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NBA • Wednesday Service Plays • 1/13/16

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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 Dallas (Tuesday), 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: Atlanta At Charlotte

    When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
    Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina

    The Atlanta Hawks look like an NBA title contender whenever their offense is clicking, they just can’t seem to get it going consistently. The Hawks will try to make it three straight games scoring 120 or more point when they visit the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.

    Atlanta is 3-3 in its last six games and is averaging 122.3 points in the three wins while managing an average of 95 in the three setbacks. The Hawks dropped back-to-back games to the New York Knicks before turning things around with a 126-98 triumph over lowly Philadelphia and carried that momentum into Saturday’s meeting against the Chicago Bulls, in which they shot 52.1 percent in a 120-105 victory. The Hornets know all about inconsistency, though their peaks and valleys tend to run longer and deeper. Charlotte looked like a playoff contender after a fourth straight win improved the team to 14-8 on Dec. 11, but it has since dropped 12 of 15, including seven straight, to plummet to the bottom of the Southeast Division.

    TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Southeast (Atlanta, Charlotte)

    ABOUT THE HAWKS (23-15): Atlanta goes as center Al Horford goes of late, and the big man is averaging 12 points in the last three losses while putting up an average of 27 in the last three win. Horford put it all together on Saturday against a strong Chicago front line and ended up with a season-high 33 points on 15-of-21 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. “Al Horford … that was very, very special, and I think everybody kind of followed his lead,” head coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters. “He was very vocal in the timeouts, coming out on the court talking.”

    ABOUT THE HORNETS (17-20): Charlotte finished up an 0-4 road trip with a 95-92 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday and shot 36.1 percent from the field in the setback. Cody Zeller, who has taken over at starting center with Al Jefferson out due to knee surgery, scored 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the loss but suggested that an improvement in team defense might be the key to a turnaround. “We’ve just got to get back on track, start playing defense,” Zeller told reporters. “Get back to what we were doing at the beginning of the season, when we were winning.”


    1. Hawks PG Jeff Teague (ankle) briefly left Saturday’s game and is probable to play on Wednesday.

    2. Charlotte G Nicolas Batum (toe) returned from a four-game absence on Sunday and struggled to nine points on 3-of-8 shooting in 38 minutes.

    3. Atlanta took the first two meetings this season by a total of five points.

    PREDICTION: Hawks 115, Hornets 101


    Preview: Milwaukee At Washington

    When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
    Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia

    The see-saw, injury-plagued campaign of the Washington Wizards is on the upswing after two straight impressive road victories and they hope to build on that with a stretch of games in friendly surroundings. The Wizards play six of the next seven contests at home, starting with a visit from the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

    Washington knocked off Orlando by six before pounding Chicago 114-100 on Monday as point guard John Wall recorded his 17th double-double in the last 22 games. Wall has shined through various injuries this season and is expected to play Wednesday despite scheduling an MRI exam on a muscle above his left knee for Thursday. The Wizards will face the tired (eighth game in 14 days) but mentally rejuvenated Bucks, who defeated Chicago 106-101 at home Tuesday. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Milwaukee, which is 5-17 on the road and 4-4 in the second of back-to-back games.

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

    ABOUT THE BUCKS (16-24): Antetokounmpo produced his second-highest scoring output of the season Tuesday and leading scorer Khris Middleton continued his hot streak with 16, including the clinching jumper. Middleton is averaging 21.6 points and 5.2 assists over the past five contests while center Greg Monroe has posted four double-doubles in six games this month. Point guard Michael Carter-Williams has struggled a bit of late, making just 10-of-33 from the field the last three games, but had no turnovers and six assists in 37 minutes Tuesday.

    ABOUT THE WIZARDS (17-19): While Wall will likely be on the court, center Marcin Gortat (13.4 points, team-high 9.7 rebounds) is expected to sit out his second straight game with a possible knee infection. Forward Kris Humphries (knee) is also questionable, but the good news for Washington is leading scorer Bradley Beal (leg) could return to the lineup this weekend after missing a month. Otto Porter Jr. continues his progress while averaging 14.5 points the past four contests and Gary Neal totaled 27 in the wins over Orlando and Chicago.


    1. The Wizards have won six of the last seven meetings, including a 115-86 rout in Washington on Nov. 17 – the second of two victories this season.

    2. Milwaukee F Jabari Parker has made 15-of-26 from the field over the past two contests with one turnover combined in 59 minutes.

    3. Washington F Jared Dudley has drained 9-of-16 from 3-point range over the past four contests.

    PREDICTION: Wizards 102, Bucks 95


    Preview: New York At Brooklyn

    When: 7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
    Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

    The surging New York Knicks hope to have Carmelo Anthony available when they head across town to take on the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. Anthony suffered a sprained ankle in the third quarter of Tuesday’s 120-114 win over Boston, the Knicks’ fifth victory in their last six games.

    Even if its superstar is unable to go, New York will try to take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding their crosstown rivals, who have averaged 82.6 points during a five-game losing streak. The most recent of those five straight losses came in Brooklyn’s first game since a major shakeup that saw head coach Lionel Hollins fired and general manager Billy King reassigned. Interim coach Tony Brown witnessed his team make two 3-pointers, turn the ball over 19 times and get outrebounded by 10 in a 106-79 loss to San Antonio at home Monday. “They definitely know how to play together and that’s something we’re going to strive and try to do here,” Brown told reporters.

    TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), YES (Brooklyn)

    ABOUT THE KNICKS (20-20): In addition to Anthony’s injury, New York was limited down the stretch when Kristaps Porzingis (26 points in 27 minutes) fouled out, but fellow rookie Jerian Grant was able to pick up some of the slack. Grant had nine points and six assists in the fourth quarter alone and finished with 16 and eight, both career highs. “Jerian was big, he made plays for himself and other people and impacted the game in a big way,” coach Derek Fisher told reporters.

    ABOUT THE NETS (10-28): Brooklyn has dropped 10 straight at home since a win at the Barclays Center over struggling Philadelphia on Dec. 10. Brown tried to shake things up against the Spurs by inserting Donald Sloan and Wayne Ellington into the starting lineup, but they had just 10 combined points on 4-of-12 shooting. Bojan Bogdanovic, one of those moved out of the starting lineup, missed all five of his shots and is 0-of-16 over a miserable three-game span.


    1. After shooting 35.2 percent in November and 35.6 in December, Nets SF Joe Johnson has a 51.4 percent mark in January and is 4-of-4 from 3-point range over his last two games.

    2. Knicks C Robin Lopez has scored in double figures in a season-high four straight contests.

    3. Anthony scored 28 points while making a season-high five 3-pointers in a 108-91 win over the Nets in the first meeting Dec. 4 at Madison Square Garden.

    PREDICTION: Knicks 103, Nets 96


    Preview: Indiana At Boston

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
    Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

    Following a woeful road trip, the Boston Celtics will try to right the ship at home when they host Indiana on Wednesday. The Celtics have dropped a season-high four straight games and six of their last seven after falling 120-114 in New York on Tuesday.

    Isaiah Thomas had 34 points to lead a solid offensive effort, but Boston could not slow down the Knicks, even after they lost superstar Carmelo Anthony to a sprained ankle in the third quarter. To make matters worse, the Celtics are 0-2 against the Pacers this season, including an 11-point setback in the previous meeting at Boston. Indiana has won three of its last four after posting a 116-97 victory over Phoenix on Tuesday. Paul George, George Hill and C.J. Miles combined for 60 points and the Pacers shot 51.9 percent to claim one of only two home games in a span of 23 days.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN Indiana, CSN New England (Boston)

    ABOUT THE PACERS (22-16): Indiana’s last five losses have come by four points or fewer and the squad has recently talked about those games – some of which have involved late-game mistakes – as missed opportunities. That was not the case Tuesday against the Suns, who were outscored 36-21 in the fourth quarter by the Pacers and saw Monta Ellis record 14 points after halftime against them. George had 26 points and 10 rebounds in each of the wins over Boston earlier this season.

    ABOUT THE CELTICS (19-19): Some of Boston’s swoon can be tied to a difficult stretch for guard Avery Bradley, who was the squad’s most consistent performer and its best 3-point shooter early in the season. After sitting out three straight games with a hip contusion, Bradley has missed all six of his 3-point tries while recording a total of one assist and five turnovers in his last two contests. The sixth-year pro, who scored 21 points in his one game against Indiana this season, is 1-of-16 from beyond the arc in a five-game stretch.


    1. The Celtics entered Tuesday leading the NBA in turnovers forced (16.5), while the Pacers ranked fourth (16).

    2. Pacers C Ian Mahinmi is 22-of-33 from the floor and is averaging 8.6 rebounds during a five-game stretch.

    3. Boston is 5-3 in the second half of back-to-backs but one of those three losses came against Indiana at home.

    PREDICTION: Celtics 101, Pacers 100


    Preview: Minnesota At Houston

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
    Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

    The Houston Rockets look to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games when they entertain the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night. The Rockets had previously lost four in a row while allowing 116.5 points per game before turning things around on that end of the court, averaging 94.8 against during their streak.

    Houston guard James Harden, who trails only Stephen Curry of Golden State in the league scoring race, recorded 25 points in the 107-91 victory over Memphis on Tuesday. The Rockets should have point guard Ty Lawson back in the lineup after a three-game suspension when they take on the Timberwolves, who have dropped seven consecutive outings and 11 of 12 after Tuesday’s 101-96 setback against Oklahoma City. Last season’s Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins leads Minnesota in scoring and has produced 26 points per game over the past three. The Timberwolves have played better on the road (7-10) than on their home court (5-17).

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

    ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (12-27): Guard Zach LaVine scored 21 points on Tuesday, matching the amount he totaled over the previous seven contests, and drained three 3-pointers along with grabbing nine rebounds. Forward Shabazz Muhammad has also raised his level of play while scoring at least 20 in three of his past five contests and averaging 16 over a seven-game span. Center Nikola Pekovic was rested Tuesday after playing his first three games of the season following Achilles surgery, and is expected back against Houston.

    ABOUT THE ROCKETS (20-19): Houston has forced 18 turnovers per game during its winning streak and climbed into a more comfortable position in the Western Conference, moving within a half game of Memphis for sixth. Harden has been a consistent force and center Dwight Howard has contributed six consecutive double-doubles, averaging 21.2 points and 14.2 rebounds in that span. Forward Trevor Ariza, who had a season-high 24 points against Indiana on Sunday, has drained 45.8 percent of his 3-point attempts the last nine games.


    1. The Rockets have won four straight meetings with the Timberwolves and eight of the last nine.

    2. Minnesota rookie C Karl-Anthony Towns notched his 18th double-double Tuesday with 14 points and 10 boards.

    3. Houston F Terrence Jones scored 20 points Tuesday – his most since pouring in 23 in consecutive games Nov. 13-14.

    PREDICTION: Rockets 110, Timberwolves 96


    Preview: Dallas At Oklahoma City

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
    Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Kevin Durant keeps scoring the points and the Oklahoma City Thunder keep racking up victories. Durant looks for his 25th consecutive 20-point outing and Oklahoma City seeks its 17th win in the past 21 games when it hosts the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

    Durant kept his streak going with 30 points in Tuesday’s 101-96 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves — a contest in which he scored 12 consecutive Oklahoma City points late in the fourth quarter. “I’ve got to get it going there in the first three quarters,” Durant said afterward. “Can’t just come out and try to save the game and make shots in the fourth. I’ve got to get it going early.” Dallas lost 110-107 in overtime to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday and the contest against the Thunder is the opener of a three-game trip that includes visits to San Antonio and Chicago. “An extremely difficult schedule, there’s no doubt about that,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “This kind of stretch challenges a group.”

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

    ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (22-17): Dallas led by as many 17 points in the contest against Cleveland and that fact greatly frustrated shooting guard Wesley Matthews. “We can’t continue to lose games like this to good teams because we’re going to have to beat good teams,” Matthews told reporters. “We should have won it and we didn’t. Now we have to use that frustration and aggression to go get this win in OKC.” The play of small forward Chandler Parsons was a bright spot — a season-best 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting — as he continues to move toward full strength after undergoing knee surgery in the offseason.

    ABOUT THE THUNDER (27-12): Even with the late charge, Durant was 11-of-25 shooting against Minnesota but coach Billy Donovan was fine with how things shook out despite the lack of efficiency. “I think the one thing about him is he always stays engaged,” Donovan told reporters. “He’s got a lot of confidence. He’s put a lot of time in; he’s worked very hard. So in those moments, he’s really, really prepared to step up regardless of what’s happened with the shot before.” Point guard Russell Westbrook had 22 points and 11 assists against Minnesota for his second straight double-double and he has scored 20 or more points in 10 of the past 12 games.


    1. The Thunder posted a 117-114 victory Nov. 22 after the Mavericks won five of the previous six meetings.

    2. Oklahoma City C Enes Kanter had 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting against Minnesota after failing to reach double digits in four of the previous six games.

    3. Dallas C Zaza Pachulia had 14 points and 12 rebounds against Cleveland for his 20th double-double of the season.

    PREDICTION: Thunder 113, Mavericks 109


    Preview: Golden State At Denver

    When: 9:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
    Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

    The Golden State Warriors’ latest winning streak is up to seven games, and they own the best record in NBA history through 37 contests. One team the Warriors have had some recent trouble against is the Denver Nuggets, who host Golden State on Wednesday.

    The Warriors nearly had their record home winning streak come to an end on Jan. 2, when the Nuggets recovered from a 26-point deficit to force overtime before falling 111-108. Golden State star Stephen Curry left that game early with a recurring shin injury but Draymond Green put up 29 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists, and Klay Thompson’s finger roll late in overtime helped seal the victory. Curry has since made a more-or-less healthy return to the lineup while playing through some pain and scored 31 points in a win over Miami on Monday. Denver locked down on the defensive end of late and held its last three opponents to an average of 85.7 points while grabbing a pair of wins.

    TV: 9 p.m. ET, CSN Bay Area (Golden State), Altitude (Denver)

    ABOUT THE WARRIORS (36-2): Curry recorded a negative plus-minus for the first time all season in Monday’s win, but Golden State was still able to pull out a win thanks to a solid effort from the reserves. “Everybody came in ready to play,” Curry told reporters. “The starters played well, but we didn’t sustain it. (The reserves) came in, took control of the game and got us to the finish line.” One of those reserves was small forward Harrison Barnes, who is still making his way back from an ankle injury and contributed 12 points and six rebounds in 27 minutes on Monday.

    ABOUT THE NUGGETS (14-24): Denver is also working a player back in after a lengthy absence due to an ankle injury, and rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay collected 11 points and six assists in a win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday in his first game back. “It felt good,” Mudiay told reporters after his first game in nearly a month. “I came back and played. That’s the main thing – I just wanted to get out there again and see how I felt, and I felt pretty good.” Jameer Nelson started at point guard in the Jan. 2 meeting and recorded 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.


    1. Green is averaging 18.2 points on 60.7 percent shooting in six games this month.

    2. Nuggets F Kenneth Faried sat out the last two games following the birth of his daughter and is day-to-day.

    3. Golden State took each of the first three meetings this season and four in a row overall.

    PREDICTION: Warriors 113, Nuggets 102


    Preview: Utah At Portland

    When: 10:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
    Where: Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, Portland, Oregon

    The Portland Trail Blazers sit eight games under .500 but are hoping a recent victory will jump-start their season. Portland rallied for an impressive 115-110 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday and looks to make it two straight victories when it hosts the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

    Standout point guard Damian Lillard scored 31 points against the Thunder and made five of his eight 3-pointers in the final 3:07 as Portland finished with a flourish. Lillard has made 14 3-pointers over the last two games while averaging 35.5 points and 9.5 assists. Utah has strung together two consecutive wins after losing six of its previous nine outings. The Jazz allowed an average of 78.5 points in the two victories after giving up an average of 113 in their previous two games.

    TV: 10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Utah), CSN Northwest (Portland)

    ABOUT THE JAZZ (17-20): Center Rudy Gobert is 9-of-10 from the field in three games since returning from a knee injury, and he had 10 points in 30 minutes against the Lakers in a win on Sunday. Utah is looking forward to having Gobert and power forward Derrick Favors (back) in the lineup at the same time but it appears Favors could miss his 11th straight game. “We’ve been going through adversity but this group, we never quit,” Gobert told reporters. “We’re just going to keep fighting. The good thing (about) the coaches is that they don’t give up on us. They just keep coaching just as hard.”

    ABOUT THE TRAIL BLAZERS (16-24): Lillard scored 35 points against Utah when Portland posted a 108-92 road victory on Nov. 4 but missed the Dec. 31 contest due to a foot injury as the Jazz recorded a 109-96 victory in Portland. Lillard and shooting guard C.J. McCollum have formed a superb backcourt duo and McCollum is averaging 29.5 points in the two games against Utah. Lillard’s injury opened the door for swingman Allen Crabbe to carve out a bigger role, and Crabbe has scored in double digits in 10 of the past 11 games.


    1. The Trail Blazers have won seven of the past 10 meetings.

    2. Utah dropped seven consecutive road games until posting an 86-74 win over the Lakers on Sunday.

    3. Portland made a season-best 19 3-pointers in the win over Oklahoma City.

    PREDICTION: Trail Blazers 105, Jazz 99


    Preview: New Orleans At Sacramento

    When: 10:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
    Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, California

    The status of standout power forward Anthony Davis remains in doubt as the lowly New Orleans Pelicans visit the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. Davis injured his back Friday and missed the past two games, including Tuesday’s 95-91 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

    New Orleans is 0-5 when Davis sits out this season and has lost six of its last seven games as it closes a three-game West Coast swing against the Kings. The Pelicans are receiving stellar play from guard Tyreke Evans, who scored 21 points in the loss to the Lakers and is averaging 24.7 points during the last three games. Sacramento is 8-7 in its last 15 games and sits in ninth place in the Western Conference, two games behind the Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot. “We’re playing hard; we’re playing competitive against some great teams,” small forward Rudy Gay told reporters. “We’re getting over the hump. There were times where we thought we were stuck playing one way and now we’re all learning to play with each other.”

    TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN New Orleans, CSN California (Sacramento)

    ABOUT THE PELICANS (11-26): Small forward Quincy Pondexter (left knee) hasn’t played all season and will be shut down to undergo season-ending surgery. It was crushing news for Pondexter, who previously underwent surgery on the knee in the offseason and felt he was close to returning until doctors discovered cartilage damage. “It was extremely disappointing news,” Pondexter told reporters, “but at the end of the day, I have to find a way to get healthy and make sure my knee is 100 percent for the rest of my career.”

    ABOUT THE KINGS (15-22): Small forward Omri Casspi (back) is expected to play after a four-game absence. He has scored in double digits in 16 of his past 17 games while posting career-best averages of 12.8 points and 6.7 rebounds, and he says he’s ready to help Sacramento go on a run. “It’s part of an NBA season,” Casspi told reporters. “We have a lot of games left and I feel like it’s our time now to take a big step forward.”


    1. The Pelicans won three of last season’s four meetings.

    2. Sacramento C DeMarcus Cousins has posted four consecutive double-doubles and is averaging 32.4 points and 13 rebounds during the past five games.

    3. New Orleans G Norris Cole is 10-of-36 shooting during the last four contests.

    PREDICTION: Kings 121, Pelicans 116


    Preview: Miami At L.A. Clippers

    When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, January 13, 2016
    Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

    The winning streak is at nine straight for the Los Angeles Clippers, who are still not at full strength and don’t plan to have star forward Blake Griffin back very soon. The Clippers will try to push the winning streak to double figures when they host the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

    Griffin (quad) only recently started shooting free throws and has missed the last eight games, during which Los Angeles is averaging 110.5 points. None of those wins have come against teams currently owning winning records, and the Clippers will get a chance to test themselves against the Heat and have a five-game road trip looming next week. Miami gave the NBA-best Golden State Warriors a battle before falling 111-103 on Monday, and slipped to 1-2 on the six-game road trip. The Heat are in the midst of their toughest stretch and began a run of 14 of 16 on the road with a win in Phoenix before falling at Utah and Golden State.

    TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN Sun (Miami), Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)

    ABOUT THE HEAT (22-16): Miami outplayed Golden State’s starters but could not keep pace with the bench during a decisive stretch at the beginning of the fourth quarter. “We have to have the concentration, the mental effort, the hustle we had (Monday) every night,” forward Chris Bosh told reporters. Bosh (15 points, 12 rebounds), Luol Deng (14 and 10) and Dwyane Wade (20 points, 11 assists) each posted a double-double in the loss.

    ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (25-13): Los Angeles nearly had the winning streak come to an end on Sunday, when it survived a 114-111 overtime battle with the New Orleans Pelicans. “We can win in games we don’t play well,” Clippers center DeAndre Jordan told reporters. “We played (poorly Sunday), I thought, especially down the stretch. Our offense was OK, but down the stretch we didn’t play well. We know that. But some games, you have to grind it out.” Helping grind out those wins has been point guard Chris Paul, who was recently named Western Conference Player of the Week and is averaging 23.7 points and 12.3 assists in the last three games.


    1. Clippers SF Paul Pierce is 3-of-16 from the field in the last two games.

    2. Heat C Hassan Whiteside (knee) sat out Monday and is day-to-day.

    3. The road team has taken the last three in the series, with Miami winning its last two trips to Los Angeles.

    PREDICTION: Clippers 96, Heat 95


    Hot teams
    — Hawks won nine of their last 12 games (2-4 last six AF).
    — Knicks won five of last six games, covering all six.
    — Pacers won three of their last four games (1-4 last five AU).
    — Warriors won their last seven games (13-5-1AF).
    — Thunder won seven of their last nine games (1-6 last 7HF).
    — Houston won its last four games (6-2 last eight HF).
    — Clippers won their last nine games (4-2 last six HF).

    Cold teams
    — Charlotte lost its last seven games (1-6 vs spread).
    — Washington lost its last three home games (1-7 last 8HF). Bucks lost three of last five games (10-11AU).
    — Nets lost their last five games (0-5 vs spread).
    — Celtics lost six of their last seven games (0-3 last three HF).
    — Mavericks are 3-4 in last seven games (8-6AU).
    — Minnesota lost its last seven games (1-6 vs spread).
    — Denver lost seven of its last nine games (3-0-1 last four HU).
    — New Orleans lost six of last seven games (4-8 last 12AU). Kings are 3-5 in their last eight games (1-3 last four HF).
    — Utah lost seven of its last eight road games (1-4 last five AU). Portland lost three of last four games (4-4HF).
    — Miami lost three of its last four games (4-1 last five AU).

    Series records
    — Hawks won four of last five games with Charlotte.
    — Wizards won six of last seven games with Milwaukee.
    — Knicks lost four of last five games with Brooklyn.
    — Pacers won seven of their last ten games with Boston.
    — Dallas won five of last seven games with Oklahoma City.
    — Rockets won eight of last nine games with Minnesota.
    — Warriors won last four games with Denver, but Nuggets are 4-1 vs spread in last five.
    — Pelicans won three of last four games with Sacramento.
    — Jazz lost seven of last ten games with Portland.
    — Clippers lost four of last five games with Miami.

    — 11 of last 12 Atlanta games went over the total.
    — Three of last four Washington games went over.
    — Last six Brooklyn games stayed under the total.
    — Last four Indiana-Boston games stayed under.
    — Five of last six Maverick-Thunder games went over.
    — Last six Houston-Minnesota games went over total.
    — Last five Golden State-Denver games went over total.
    — Six of last seven New Orleans games stayed under.
    — Six of last seven Utah-Portland games went over.
    — Three of last four Clipper games went over total.

    — Milwaukee is 7-2 vs spread if it played night before.
    — Knicks are 5-3 vs spread if they played night before.
    — Indiana is 2-6 vs spread if it played night before; Boston is 3-4.
    — Dallas is 6-2 vs spread if it played night before; Thunder is 2-4.
    — Pelicans are 4-4 vs spread if they played the night before.


    StatFox Super Situations™ – FoxSheets

    Play On – All teams where the line is +3 to -3 (PORTLAND) after allowing 105 points or more 2 straight games against opponent after a combined score of 165 points or less
    29-8 since 1997. ( 78.4% | 20.2 units )
    0-1 this year. ( 0.0% | -1.1 units )

    Play Against – Any team vs the money line (CHARLOTTE) after failing to cover the spread in 3 or more consecutive games, with a winning percentage of between 40-49% on the season
    134-82 over the last 5 seasons. ( 62.0% | 51.9 units )
    14-8 this year. ( 63.6% | 6.2 units )

    Play Under – Any team vs. the 1rst half line after 3 consecutive covers as a favorite, in January games
    41-15 over the last 5 seasons. ( 73.2% | 24.5 units )
    1-4 this year. ( 20.0% | -3.4 units )



    100* Hawks -3

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