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NBA • Saturday Service Plays • 2/20/16

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    NBA Odds: Saturday, February 20 2016 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
    by Alan Matthews

    The trade deadline was pretty much a dud. The Chicago Bulls were rumored to be shopping All-Star Pau Gasol. Instead they traded 82-year-old backup guard Kirk Hinrich. The Houston Rockets were shopping Dwight Howard. They dealt Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton. The Atlanta Hawks surely were going to trade either Jeff Teague or Al Horford. They instead sent away Shelvin Mack. Three title contenders appeared to make solid secondary moves with Cleveland getting stretch forward Channing Frye from Orlando, Oklahoma City acquiring Randy Foye from Denver, and the LA Clippers landing Jeff Green from Memphis while dumping the headache that is known as Lance Stephenson (addition by subtraction there). The impending huge rise of the salary cap had most of the GMs around the league standing pat and hoping they can sign guys who will hit free agency like Gasol, Howard and Horford. There could be north of 20 teams able to offer a max contract this offseason. So once all that shakes out, I do think there will be plenty of trading action this summer.

    Bucks at Hawks (-8.5, 207)

    Milwaukee hosted Charlotte on Friday and Atlanta hosted Miami. The Bucks and Hawks have played only once, with Milwaukee winning 108-101 in overtime at home on Jan. 15. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Khris Middleton scored 26 points and Greg Monroe and Michael Carter-Williams added 15 points apiece for the Bucks. Both Monroe and MCW were rumored on the market ahead of Thursday’s deadline but stayed put. They are coming off the bench of late. Paul Millsap had 23 points and Horford 18 for Atlanta in that first meeting. The Hawks better hope Horford re-signs this offseason or it was a big mistake not to accept even 50 cents on the dollar for him. Teague remains under contract.

    Key trends:
    The road team is 8-2 against the spread in the past 10 meetings. The “over/under” has gone under in four of the past five meetings.

    Early lean:
    Hawks and under.

    Wizards at Heat (TBA)

    Washington hosted Detroit on Friday, meaning this is a very rare third game in three nights for the Wizards; their game Thursday vs. Utah was a makeup game. Miami was in Atlanta on Friday with Dwyane Wade a game-time call. The Heat made a couple of minor moves this week that won’t affect the team on the court but will save ownership several million dollars by getting the club under the luxury tax. Washington probably got the best player traded ahead of the deadline in forward Markieff Morris from Phoenix. He had been a very unhappy camper with the Suns since the team traded his twin brother to Detroit this past offseason. But Markieff Morris had been playing much better under Phoenix interim coach Earl Watson and has a pretty reasonable contract. On the season, he averages 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds. Will Morris be enough to get the Wiz back into the playoffs? They didn’t give up anything of current value to get him. It’s the final meeting of the regular season between these two. Washington leads 2-1 and won the game in Miami 114-103.

    Key trends:
    The Wizards are 2-5 ATS in the past seven in Miami. The over is 6-2 in the past eight meetings.

    Early lean:
    Wait on Wade, although the Wizards should be totally gassed and might sit a guy or two themselves.

    Knicks at Timberwolves (-2.5, 204.5)

    New York was in Brooklyn on Friday and Minnesota in Memphis likely again without center Nikola Pekovic. Both teams were quiet at the deadline. The Knicks don’t have any assets other than Carmelo Anthony, who has a no-trade clause, and untouchable rookie Kristaps Porzingis. Minnesota was hoping to deal guard Kevin Martin but might just buy him out now. The Wolves could deal Ricky Rubio this summer. It’s the last time this season we see the NBA’s two best rookies face off in Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Porzingis. That order is the same in which the NBA Rookie of the Year voting will finish as well unless Towns gets hurt soon. On Dec. 16, the Knicks beat the visiting Wolves 107-102. Porzingis had 11 points, seven blocks and six rebounds, while Towns had 25 points and 10 rebounds. Arron Afflalo led the Knicks with 29 points, and Anthony had 20 points and 15 rebounds.

    Key trends:
    The underdog is 5-2-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five.

    Early lean:
    Wolves and over.

    Warriors at Clippers (+4.5, 221)

    Obviously Golden State had no need to do anything at the deadline. L.A. certainly upgraded with Green over Stephenson. Green can play both small forward and as a stretch four. Green is averaging 12.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists this season while shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from 3-point range. I’m not sure he was worth a future first-round pick as well (protected 2019), but the Clippers are in win-now mode. This is the Saturday night ABC game and will have live betting at sportsbooks. Tough second of a back-to-back for the Warriors as they were in Portland on Friday. And really, this is a rare game the rest of the way you can actually see them losing. The Clippers were one of two teams not to play Friday. They beat visiting San Antonio 105-86 on Thursday. Chris Paul had 28 points and 12 assists. The Clips got a huge break when the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard was a surprise scratch. Golden State has won two high-scoring games vs. the Clippers this season but had to rally from a 23-point deficit to take the first one in early November. The Warriors have won four straight in the series overall and two in a row in Los Angeles.

    Key trends:
    The road team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 9-3 in the past 12 in L.A.

    Early lean:
    Clippers and over.


    NEWSLETTER NBA Basketball Prediction From Indian Cowboy

    Take Minnesota over New York (8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 20)
    We expect the line to be relatively small one way or another in this contest and we have Minnesota likely winning this affair by 7 to 8 points. We like the Timberwolves here as this is a game they will undoubtedly get up for as they lost to this New York team by 5 points back in December and will have revenge coming into this game. This is a Minnesota team that beat Toronto to close out the year as 6-point underdogs at home, which speaks volumes as they have won 3 out of their last 4 contests, including beating the LA Clippers and Chicago Bulls as well. The Knicks will have bigger fish to fry on this road trip and with Minnesota having revenge, being 6-0 ATS against teams with a straight up winning record of late, this sets up nicely for the young Timberwolves to beat the Knicks at home – note, this team is not going to the playoffs, so beating well known teams in the Eastern Conference or getting up to play elite Western Conference teams gives this team a chance to use as a benchmark of improvement as the season progresses.


    Preview: Milwaukee At Atlanta

    When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, February 20, 2016
    Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

    Now that the NBA trade deadline has passed and the Atlanta Hawks still have their core intact, the goal is to rediscover the brand of basketball that powered them to the Eastern Conference finals a season ago. Atlanta hosts the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday looking to bounce back after a disappointing opening to the second half Friday in a disjointed effort in that resulted in a 115-111 home loss to an undermanned Miami squad.

    “I’m sure the whole NBA is glad that it’s over with,” Atlanta forward Paul Millsap told reporters in describing the speculation leading to Thursday’s trade deadline, but the Hawks lost for the sixth time in 10 games Friday. The Bucks opened the post All-Star schedule with a disappointing loss Friday, falling at home to Charlotte 98-95 after blowing an eight-point lead entering the fourth quarter. Milwaukee is 6 ½ games out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot, but guard Khris Middleton continues evolving into a critical element of the Bucks’ offense, and is averaging 17.9 points per game. “He opens up a lot of areas for us,” Milwaukee forward Jabari Parker told reporters during the All-Star break, “and we’re going to depend on him.”

    TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), FSN Southeast (Atlanta)

    ABOUT THE BUCKS (22-33): Middleton scored 20 points Friday – 10 coming in the fourth quarter – and is averaging 21.2 points in his past five games. Parker scored 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field and is averaging 16.7 points in his past three games, shooting 22-of-42 from the field. The Bucks have been awful on the road, losing 24-of-31 contests away from home.

    ABOUT THE HAWKS (31-25): Atlanta looked sluggish throughout Friday’s contest, committing 21 turnovers (its season average coming in was 14.6). Guard Kyle Korver, who led the NBA in 3-point shooting each of the past two years but has been inconsistent this season, finished 4-of-7 from beyond the arc and is 12-of-21 from 3-point range in his past four games. Guard Jeff Teague scored 23 points with seven assists Friday, and is averaging 21.3 points and 6.3 assists in his past four games.


    1. Milwaukee beat the Hawks 108-101 in overtime at home Jan. 15, getting 28 points and a career-high 16 rebounds from SF Giannis Antetokounmpo.

    2. Atlanta expects G Kirk Hinrich, who the Hawks acquired in a trade deadline deal Thursday with Chicago, to be active Saturday.

    3. The Bucks used just eight players Friday as G Jerryd Bayless (left knee) and F John Henson (back) did not play.

    PREDICTION: Hawks 104, Bucks 95


    Preview: Washington At Miami

    When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, February 20, 2016
    Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida

    All-Star guard Dwyane Wade will undergo an MRI exam on his ailing left knee Saturday and could miss his second straight game when the Miami Heat host the Washington Wizards. Wade was scratched about an hour prior to Friday’s 115-111 road victory over the Atlanta Hawks and joined All-Star forward Chris Bosh (blood clot in his left calf) on the sidelines.

    Wade began experiencing soreness in the back of the knee near the end of Wednesday’s practice and became concerned when treatments and rest didn’t erase the pain. “I gave it a couple days to see if it would go away,” Wade told reporters. “It didn’t, so I just want to go back and get another second opinion. But it’s nothing I’m overly concerned about. It’s just some soreness I haven’t felt in a while so I just want to make sure everything’s good.” Washington posted a 98-86 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday to hold an opponent to fewer than 90 points for the second consecutive night. The Wizards are concluding the only three games in three nights’ stretch of the NBA season because of Thursday’s victory over Utah being a rescheduled game from a January weather postponement.

    TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CSN Mid-Atlantic Plus (Washington), FSN Sun (Miami)

    ABOUT THE WIZARDS (25-28): Forward Markieff Morris, acquired from the Phoenix Suns prior to Thursday’s trading deadline, was cleared to play by the NBA about one hour before Friday’s tip and scored six points in 22 minutes. Morris has taken a reputation hit because of his stormy season and attitude issues in Phoenix but former Suns’ teammates Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley heaped praised on him, allowing Morris to feel welcome upon his arrival. “It’s just guys that actually know me, and not on the outside looking in,” Morris told reporters. “Getting compliments from those guys means a lot.”

    ABOUT THE HEAT (30-24): Losing Wade for any length of time would be a blow for a squad that has lost Bosh indefinitely. Veteran small forward Luol Deng stepped up against the Hawks with a season-high 30 points while reserve forward Josh McRoberts also put forth a strong showing with season highs of 19 points and 10 assists. “We knew we were missing those guys,” Deng told reporters. “We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy. Throughout the whole game we did a good job of keeping the pace up.”


    1. The Wizards are 2-1 against the Heat this season, including a 114-103 victory in Miami on Dec. 7.

    2. Miami C Hassan Whiteside will be back after serving a one-game suspension for elbowing San Antonio C Boban Marjanovic on Feb. 9.

    3. Washington PG John Wall had 22 points against Detroit and is averaging 23.4 points and 10.9 assists over the past seven games.

    PREDICTION: Heat 100, Wizards 99


    Preview: New York At Minnesota

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 20, 2016
    Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    The New York Knicks continue to fade and look to end a season-worst seven-game losing streak when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. The Knicks lost for the 11th time in 12 games when they fell to the Brooklyn Nets 109-98 on Friday and are falling out of the Eastern Conference playoff race.

    New York recently fired Derek Fisher and interim coach Kurt Rambis insists making the playoffs is an attainable goal but the Knicks sit six games out after the latest defeat. “We can’t be giving away games like this,” All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony said after the loss to the struggling Nets. “It’s crunch time now.” Minnesota has long been out of the Western Conference race and is four losses away from sewing up an 11th consecutive losing season. The Timberwolves lost 109-104 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday in a contest in which they were 2-of-17 shooting in the fourth quarter.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), FSN North (Minnesota)

    ABOUT THE KNICKS (23-33): Brooklyn scored 21 points off 16 New York turnovers and that disappointed Rambis and disgusted Anthony. “It was kind of self-explanatory, it was obvious why we lost the game,” Anthony told reporters. “We can try to pinpoint and finger point and do that but the proof is in the pudding.” New York has allowed more than 110 points on five occasions during the 1-11 slide and has tallied fewer than 100 points eight times.

    ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (17-38): Minnesota also experienced turnover issues Friday, committing 22 to lead to 27 Memphis points to sabotage an effort in which it made all 31 of its free-throw attempts. Second-year guard Zach LaVine moved into the starting lineup against the Grizzlies and he scored 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting and has reached double digits in 10 straight games, averaging 18 points during the stretch. Veteran forward Tayshaun Prince didn’t see any action against Memphis and the Timberwolves are expected to go with a lot of three-guard alignments – LaVine teamed with shooting guard Andrew Wiggins and point guard Ricky Rubio – over the final third of the season along with rookie standout Karl-Anthony Towns and third-year pro Gorgui Dieng starting up front.


    1. SG Arron Afflalo scored 29 points as the Knicks posted a 107-102 home victory over the Timberwolves on Dec. 16.

    2. Minnesota backup SG Kevin Martin (wrist) had 12 points in 13 minutes against Memphis after missing the previous nine games.

    3. Rambis confirmed that New York plans to sign G Jimmer Fredette to a 10-day contract Monday.

    PREDICTION: Timberwolves 106, Knicks 101


    Preview: Golden State At L.A. Clippers

    When: 8:30 PM ET, Saturday, February 20, 2016
    Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

    The Golden State Warriors are coming off their worst loss of the campaign and look to avoid consecutive defeats for the first time this season when they visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday. Golden State was trounced 137-105 by the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday as it was Portland star Damian Lillard impersonating reigning MVP Stephen Curry by scoring a career-best 51 points and knocking down nine 3-pointers.

    The Warriors trailed by six at halftime before unraveling in the third quarter and committing 13 turnovers – the most in a single quarter of any NBA game since 2008 – while being outscored 36-17. “I’m OK with the other team making shots, what I’m not OK with is losing our poise in the third quarter and making 13 turnovers in one quarter,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said afterward. “We totally lost our poise and that was the most disappointing thing.” The Clippers have won eight of their last 10 games and dismantled the San Antonio Spurs 105-86 on Thursday behind 28 points and 12 assists from point guard Chris Paul. “Chris has been great all season, especially since Blake’s been down,” center DeAndre Jordan told reporters in referencing forward Blake Griffin, out for nearly two months with quadriceps and hand injuries. “He’s had to step it up even more offensively and defensively for us, being more of a scorer and a playmaker for us. He’s doing his job every night, and it’s great to watch.”

    TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ABC

    ABOUT THE WARRIORS (48-5): Golden State certainly didn’t look ready for Portland’s assault in its first game coming out of the All-Star break while giving up a season high point total and the defeat diminishes the chances of the squad surpassing the 72-win mark held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. Those Bulls also were 48-5 after 53 games but Golden State finds itself in a stretch in which the contest against the Clippers is the third of a seven-game road trip. Shooting guard Klay Thompson said “we weren’t as focused as we should be,” while discussing the rare defeat and Curry was miffed by the uncharacteristic loss of composure.

    ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (36-18): Forward Jeff Green will make his Los Angeles debut after being acquired from Memphis for forward Lance Stephenson and a future first-round pick prior to Thursday’s trading deadline. Green, who is averaging 12.2 points, played under coach Doc Rivers for 1 1/2 years with the Boston Celtics earlier in his career and was stunned to be traded at midseason for the third time in his career. “I know it’s a business first and foremost,” Green told reporters after Friday’s practice. “I’m going to a great situation here in L.A. I’m happy and I’m excited for the opportunity I have here and the opportunity the team has trying to win a championship.”


    1. The Warriors have won the past four meetings and averaged 118 points in this season’s two victories.

    2. Curry made seven 3-pointers in the loss to Portland to raise his season total to 252 – the fourth straight season he has topped 250 and only the seventh time it has been done in NBA history.

    3. Jordan had 17 rebounds against the Spurs for his 11th consecutive double-digit performance on the boards.

    PREDICTION: Clippers 111, Warriors 109


    Hot teams
    — Washington won three of last four games (7-3 last 10AU). Miami won seven of its last ten games (4-7 last 11HF). .
    — Minnesota won three of its last five games (3-8HF).
    — Warriors won 11 of their last 12 games (3-5 last 8AF). Clippers won four of their last five games (1-2HU).

    Cold teams
    — Milwaukee lost eight of last 11 games (1-5 last 6AU). Atlanta lost three of its last four games (5-3 last 8HF).
    — Knicks lost their last seven games (7-5 last 12AU).

    Series records
    — Wizards won five of last six games with Miami.
    — Hawks won eight of last ten games with Milwaukee.
    — Knicks won six of last nine games with Minnesota.
    — Clippers lost their last four games with Golden State.

    — Three of last four Miami games stayed under total.
    — Four of last five Atlanta-Milwaukee games stayed under.
    — Over is 7-0-1 in Minnesota games if it played night before.
    — Four of last five Clipper games satyed under the total.

    — Washington is playing third night in row because of a makeup game Thursday; they’re 5-3 vs spread last eight times they played nite before. Miami is 5-4 vs spread if it played night before.

    — Bucks are 9-5 vs spread if they played nite before, 0-3 in last three. Atlanta is 3-7 vs spread last ten times they played night before.

    — Knicks lost three of last four if they played night before. Minnesota is 4-4 vs spread if it played night before (1-7SU).
    — Golden State is 9-3 vs spread if it played the night before.


    StatFox Super Situations™ – FoxSheets

    Play Under – Any team after 2 or more consecutive overs against opponent after 5 or more consecutive overs
    59-26 over the last 5 seasons. ( 69.4% | 30.4 units )
    5-3 this year. ( 62.5% | 1.7 units )

    Play On – Home teams vs. the money line (ATLANTA) off an upset loss as a home favorite of 10 points or more, second half of the season
    57-17 since 1997. ( 77.0% | 31.9 units )

    Play Against – Any team vs. the 1rst half line (GOLDEN STATE) extremely well rested team – playing 5 or less games in 14 days, top level team, winning 75% or more of their games on the season
    49-20 over the last 5 seasons. ( 71.0% | 27.0 units )
    5-2 this year. ( 71.4% | 2.8 units )


    New World Insiders

    OVER 204.5 – New York Knicks/Minnesota Timberwolves



    Play Minnesota -2 over New York



    500* Play Golden State -5 over Los Angeles Clippers



    1000* Play Golden State -5 over Los Angeles Clippers



    Play Golden State -5 over Los Angeles Clippers—Top Play (25 Units)

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