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    Why NBA bettors should fade the Cavs on their ‘Texas Triangle’ road trip

    It’s been a fantastically entertaining first half of the NBA season, with Golden State garnering most of the attention, due to its 24-game win streak to start the season. But a number of teams are starting to play very good basketball, among them the Clippers and Knicks. And that must make Commissioner Adam Silver very happy, as he no doubt wants relevant teams in the two biggest markets. Let’s take a look at some of the stories making news around the NBA.

    Spread watch

    The Brooklyn Nets are an absolute train wreck. They’re 10-27 SU, and fired GM Billy King and coach Lionel Hollins this weekend. Tony Brown, who played a season for the Nets in 1986-87, has been named interim head coach.

    Owner Mikhail Prokhorov claimed that he made the moves because the franchise needed a “fresh start and a new vision for the direction of the team.” But it was Prokhorov’s impatient “Win Now” vision, which was at the root of Billy King’s player moves the last few years, that started the team down this path.

    Brooklyn has failed to cover its last four games and has been installed as a 14-point home underdog to the Spurs Monday night. Given that the Nets are 8-20-1 ATS their last 29 versus the Spurs does not bode well for Tony Brown’s first day on the job. Brooklyn’s best chance in the near term for a win seems to be at home versus Portland Friday.

    Total watch

    Two weeks ago, I highlighted the Atlanta Hawks, who were on a six-game streak of going Over the total. Well, all the Hawks have done since then is go Over the total in five of their last six (so, 11 of their last 12), including the last five in a row.

    One of the main reasons for Atlanta’s high-scoring run has been the insertion of Kent Bazemore into the starting lineup by coach Mike Budenholzer. And, in their last 12 games, the Hawks have averaged 110.08 points, compared to 100.1 prior to the insertion of Bazemore into the starting five.

    Atlanta will attempt to go Over the total for the sixth straight time when it takes the court on Wednesday, at Charlotte. And the Hornets have been a red carpet on defense, lately, as they’ve allowed five of their last seven opponents to reach the century mark and have given up an average of 107 points per game over their last seven games (compared to 98.9 ppg prior to that point). Another high-scoring game by the Hawks wouldn’t surprise.

    Injury watch

    Rudy Gobert missed 18 games for Utah with a sprained MCL, but returned last Thursday and played 15 minutes versus the Rockets. But his playing time expanded to 28 minutes against the Heat Saturday, and 30 minutes at the Lakers Sunday. Gobert’s one of the best defensive players in the league and his value is illustrated by the fact that, in the 18 games he missed, Utah’s defense was the fourth-worst in the NBA, but ranked as the seventh-best defense in the games Gobert’s played this season.

    The Jazz held the Miami Heat to 83 points, in a 15-point win Saturday and followed that up with an 86-74 victory against the Lakers the next night. With games this week against Portland, Sacramento and the Lakers, I look for Utah to continue its strong defensive play and extend its win streak to five games.

    Schedule watch

    The Cleveland Cavaliers will embark on the dreaded “Texas Triangle” this week. They’ll play three consecutive road games at (W) Dallas (Tuesday), (L) San Antonio (Thursday) and Houston (Friday). LeBron James’ Cavs have been a money-burner on the road in the regular season the past two years, as they’re 25-34-1 ATS.

    Since 1990, NBA teams are an awful 133-260 SU on this Lone Star State trip. And they’re especially poor when the Texas teams are off back-to-back SU/ATS wins, as they’re 12-47 SU and 22-36 ATS in that situation. So, check the recent results of the Mavericks, Spurs and Rockets prior to playing the Cavs to see if any of the games qualify under this angle.


    Preview: Washington At Indiana

    When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, January 15, 2016
    Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana

    The Washington Wizards have suddenly found their footing again with a three-game winning streak and got a major piece back in the lineup on Wednesday. The Wizards will try to make it four straight and improve to .500 when they visit the Indiana Pacers on Friday.

    Bradley Beal (stress reaction) was the most devastating of a series of injuries that crippled Washington last month, and the star guard finally returned from a 16-game absence in a 106-101 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. “I just took my time with this injury,” Beal, who recorded 11 points in 23 minutes off the bench, told reporters. “I definitely wanted to make sure I was 100 percent before I got back out here.” The Pacers are battling through some inconsistency and dropped a 103-94 decision at Boston on Wednesday to fall to 6-8 in the last 14 games. Indiana is making a brief stop at home before hitting the road for a four-game trip and the team is 13-5 in its own building.

    TV: 7 p.m. ET, CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington), FSN Indiana

    ABOUT THE WIZARDS (18-19): Beal re-entered the lineup just as Marcin Gortat (illness) was headed out. Gortat had to be hospitalized and was given intravenous antibiotics in an effort to fight an infection in his left knee. The starting center’s absence was mitigated in part by the recent return to the lineup of another player that missed most of the last month, and Nene (calf) delivered 12 points, two blocks and three steals in Wednesday’s triumph.

    ABOUT THE PACERS (22-17): Indiana sandwiched a pair of road losses around a home win over lowly Phoenix in its last three games and is working on executing better down the stretch. “That’s what it comes down to with us, trying to win these close games we got to execute every detail on the offensive end, we got to get the ball where we want to get the ball, deep cut, break open, set our screens and take care of the basketball,” coach Frank Vogel told reporters. “We didn’t do that (against the Celtics) and it cost us.” The Pacers committed 20 turnovers in their most recent loss, including four in the final 2:33.


    1. Wizards backup PG Ramon Sessions averaged 15.5 points on 12-of-21 shooting in the last two games.

    2. The Pacers went 5-of-30 from 3-point range on Wednesday, including a combined 0-of-14 from C.J. Miles and Monta Ellis.

    3. Paul George scored 40 points in Indiana’s 123-106 win at Washington on Nov. 24.

    PREDICTION: Pacers 101, Wizards 97


    Preview: Minnesota At Oklahoma City

    When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, January 15, 2016
    Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    The Oklahoma City Thunder recorded their ninth straight victory over Minnesota earlier this week and aim to stretch that streak to 10 when they host the Timberwolves on Friday. Small forward Kevin Durant scored 30 points and Oklahoma City held off a late Minnesota charge to post a 101-96 road win on Tuesday.

    Durant had 29 points and 10 rebounds in Wednesday’s 108-89 dismantling of the Dallas Mavericks to stretch his streak of consecutive 20-point outings to 25. The Thunder have won 17 of their last 21 games and the victory over Dallas marked the 10th straight time and 16th in 17 games that they scored 100 or more points. Struggling Minnesota has lost a season-worst eight consecutive games and dropped 12 of its last 13 while suffering through another dismal season. Shooting guard Andrew Wiggins is averaging 26.5 points over the past four games and poured in 28 during Wednesday’s 107-104 loss to the Houston Rockets.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Oklahoma, FSN North (Minnesota)

    ABOUT THE THUNDER (28-12): Point guard Russell Westbrook was ejected in the first half of the victory over Dallas to finish scoreless for just the second time in his stellar career. His only other scoreless outing occurred against the Indiana Pacers on March 21, 2010, and Wednesday’s ejection was the third of his career. Westbrook was on a roll entering the contest as he averaged 25.8 points over the previous four games and scored 20 or more points in 10 of 12 games.

    ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (12-28): Minnesota failed to reach 100 points in 12 consecutive games before ending the dubious streak in the loss to Houston. Wiggins has been solid but the Timberwolves don’t have enough parts to compete with the upper-echelon teams and the losses are beginning to mount. “It’s very frustrating not being able to win,” Wiggins told reporters. “Every game we play good but it’s something that we’re not doing right or a mistake we made and we just have to fix it.”


    1. The Thunder have won 22 of the past 25 meetings.

    2. Minnesota PG Ricky Rubio had 12 assists against Houston but also committed a season-worst eight turnovers.

    3. Oklahoma City PF Serge Ibaka had 20 points and 11 rebounds against Dallas for his first double-double since Dec. 10.

    PREDICTION: Thunder 116, Timberwolves 101


    Preview: Phoenix At Boston

    When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, January 15, 2016
    Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

    The Boston Celtics will try to build off a dominating stretch run their last time out when they host the reeling Phoenix Suns on Friday. Headed toward what would have been a fifth straight loss, the Celtics closed out the Indiana Pacers with a 14-2 run to steal a 103-94 win on Wednesday at home, rediscovering their defensive intensity just in the time.

    “Get stops. Hunker down and get stops,” forward Jae Crowder – who tied a career high with 25 points – told reporters. “We got a couple of steals in a row. I think that’s what it was. We didn’t do anything differently on offense. We just hunkered down and got stops.” Crowder had one of his team’s three steals in the final two minutes – each leading to dunks on the other end – and Isaiah Thomas scored 28 points as Boston snapped a three-game slide at home. The Suns dropped the opener of a three-game road trip at Indiana on Tuesday, their 11th loss in 12 games overall. Eleven opponents have reached the 100-point mark during the swoon and Phoenix is ranked 29th in the NBA in scoring defense (106.4).

    TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona (Phoenix), CSN New England (Boston)

    ABOUT THE SUNS (13-27): Phoenix has dropped eight consecutive road games but has been victorious in its last two trips to Boston. Among the few positives coming into this one is the improved play of reserve forward Mirza Teletovic, who has scored in double figures in a career-high six straight games and is 13-of-26 from long range over a three-game stretch. Phoenix hopes to have guard Brandon Knight (illness) back from a one-game layoff while center Alex Len (hand) will miss the entirety of the road trip.

    ABOUT THE CELTICS (20-19): Thomas, a former Sun who had two points on 1-of-8 shooting for Phoenix in its last visit to Boston, is making a bid for his first All-Star appearance. The 26-year-old is averaging 32.3 points over the past three contests while shooting 51.7 percent and dishing out 19 assists. Crowder, whose career scoring average is seven points per game, is averaging 18.6 in seven games this month.


    1. Suns SG Devin Booker has also scored in double figures for six straight games after reaching the 10-point mark just six times in his previous 28 affairs.

    2. Boston entered Thursday ranked fourth in field-goal percentage defense (42.9), while Phoenix was last (47.6).

    3. Suns SF P.J. Tucker is 10-of-35 from the floor since going 10-of-14 at Oklahoma City on New Year’s Eve.

    PREDICTION: Celtics 109, Suns 99


    Preview: Portland At Brooklyn

    When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, January 15, 2016
    Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

    The Brooklyn Nets snapped a 10-game home losing streak and got interim coach Tony Brown his first win on Wednesday by taking down the New York Knicks. The Nets will try to turn that into back-to-back victories when they close out a three-game homestand by hosting the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

    Brooklyn averaged 82.6 points during a five-game slide that culminated in a 106-79 loss to San Antonio in the homestand opener before breaking out against the Knicks in a 110-104 victory on Wednesday. “I wanted them to play free and with a bit of pace,” Brown, who took over after Lionel Hollins was let go on Sunday, told reporters. “I saw a little passion. I thought our guys were excited to play in the second half, especially down the stretch and they fed off each other. That was one of the first times in a long time I’ve seen that with this team.” The Trail Blazers are playing with a similar passion of late and followed up a thrilling win over the Oklahoma City Thunder with a triumph over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. Star guard Damian Lillard is leading the way with an average of 30.7 points and 9.7 assists in the last three contests.

    TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CSN Northwest (Portland), YES (Brooklyn)

    ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (17-24): Portland’s two consecutive wins has the team thinking in terms of making the postseason again, and the 99-85 triumph over Utah gave the team a victory against the team directly in front of it in the standings. “We know Utah is in front of us for the eighth seed, they’re (17-21 entering Thursday) or something like that,” guard C.J. McCollum told reporters. “They’re a win or two in front of us in the win column, we’re aware of that. But besides that, just got to continue to control what you can control. Every day we’ve got to come out prepared, mentally and physically locked in and ready to compete.” The Trail Blazers have a chance to continue the streak with the next three against East teams currently under .500.

    ABOUT THE NETS (11-28): Brooklyn pulled the plug on its current strategy with the firing of Hollins and the reassignment of general manager Billy King, and Brown is just trying to get the players on the same page. The Nets shot 52.3 percent from the floor in the win over the Knicks and center Brook Lopez was impressed with the team’s energy. “We just had a very great energy about us the entire game,” Lopez told reporters. “Regardless if we were hot, or they were making a run, we played the same way. That’s what we need to do. Down the stretch especially we played confidently, we played our game and shared the ball well. It was a complete team effort.”


    1. Nets G Bojan Bogdanovic went 4-of-5 from the field on Wednesday after missing all 16 of his shot attempts in the previous three contests.

    2. McCollum is shooting 32.1 percent from the field in his last four games.

    3. Brooklyn snapped a three-game slide in the series with a 106-96 home win on Apr. 6.

    PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 103, Nets 91


    Preview: Dallas At Chicago

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, January 15, 2016
    Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois

    Jimmy Butler’s career-best 53-point outing saved Chicago against lowly Philadelphia and the Bulls hope he has more in the arsenal when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Butler also had 10 rebounds and six assists in a superb effort as Chicago rallied from a 24-point deficit to post a 115-111 overtime victory over the 76ers on Thursday.

    Butler is just the fourth different Bulls’ player to score 50 or more points in a regular-season game — joining Hall of Famer Michael Jordan (30 times), Jamal Crawford (2004) and Hall of Famer Chet Walker (1972). His stellar performance was timely with both point guard Derrick Rose (knee) and center Pau Gasol (shoulder, Achilles) sidelined with injuries, and Rose also might sit out against the Mavericks. Dallas was routed 108-89 by the Oklahoma City Thunder in Wednesday’s opener of a three-game road trip as coach Rick Carlisle opted to rest his starting five — center Zaza Pachulia with a sore Achilles and healthy starters Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams. “Obviously, if you left it up to the players, we’d all be playing,” Nowitzki told reporters. “They didn’t make it up for discussion, so we’ll just have to suck it up and trust the coach that he knows what he’s doing.”

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), WGN (Chicago)

    ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (22-18): Matthews, who has played all 82 regular-season games three times during his career, was irate over Carlisle’s decision to hold him out against the Thunder. Matthews said he unleashed profanity and wanted to challenge Carlisle but was intercepted by assistant coach Jamahl Mosley. “I’ll say this about our guys: They always want to play. They really do,” Carlisle told reporters. “Wes Matthews, he’s difficult when it comes to this stuff. He and I have been close to a couple of fistfights, but hey, that’s all right. I like guys that are battlers, but we have a big picture to consider here.”

    ABOUT THE BULLS (23-15): Butler downplayed his huge game but coach Fred Hoiberg was delivering compliments in rapid fashion. “That’s as good of a performance as I’ve seen,” Hoiberg told reporters. “The guys hopped on his shoulders and he carried us home. Play after play, it was an unbelievable performance.” Butler is averaging 41.5 points, nine rebounds and six assists in the last two games while raising his scoring average to 23.1 as he makes a run at earning his second consecutive All-Star invitation.


    1. G J.J. Barea was 7-of-8 from 3-point range and scored 26 points as the Mavericks posted a 118-111 home win over the Bulls on Dec. 26.

    2. Chicago C Joakim Noah made his first start of the season against Philadelphia and had 16 rebounds and matched his season best of eight assists.

    3. Dallas PG Raymond Felton is 9-of-29 shooting during the past four games.

    PREDICTION: Bulls 103, Mavericks 96


    Preview: Charlotte At New Orleans

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, January 15, 2016
    Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

    The Charlotte Hornets and the New Orleans Pelicans have more in common than a North Carolina franchise pedigree. Both teams will be looking to put together back-to-back wins after ending lengthy slides when the Pelicans host the Hornets on Friday.

    The Hornets ended a seven-game slide with a 107-84 demolition of the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday that featured a defensive intensity not seen during the slide. Charlotte held the Hawks, who had averaged 123 points in their previous two games, to 37 percent from the floor after allowing an average of 107 points during the losing streak. The Hornets will need to turn that defense loose on the perimeter against the Pelicans, who went 16-of-33 from beyond the arc in a 109-97 win at Sacramento on Wednesday that ended a four-game losing streak. “That’s the potential that we can play with,” New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters. “We’ve just got to figure out how to do it night in and night out.”

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Charlotte), FSN New Orleans

    ABOUT THE HORNETS (18-20): Charlotte showed signs that a breakout defensive effort was in the works by holding the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets under 100 points in the last two of a four-game road trip but put it all together with the offense on Wednesday. Guard Kemba Walker went 7-of-28 from the field and totaled 22 points in the losses to Denver and Los Angeles but picked it up with 23 points on 9-of-13 against the Hawks. Center Cody Zeller had his best game at both ends, recording 19 points and 10 rebounds while holding opposing center Al Horford to two and two.

    ABOUT THE PELICANS (12-26): The 16 3-pointers in Sacramento tied a franchise record, and both Gentry and his players were quick to credit the passing for creating open shots. “When we move the ball we have a lot of weapons – we just need to take advantage of them,” forward Ryan Anderson, who went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, told reporters. “When we move the ball consistently like that we’re tough to guard.” Guard Eric Gordon went 6-of-12 from 3-point range in the win after making just 3-of-14 in the previous three games.


    1. Pelicans G Tyreke Evans left Wednesday’s game with a right knee injury and is day-to-day.

    2. Charlotte G Jeremy Lamb left the last game with a toe injury and is questionable.

    3. New Orleans has taken five of the last seven in the series.

    PREDICTION: Pelicans 99, Hornets 93


    Preview: Atlanta At Milwaukee

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, January 15, 2016
    Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    The Atlanta Hawks look like an NBA championship contender when they are playing well but can look like the worst team in the league on certain nights. The Hawks will try to avoid too terrible performances in a row when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

    Atlanta averaged 123 points in easy wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls before opening the road trip at stumbling Charlotte on Wednesday and falling flat in a 107-84 trouncing. The Hornets had lost seven in a row before running the Hawks off the floor and limiting Atlanta to 37 percent from the floor. The Bucks are just as inconsistent but have won their last two at home and are hoping to steal another win against the Hawks before heading out on the road for four straight. Milwaukee followed up a 106-101 home win over the Chicago Bulls with a 106-101 loss at Washington on Wednesday that saw the team surrender 35 fourth-quarter points.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

    ABOUT THE HAWKS (23-16): Forward Paul Millsap was the only player in the lineup to score in double figures with 20 points on Wednesday, and the most disappointing performance may have come from center Al Horford. The veteran went for a season-high 33 points and 10 rebounds in a 120-105 win over Chicago on Saturday but managed only two points and two boards against a Charlotte team missing starting center Al Jefferson. Horford turned in a double-double in four of the previous six games before falling off the pace on Wednesday.

    ABOUT THE BUCKS (16-25): Horford should get another challenge from the Milwaukee center Greg Monroe, who recorded his third straight double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds on Wednesday at Washington. Monroe’s big night was part of a 52.8 percent shooting effort from the Bucks, who shot themselves in the foot with 27 turnovers. That marked a departure from the performance in the previous game, when Milwaukee recorded five turnovers in the home win over the Bulls.


    1. Bucks F Jabari Parker is averaging 17.3 points on 24-of-39 shooting in the last three games.

    2. Millsap is 22-of-39 from the floor over the last three and scored at least 18 points in nine straight contests.

    3. Atlanta has won three straight in the series, including both in Milwaukee last season.

    PREDICTION: Hawks 112, Bucks 105


    Preview: Miami At Denver

    When: 9:00 PM ET, Friday, January 15, 2016
    Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

    The Denver Nuggets are fresh off their most impressive victory of the season and look to win for the fourth time in five games when they host the Miami Heat on Friday. Denver went toe-to-toe with the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Wednesday and produced a solid 112-110 victory.

    The Nuggets are still nine games under .500 despite their recent strong play but also see an opportunity to get into the Western Conference playoff chase. Denver has won the first two outings of an eight-game homestand and stands 2-1/2 games behind the eight-place Utah Jazz. Miami is 1-3 – with three straight losses – at the beginning of a stretch in which it plays 14 of 16 games on the road. The Heat committed a season-worst 24 turnovers on Wednesday while losing 104-90 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

    TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), Altitude (Denver)

    ABOUT THE HEAT (22-17): Point guard Goran Dragic was sent back to Miami on Wednesday to undergo an MRI exam on his strained left calf. Dragic apparently was injured during Monday’s loss to Golden State and will miss at least three games – a stretch of absences that began with Wednesday’s game against the Clippers – depending on the severity. “It’s a bad strain. Hopefully it’s nothing worse,” Dragic told reporters. “I don’t know which move when it happened. It just started hurting. It’s frustrating. Of course, I want to be here to help the team but it’s a part of the game. I’ll just try to get healthy as fast as possible.”

    ABOUT THE NUGGETS (15-24): Small forward Danilo Gallinari scored 28 points in the upset of the Warriors and has scored 20 or more points in six straight games. Gallinari is averaging 26.2 points during the stretch – he’s made 11 or more free throws in four of the games – and coach Michael Malone has also been pleasantly surprised with his defense, which included a key steal on Golden State guard Stephen Curry near the end of the victory. “Gallo has proven this year he can guard most players on the floor,” Malone told reporters. “And he did a great job. He got into a stance, forced a deflection, was first to the floor and comes out with the loose ball. Those are winning plays.”


    1. The teams split two meetings last season.

    2. Miami PF Chris Bosh is averaging 13 points on 9-of-26 shooting over the past two games.

    3. Denver PG Jameer Nelson was 1-of-10 shooting against Golden State and is averaging three points on 3-of-21 shooting over his last three games.

    PREDICTION: Heat 100, Nuggets 94


    Preview: Cleveland At Houston

    When: 9:30 PM ET, Friday, January 15, 2016
    Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

    The Houston Rockets are playing their best basketball of the season and put a season-best five-game winning streak on the line when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. Houston has won six consecutive games against Cleveland but the Cavaliers also have been playing well and had an eight-winning streak halted by red-hot San Antonio on Thursday.

    The Cavaliers are 4-1 on a six-game road excursion that concludes in Houston, and they let a double-digit lead get away in the 99-95 loss to the Spurs. “We could have executed better but it’s tough to do against San Antonio,” forward LeBron James told reporters after seeing an early 15-point lead dissipate. “They are always in the right position to make the most out of every possession.” The Rockets have put aside their early-season troubles and their winning streak continued with Wednesday’s 107-104 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. “We’re playing for each other, that’s the most important thing,” guard James Harden told reporters. “So if a guy messes up, guys got his back. Everything isn’t going to be perfect all the time and that’s what we’re starting to realize and we’re just helping each other out.”

    TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN Ohio (Cleveland), ROOT (Houston)

    ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (27-10): The loss to San Antonio was just the third in 17 games for Cleveland, which was outscored by 16 points during the final three quarters and also committed 18 turnovers. “They did a good job of taking us out of our sets but we also had some really good looks that didn’t go down for us,” said James, who scored 22 points for his seventh 20-point outing in eight games. Power forward Kevin Love has notched three straight double-doubles but is shooting just 34.4 percent from the field in the past eight contests.

    ABOUT THE ROCKETS (21-19): Harden had 27 points and 11 assists against Minnesota and went over the 10,000 career-point mark — his total sits at 10,005 points. “It’s definitely a great individual achievement,” Harden told reporters. “Credit to this organization for helping me get there. But that’s just the beginning. I’ve got a long way to go.” Harden was just 8-of-22 shooting against the Timberwolves while scoring 20 or more points for the 10th time in 11 games.


    1. The Cavaliers have lost eight consecutive visits to Houston.

    2. Cleveland C Tristan Thompson scored a season-high 18 points to go with 14 rebounds in the loss to the Spurs.

    3. Houston PG Patrick Beverley is expected back after missing Wednesday’s game to visit his ill grandmother.

    PREDICTION: Rockets 109, Cavaliers 104


    Hot teams
    — Washington won its last three games (7-2 last nine AU). Indiana won three of last four at home (9-3 last 12HF).
    — Thunder won eight of its last ten games (2-6 last eight HF).
    — Portland is 6-4 in its last ten games (2-2AF).
    — Denver won three of last four games, covered five of last six.
    — Cavaliers won eight of last nine games (3-12-1AF). Houston won its last five games (4-1HU).

    Cold teams
    — Minnesota lost its last eight games, covered three of last four.
    — Suns lost 11 of their last 12 games (1-7 last eight AU). Boston lost six of its last eight games (8-8HF).
    — Nets lost five of their last six games (2-7 last nine HU).
    — Mavericks lost three of last four games (8-7AU). Bulls lost three of last four games (4-2 last six HF).
    — Hawks lost four of their last seven games (2-5 last seven AF). Milwaukee lost four of its last six (8-3 last 11HU).
    — Hornets lost seven of their last eight games (1-3 last four AU). New Orleans lost six of last eight games (3-6HF).
    — Miami lost four of its last five games (4-3AF).

    Series records
    — Indiana won last three games with Wizards by 2-4-17 points.
    — Thunder won last eight games with Minnesota (5-3 vs spread).
    — Suns won three of last four games with Boston.
    — Nets lost three of last four games with Portland.
    — Mavericks won four of last six games with Chicago.
    — Hawks won nine of last ten games with Milwaukee.
    — Pelicans won five of last seven games with Charlotte.
    — Miami won four of last six games with Denver; Nuggets covered eight of last ten series games.
    — Rockets won their last six games with Cleveland.

    — Six of last seven Washington road games went over.
    — Five of Thunder’s last six home games went over.
    — Four of last five Boston home games stayed under.
    — Four of last five Portland road games went over.
    — Last five Dallas road games stayed under the total.
    — Five of last seven Atlanta road games went over.
    — Five of last seven Denver home games went over.
    — Last five Houston home games went over total.

    — Chicago 3-3 vs spread (1-3A, 2-0H) if it played night before.
    — Cleveland is 1-5-1 vs spread if it played night before.


    StatFox Super Situations™ – FoxSheets

    Play Against – All teams where the line is +3 to -3 (NEW ORLEANS) off an upset win as a road underdog, a bad team (25% to 40%) playing a team with a losing record
    29-8 over the last 5 seasons. ( 78.4% | 20.2 units )
    2-1 this year. ( 66.7% | 0.9 units )

    Play On – Any team vs the money line (OKLAHOMA CITY) an explosive offensive team (>=102 PPG) against a good offensive team (98-102 PPG), after leading their last 2 games by 10+ points at the half
    84-35 since 1997. ( 70.6% | 38.7 units )
    4-1 this year. ( 80.0% | 2.5 units )

    Play Against – Underdogs vs. the 1rst half line (BROOKLYN) off an home win scoring 110 or more points, on Friday nights
    41-15 over the last 5 seasons. ( 73.2% | 24.5 units )
    4-3 this year. ( 57.1% | 0.7 units )

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