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NBA News and Notes
by Matt Fargo - 01/09/2009
The All-Star break is a month away and the Western Conference looks like it might come down to the final day of the season once again. It may be premature to say this but with eight teams within three and a half games of each other, some drama is bound to take place. It looks as though nine teams will be fighting for the eight playoff spots, similar to last season, as Memphis, Minnesota, Golden St., Los Angeles, Sacramento and Oklahoma City have already booked their April vacations.
The Eastern Conference will likely have some drama as well but not for any good reasons. Miami is sitting in the 6th spot right now but there are eight teams behind the Heat that are within six games and seven teams within three and a half games for the 8th spot that Milwaukee currently holds. Considering that Charlotte is three and a half games out of the playoffs with a 13-23 record really shows the mediocrity of the conference. Let Boston, Cleveland and Orlando play a round robin for the title and end it.
There are currently 13 teams in the league that are at .500 or better against the number. Of those 13 teams, only seven possess a straight up winning record. This may come as a surprise to many but it is basically showing that the good teams are overvalued while some of the poor teams are keeping things close. Last season, 12 teams had ATS records better than .500 and of those, nine had straight up winning records while Portland was right at .500. What is this telling us? Take a hard look at the dogs folks.
The injury to Carmelo Anthony is a major blow to the Nuggetsâ€¦or it is? They dispatched of Miami in their first game without Anthony and if there was a time for him to be out, this is the stretch for it to happen. Excluding that Miami game, eight of their next 11 games are at home which will take them though the first three days of February. That is his projected return and Denver hopes it does happen. Starting February 4th, the Nuggets start an eight-game roadtrip although all are against Eastern Conference teams.
The Clippers are cursed it seems. They brought in Baron Davis, drafted Eric Gordon and traded for Zach Randolph yet this team cannot get things going. Their current nine-game losing streak is the longest skid by any NBA team this season. Still, they have covered four of those nine games so there is some value for bettors. The Clippers were the worst covering team in the league last season with a 33-49 mark against the number. This season they are a more respectable 16-19 ATS but who knows where this team will go.
All the talk is about Boston, Cleveland and the Lakers but what about the Spurs? After a slow start of 2-5, San Antonio was being written off due to old age, and the thinking was that it could not compete with the rest of the west. Well since becoming healthy once again, the Spurs are 22-6 in their last 22 games including a 16-11-1 mark against the number. The value will be on the road going forward where they have the third best road record in the NBA at 10-5.