff series between Portland and Phoenix, it would have been simple to just write off the Blazers. Those games were decidedly won by the Suns. However, Portland came back strong on Saturday with an emotional boost from the return of Brandon Roy to even the series. The pivotal Game 5 is set for Monday, and Sportsbook.com oddsmakers list Phoenix as a 6-point home favorite.

Right before the series, the big news in the basketball desert was Portland was not going to have their best player, Roy, who was having minor surgery on a torn meniscus. Phoenix went out and celebrated their good fortune by going thru the motions in the series opener, falling by five as eight-point favorites.

The Suns took this series seriously the next two contests, pummeling Portland by 29 and 19 points respectively and got their swagger back, making this look like a five-game series was about to unfold.

However, word was Roy’s procedure was so minor he was able to shoot free throws and do straight line running within days and low and behold he was in uniform for Game 4.

With the theme of “Rocky” playing at the Rose Garden, a delirious crowd welcomes backed their superstar and Phoenix fell for it.

It was clear Roy lacked any lateral quickness, but the Suns coaches and players had a welcoming committee whenever he touched the ball, bring an extra man to guard him, for reasons unknown, freeing up other Blazers players.

“As soon as he checked into the game, I got my first open shot with nobody guarding me, so I was thinking thank God he’s back,” Aldridge said with his team 15-4 ATS after two or more Under’s.

Amare Stoudemire brought up what is becoming an annoying theme to Suns fans and backers. “We didn’t bring it, we just didn’t bring it,” Stoudemire said. “We realized how important the game was. We didn’t bring the effort, we didn’t bring the energy, we didn’t rebound, we didn’t attack. We had a chance to go up 3-1, which would have been great. Now we’ve got to go back to a must-win situation.”

Phoenix is 25-14 ATS after playing a road game and is a six-point favorite with total of 202. If the Suns expect to win this first round Western series they have to force the tempo and are 22-6 OVER at home after two away encounters.

Portland at least knows they are going back home for a Game #6, as they are 0-8 ATS off an upset win as a home underdog.

The StatFox Game Estimator, far more “accu”rate than that of Accuscore, calls for a 106-97 Phoenix win, good enough to beat the 6-point line at Sportsbook.