NBA: Big Day Continues in the NBA

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NBA: Big Day Continues in the NBA


The day long activity of NBA action marches on to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. The focus will be on four games, with the latter three televised on TNT for viewing pleasure, which includes a highly anticipated matchup, as Cleveland and LeBron James visit Tinseltown to face the Lakers. It promises to be a very entertaining day and a great way to start the work week.

Denver at Houston

The Houston Rockets (25-16, 19-22 ATS) are trying to win for the third time in four games without two of their stars. Tracy McGrady has missed the last three games as he rests his chronically sore left knee for two weeks, and Ron Artest's right ankle has sidelined him for four straight games. That means the pressure falls to Yao Ming to pick up the slack, which he certainly did in last game, going 12-for-12 from the field to set a franchise record and finishing with 26 points and 10 rebounds in beating Miami at home 93-86 as three-point favorites. The win raises the Rockets record at home to 13-5, yet like usual, they are just 7-11 ATS and come into this encounter 5-13 ATS after a game where they covered the spread.

Denver (27-14, 22-18-1 ATS) concluded their longest home stand of the season with a 5-2 (4-3 ATS) record, after they lost to Orlando by 18 points. The Nuggets shot just 36.5 percent (31-for-85) from the field and matched its lowest point total of the season with 88. They will seek to quickly rebound and are 11-2 ATS in road games after a blowout loss by 15 points or more over the last three seasons. has first place Denver as three-point underdogs with a total of 194. The Nuggets are 4-15 ATS in road games after playing four consecutive games as favorite, though the Rockets are no better at 4-13 ATS when the total is between 190 and 199.5 points this season. This Western Conference confrontation can be seen in local markets starting at 2 Eastern.

Detroit at Memphis

Detroit has been playing ugly basketball with five straight losses (0-5 ATS). The Pistons are physically beat-up after Allen Iverson and Tayshaun Prince were both injured in Saturday's home loss to New Orleans 91-85. Both are considered questionable for this contest, as Detroit (22-17, 16-23 ATS) is already trying to nurse Rasheed Wallace and Richard Hamilton back to health, as neither has looked sharp in their recent returns. It has been all about the offense misfiring for the Pistons, averaging 86 points per game in this stretch and Detroit is only 3-8 ATS with one day between games.

Memphis (11-28, 15-23-1 ATS) comes in having lost five straight (0-5 ATS) and 13 of its last 15 games (4-11-1 ATS) after falling 101-91 on Friday to the Utah Jazz. "Everybody's frustrated," Marc Gasol said. "If somebody's not frustrated, then they have a problem. Everybody should be frustrated." The Grizzlies are 6-15 ATS following a double-digit loss at home. The line on this matchup will be released pending the status of Pistons players.
Phoenix at Boston

It appears Boston (33-9, 22-20 ATS) has turned its season back around, after losing seven of nine, with four consecutive wins. Defeating Toronto and New Jersey each twice might not qualify as resurgence, nevertheless a very good starting point. The Celtics are 20-2 and 13-9 ATS at home and 11-3 ATS at TD Banknorth Garden after playing three consecutive games as favorite this season. Boston takes on Phoenix who is still trying to establish a true identity.

Phoenix (22-15, 13-24 ATS) began their longest road trip of the season on Sunday, sneaking by Toronto 117-113 as four point road favorites. This came on the heels of losing at home to Minnesota and the Suns are 1-6-1 ATS in last eight outings. The Suns are in the midst of a makeover this season under new coach Terry Porter, who said the up-tempo style is "not to my liking" after Sunday's victory. Still, Phoenix has scored more than 100 points in 17 of its last 18 games and allowed that many in 20 of the last 23. Game time is set for 8 Eastern, with the Suns 5-13 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record this season.

Boston is an eight-point favorite with total of 203.5.

Cleveland at L.A. Lakers

The Lakers leaky defense has become a conundrum and they will look to avoid first three-game losing streak in almost a year, preparing to take on LeBron James and Cleveland. Los Angeles (31-8, 18-21 ATS) has surrendered 109.5 points per game in last seven games and they have not dropped three in a row since Jan. 23-27 of last season, which included a loss to Cleveland. "We have to back it up and stop this bleeding right now," Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. Los Angeles boasts the league's top-scoring offense at 107.6 PPG, but it may have trouble against the NBA's stingiest defense.

Cleveland (31-7) allows just 89 points a game and the Lakers are 1-8 ATS at the Staples Center after scoring 100 points or more five straight games this season. The Cavs are also tops in field goal percentage defense at 41.9 percent. Cleveland has won five in a row (4-1 ATS) over L.A. by controlling the tempo of the game, with the Lakers scoring more than 95 points just once. Cleveland is 23-2 and 20-5 ATS when they hold opposing teams to 95 or fewer points this season. Coach Mike Brown's club is superb 27-11 against the spread this year.

The Lakers are five-point favorites with total of 204, with L.A. just 11-23 ATS after two or more consecutive losses over the last three seasons. The ball goes up at 10:35 Eastern to close a great NBA day.

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