cnotes Posts:31610 Followers:37
01/04/2014 02:59 PM


Oklahoma City at Minnesota
The Thunder try to snap a 2-game losing streak as they face a Minnesota team that is coming off a 124-112 win over New Orleans and is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games following a SU victory of more than 10 points. Oklahoma City is the pick (+2) according to Dunkel, which has the Thunder favored by 6 1/2. Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma City (+2). Here are all of today's picks.


Game 501-502: Miami at Orlando (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Miami 121.037; Orlando 118.706
Dunkel Line & Total: Miami by 2 1/2; 207
Vegas Line & Total: Miami by 9 1/2; 200 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Orlando (+9 1/2); Over

Game 503-504: New Orleans at Indiana (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New Orleans 117.217; Indiana 130.620
Dunkel Line & Total: Indiana by 13 1/2; 188
Vegas Line & Total: Indiana by 11; 193
Dunkel Pick: Indiana (-11); Under

Game 505-506: Cleveland at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Cleveland 114.002; Brooklyn 119.090
Dunkel Line & Total: Brooklyn by 5; 197
Vegas Line & Total: Brooklyn by 8 1/2; 193
Dunkel Pick: Cleveland (+8 1/2); Over

Game 507-508: Atlanta at Chicago (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Atlanta 119.268; Chicago 120.252
Dunkel Line & Total: Chicago by 1; 182
Vegas Line & Total: Chicago by 5; 189
Dunkel Pick: Atlanta (+5); Under

Game 509-510: Oklahoma City at Minnesota (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oklahoma City 129.115; Minnesota 122.379
Dunkel Line & Total: Oklahoma City by 6 1/2; 213
Vegas Line & Total: Minnesota by 2; 208
Dunkel Pick: Oklahoma City (+2); Over

Game 511-512: LA Clippers at San Antonio (8:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: LA Clippers 122.608; San Antonio 122.973
Dunkel Line & Total: Even; 202
Vegas Line & Total: San Antonio by 8; 206 1/2
Dunkel Pick: LA Clippers (+8); Under

Game 513-514: Milwaukee at Phoenix (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Milwaukee 110.530; Phoenix 124.555
Dunkel Line & Total: Phoenix by 14; 207
Vegas Line & Total: Phoenix by 9; 200
Dunkel Pick: Phoenix (-9); Over

Game 515-516: Philadelphia at Portland (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Philadelphia 112.766; Portland 121.355
Dunkel Line & Total: Portland by 8 1/2; 222
Vegas Line & Total: Portland by 13; 225
Dunkel Pick: Philadelphia (+13); Under

Game 517-518: Charlotte at Sacramento (10:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Charlotte 111.842; Sacramento 120.115
Dunkel Line & Total: Sacramento by 8 1/2; 206
Vegas Line & Total: Sacramento by 5; 200 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Sacramento (-5); Over

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:31610 Followers:37
01/04/2014 02:59 PM

Short Sheet

Saturday, January 4

Miami at Orlando, 7:05 ET
Miami: 17-6 ATS after 3 consecutive non-conference games
Orlando: 1-6 ATS after 2 or more consecutive unders

New Orleans at Indiana, 7:05 ET
New Orleans: 8-1 OVER after a non-conference game
Indiana: 24-7 ATS off a road loss

Cleveland at Brooklyn, 7:35 ET
Cleveland: 3-12 ATS after having lost 2 of their last 3 games
Brooklyn: 12-7 ATS revenging a straight up loss vs opponent as a favorite

Atlanta at Chicago, 8:05 ET
Atlanta: 10-2 ATS
Chicago: 1-5 ATS after playing 2 consecutive home games

Oklahoma City at Minnesota, 8:05 ET
Oklahoma City: 47-25 ATS off a home loss
Minnesota: 17-6 UNDER in a home game where the total is 200 to 209.5

LA Clippers at San Antonio, 8:35 ET
LA Clippers: 54-89 ATS after allowing 60 points or more in the first half last game
San Antonio: 11-1 ATS off a home loss

Milwaukee at Phoenix, 9:05 ET
Milwaukee: 1-5 ATS when playing 6 or less games in 14 days
Phoenix: 11-3 ATS after playing a home game

Philadelphia at Portland, 10:05 ET
Philadelphia: 58-34 ATS as an underdog of 10 or more points
Portland: 1-10 ATS after a game where opponent was called for 13 or less fouls

Charlotte at Sacramento, 10:05 ET
Charlotte: 9-31 ATS in non-conference games
Sacramento: 24-9 ATS at home after a game wh

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:31610 Followers:37
01/04/2014 03:06 PM


50 - 34..........................*****

16 - 13..........................DOUBLE PLAYS

17 - 8 - 1.......................TRIPLE PLAYS


January's Record

*****............. 3 - 3


TRIPLE PLAYS.....1 - 2

Saturday, January 4

Game Score Status Pick Amount

New Orleans - 7:00 PM ET New Orleans +11.5 500
Indiana - Over 192.5 500

Miami - 7:00 PM ET Miami -9 500 *****
Orlando - Under 199 500

Cleveland - 7:30 PM ET Brooklyn -6.5 500
Brooklyn - Over 193.5 500

Atlanta - 8:00 PM ET Chicago -5 500 TRIPLE PLAY
Chicago - Under 191 500

Oklahoma City - 8:00 PM ET Oklahoma City +2 500
Minnesota - Over 208 500

L.A. Clippers - 8:30 PM ET L.A. Clippers +9 500
San Antonio - Over 205.5 500

Milwaukee - 9:00 PM ET Phoenix -8 500 TRIPLE PLAY
Phoenix - Over 198 500

Philadelphia - 10:00 PM ET Portland -12.5 500
Portland - Over 224 500 DOUBLE PLAY

Charlotte - 10:00 PM ET Charlotte +5 500 DOUBLE PLAY
Sacramento - Over 199 500

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:31610 Followers:37
01/05/2014 11:46 AM

Preview: Grizzlies (14-18) at Pistons (14-19)

Date: January 05, 2014 1:00 PM EDT

If the Detroit Pistons are going to end a three-game losing streak, they need to beat a team they've had no success against since 2009.

Though the Memphis Grizzlies have just about matched the Pistons' futility this season, they'll be going for their ninth straight win against them Sunday in Detroit.

The Pistons (14-19) are also out to end a four-game home skid after closing 2013 on Monday with a 106-99 loss to Washington at the Palace of Auburn Hills. They were outscored 28-12 in the fourth quarter, marking the third time in their last four at home that they've let a lead slip away in the final period.

"We had a nice game going for about three and a half quarters," coach Maurice Cheeks said. "In the fourth quarter, we just got stagnant. We didn't keep playing the way we had played for those three quarters. They ran pick-and-roll; they kept scoring. We didn't keep scoring for whatever reason."

Forward Greg Monroe led the Pistons with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while center Andre Drummond scored 16 and pulled down 16 boards.

Detroit fell to 6-11 at home and had five days off to think about getting things right as it opens the new year with what appears to be a favorable stretch. After hosting the Grizzlies (14-18), the Pistons - a surprising 8-8 on the road - travel to New York, Toronto and Philadelphia.

But after the loss to the Wizards, Cheeks said that kind of mentality is what got the Pistons in trouble when their current skid started in Orlando on Dec. 27.

"We weren't in a position to think about a team with a lesser record that we're going to have a letdown," he said. "We talked about that in Orlando. We're not in that position to think like that. Maybe these five days are coming at a time when we can sit back and relax and work on some things that we need to work on and just try to get ourselves better over these next few days and go from there."

Against Washington, Detroit's league-worst free-throw shooting (66.5 percent) was again one of its biggest problems. The Pistons went 21 of 35 from the line and are shooting 62.6 percent over a 1-5 stretch.

Likewise, hitting just one more from the stripe in regulation in a 111-108 overtime loss at Memphis on Nov. 1 could have snapped Detroit's losing streak to the Grizzlies. The Pistons, who led 75-70 early in the fourth, went 17 for 24 from the line in the loss.

Guard Rodney Stuckey scored 19 points off the bench in that contest, though he missed Monday's game with a shoulder injury and was limited in practice late this week.

Memphis continues to struggle without center Marc Gasol, who has been out since suffering a sprained MCL on Nov. 22 against San Antonio. The Grizzlies were 7-5 with him and had won four straight before the injury. Including the loss to the Spurs, they're 7-13 without the reigning defensive player of the year after falling 111-108 Friday in Denver.

"We didn't guard well," Memphis coach David Joerger said. "They got the loose balls. They got the offensive rebounds and we didn't convert on fast breaks. We gave up too many easy baskets."

Forward Zach Randolph had 25 points and 13 rebounds, and guard Mike Conley scored 23 with eight assists. Conley scored 22 in the win over the Pistons earlier this season, and he's shooting 63.6 percent in his last three games against them.

The Grizzlies are 7-4 on the road since losing their first three away from home this season.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:31610 Followers:37
01/05/2014 11:47 AM

Preview: Raptors (16-15) at Heat (25-8)

Date: January 05, 2014 6:00 PM EDT

The Miami Heat may own 13 straight wins over the Toronto Raptors, but they know two November victories in the series don't mean much now.

The Heat will be out to end the new-look Raptors' five-game win streak Sunday night at home.

LeBron James combined for 62 points on 62.2 percent shooting in road wins over Toronto (16-15) two months ago.

The Raptors are a different team now as winners of nine of 11 since Dec. 13 - the date when the majority of the players acquired from Sacramento in the Rudy Gay deal made their club debuts.

"We've been noticing," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. "They've been playing very good basketball. We mentioned that about the Eastern Conference. It is way too premature to figure out where teams are. There are teams that have higher ceilings, and they're one of them."

Toronto used to employ Gay primarily to defend James. With the swingman gone, coach Dwane Casey named more than half of his roster when asked who he would use Sunday, and even made a reference to a position that doesn't exist in a reference to James.

"They've got a power forward that's really a point guard, two-guard, three-guard all in one so you've got to do some special things to try to contain him," Casey said.

Miami (25-8) could be without starting forward Shane Battier, who sat out Saturday's 110-94 victory at Orlando to rest a sore quadriceps. Rashard Lewis replaced him in his first start since Nov. 27, and scored a season-high 18.

"We're a veteran team and I'm used to it after playing last year. You just have to be mentally ready to go when your name is called upon," Lewis said. "With the type of team we have you might play 20 minutes and you might play 5 minutes. You've just got to be ready."

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh each scored 20 points and James added 15 with eight rebounds and eight assists.

Bosh, who made all nine shots from the field Saturday, is 8-0 in the games he has played against his former team. He missed the season's first meeting and scored four points for his worst output against Toronto in a 90-83 victory Nov. 29.

The forward is averaging 20.6 points on 58.0 percent shooting in his last 11 games.

Fatigue shouldn't be a factor for Miami, with no player reaching 36 minutes in Orlando. The Heat are 4-1 in the second half of back-to-back games.

The Raptors last won six in a row March 22-April 4, 2009. DeMar DeRozan is averaging 20.4 points during this win streak while Kyle Lowry is averaging 18.4 points and 10.6 assists.

Toronto, which hasn't defeated Miami since Jan. 27, 2010, is limiting foes to an average of 86.4 points in its last five games compared to 99.4 before the win streak.

"It's fun winning," forward Amir Johnson said. "Pretty much nobody has no worries, everybody's just on a cloud right now having fun, winning games. It's almost starting to feel kind of natural."

The Raptors held John Wall to 11 points to key Friday's 101-88 win at Washington. DeRozan scored 20 and Lowry had 19 and 11 assists.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:31610 Followers:37
01/05/2014 11:48 AM

Preview: Warriors (22-13) at Wizards (14-16)

Date: January 05, 2014 6:00 PM EDT

Coach Mark Jackson believes the Golden State Warriors have the potential to be great, and it's difficult to argue the point with the team on the verge of its longest winning streak in over 38 years.

The Warriors seek their ninth consecutive victory as they continue their road trip against the struggling Washington Wizards on Sunday night.

Trailing by 15 with 6:48 remaining Friday at Atlanta, Golden State (22-13) stormed back and stunned the Hawks 101-100 on Andre Iguodala's 3-pointer as time expired.

The Warriors, who have won the first four on their seven-game trip and five straight away from home overall, were coming off a 123-114 victory over Miami the previous night.

Golden State hasn't won nine straight since a 10-game run from Dec. 6-23, 1975, and it hasn't won six consecutive road games since March 12-April 6, 2005.

"Great teams don't make excuses. And we're trying to become great, which makes me even more proud of them," Jackson said. "They could have easily said, 'We're 3-0 on this trip, we lost to the Hawks after a big win last night.' But this team has no quit. They are high character (guys), they enjoy one another, and when you do the right things, great things happen."

David Lee scored a game-high 23 points, Stephen Curry added 22 despite shooting 1 of 7 from 3-point range, and Klay Thompson finished with 21 for the Warriors, who haven't lost since falling to San Antonio on a last-second shot Dec. 19.

"We have a lot of confidence. When we were down no one was panicking or quitting on the game," said Curry, who scored 36 points the previous night. "So for us to make the plays down the stretch, get the stops and get the rebounds to give ourselves a shot, and then Andre taking over, that's a credit to every single guy on the floor."

Curry scored 35 points as the Warriors beat Washington 101-92 in the most recent meeting March 23, marking their fifth straight victory in the series.

The Wizards (14-16) have dropped five of six at home after losing 101-88 to Toronto on Friday, a result that left the crowd booing and coach Randy Wittman fuming.

"More selfish play than we've had. We can't play that way. We've proven over the last couple years we can't play that way," Wittman said. "Getting concerned with, `Why am I coming out? How many minutes am I getting? How many shots am I getting?' Rather than: `What is the team doing?' ... We're not good enough to do it that way."

John Wall had averaged 22.8 points over his previous eight games, but he shot 4 of 15 from the field and finished with 11 points Friday. He disagreed with Wittman's assessment.

"I don't see that at all. I think we're playing the right way," Wall said. "We tried to do the right thing, but shots weren't falling. We didn't have enough space. You couldn't penetrate if you wanted to. You couldn't get open shots."

Forward Trevor Booker then disagreed with Wall.

"At times, it looked like we didn't want to play," said Booker, who had eight points and 13 rebounds. "It's pretty embarrassing, especially when they started booing us."

The Wizards, who have shot only 39.4 percent over their last two games, have lost three straight home meetings with Golden State.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:31610 Followers:37
01/05/2014 11:49 AM

Preview: Pacers (26-6) at Cavaliers (11-22)

Date: January 05, 2014 6:00 PM EDT

The Indiana Pacers beat the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this week, but losing Kyrie Irving may have been an even greater blow.

Irving's status may not matter in another meeting.

The Pacers look to continue their dominance over the Cavaliers on Sunday night, while Irving is uncertain to play.

Indiana (26-6) owns the best record in the NBA, and that includes two wins over Cleveland (11-22).

The Pacers cruised to a 91-76 win in the latest matchup on New Year's Eve, but the Cavaliers lost Irving in the third quarter to a bruised left knee.

Irving - the Cavs leader with averages of 22.2 points and 6.1 assists - has missed two games since, and it's unclear if he'll be back Sunday. He scored 17.4 points per game in seven career meetings with Indiana.

Irving's status may not matter since the Pacers have won eight straight games in the series while allowing an average of 85.6 points and 38.8 percent shooting - 26.2 from beyond the arc. They've also won 14 of the last 15 between the teams.

The Pacers have thrived on their suffocating defensive play, allowing an NBA-low average of 88.9 points while limiting opponents to 41.3 percent from the field. That has continued in winning six of their last seven games, holding opponents to 84.3 points per game and 40.8 percent shooting - including 28.5 percent from 3-point range.

The Pacers extended that stretch after a slow start Saturday, beating New Orleans 99-82 after falling behind by 14 points early.

"We knew eventually that the shots we were going to fall," said Paul George, who had 24 points and 10 rebounds. "We just play so well defensively, we know that's going to keep us in the game. We just stuck to our defense."

George's production usually helps. The guard is averaging a career-high 23.5 points, but had 21 against the Cavaliers on Tuesday and has averaged 19.0 points on 35.1 percent shooting the last three games.

Roy Hibbert had 19 points in the win over Cleveland, but he managed six while missing 5 of 7 attempts from the field Saturday.

Cleveland has dropped seven of eight games while averaging 93.8 points. The Cavaliers missed Irving on Saturday, when they hit just 36.7 percent of their field goals in a 89-82 defeat at Brooklyn.

"He's our best player, especially when it comes to scoring the basketball. So you miss his 22 points a game," coach Mike Brown said. "But I give our guys credit. They competed in the second half. We had a chance to win it. We took the lead, we just couldn't hold on.

"You miss a guy of his capabilities especially down the stretch in situations like this."

Dion Waiters is looking for some consistency after scoring 26 points while connecting on 9-of-18 shots against the Nets. The second-year guard hit 31.3 percent of his shots while averaging 13.5 points over the four previous games.

He's averaged 11.0 points in four meetings with the Pacers.

C.J. Miles had 19 points and eight rebounds Saturday, but he had only five points on New Year's Eve.

Irving also sat out a 111-90 home loss to Indiana on March 18 due to a shoulder injury as Miles had 21 points, but Waiters was held to four.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:31610 Followers:37
01/05/2014 11:50 AM

Preview: Celtics (13-20) at Thunder (26-7)

Date: January 05, 2014 7:00 PM EDT

The Oklahoma City Thunder haven't dropped three straight regular-season home games since their first season in town after moving from Seattle.

The Thunder will be favored to avoid such a fate Sunday night, but there are signs that this matchup with the Boston Celtics might be tougher than expected.

Oklahoma City (26-7) avoided a third straight loss overall Saturday by rallying from 13 down in the fourth quarter for a 115-111 win at Minnesota. The Thunder fell 98-94 at home to Portland on Tuesday and 95-93 to Brooklyn two days later.

The last time the club lost three straight at home was during the 23-59 season in 2008-09. It has been a contender ever since.

One problem Sunday for the Thunder is that they are 1-3 in the second half of back-to-back contests. And although it doesn't seem that the lowly Celtics (13-20) have any similarities with the Kevin Durant-led Thunder, that isn't totally the case.

Boston is among the league leaders in limiting opponents to 32.5 percent on 3-pointers, with Oklahoma City not far behind at 33.0.

This matchup features teams that lead the NBA in field goal percentage from between 10-14 feet. The Celtics were shooting a league-best 47.0 percent from that range with the Thunder second at 45.4 entering play Saturday.

That figure for Oklahoma City is deceiving since the injured Russell Westbrook shoots at 47.1 percent from that range.

One mistake the Celtics do not want to make is to talk trash late in the game to Durant, who responded with 23 of his season-high 48 points in the fourth quarter to key Saturday's win after the Timberwolves apparently ran their mouths.

"I just hear a lot of stuff and I just wanted to come through for my team in the fourth quarter," said Durant, averaging 7.2 points in that period.

He'll have to make sure he has something left for Sunday since he is averaging 23.8 points on 42.2 percent shooting in the second half of back-to-backs. Those figures are at 29.2 and 49.7 for the season.

The rebuilding Celtics are losers of six of seven with three of those defeats coming by three points or fewer, including Friday's 95-92 defeat to New Orleans.

"Yeah, it's frustrating, three one-point losses in the last three weeks," coach Brad Stevens said. "So that's a hard thing to swallow, but at the same time it's not like they're laying down."

Boston has dropped 17 of its last 19 road games against Western Conference foes, including all four this season. This is the start of a five-game West trip.

"You can't dwell on the past, we are headed on a five or six-game road trip," forward Gerald Wallace said. "We just got to try to figure out what's the problem and move forward."

The Celtics are led by former Thunder forward Jeff Green, averaging a team-best 15.8 points but just 11.9 on 37.1 percent shooting in his last nine games.

Green made 2 of 11 shots for eight points in his lone trip to Oklahoma City as a visitor, a 91-79 loss March 10. The Celtics have lost four of the last five meetings.

New England sports fans may be familiar with Westbrook's replacement, Reggie Jackson. The third-year Boston College product is averaging 11.4 points on 36.5 percent shooting along with 5.2 assists per game in the last five as a starter.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:31610 Followers:37
01/05/2014 11:51 AM

Preview: Knicks (10-22) at Mavericks (19-14)

Date: January 05, 2014 7:30 PM EDT

Poor play at the end of games has been a regular obstacle for the New York Knicks, as was clearly the case in their last contest.

As they visit a Dallas Mavericks team which had the same problem, the Knicks will look to move past those issues Sunday night and continue what their coach believes has been improved play recently.

New York was in a tie game Friday at Houston with 19 seconds left when J.R. Smith attempted a 3-pointer despite the shot clock being off. He missed and Beno Udrih unnecessarily fouled Aaron Brooks on the rebound, allowing the Rockets guard to hit the go-ahead free throws and help hand the Knicks a 102-100 defeat.

Smith said he took the shot not because he was open, but because he didn't realize what the score was at the time.

"Honestly, I thought we were down two. I shot the ball and I started hearing Tyson (Chandler) saying 'no, no don't take it,' but by that time, it was already released," said Smith, who was 1 of 8 from 3-point range. "It was just a bad shot, or a good shot, but bad timing. I realized as soon as we got the foul that the score was 100 to 100 and it was just bad basketball IQ on me."

It was similar to a game in Milwaukee on Dec. 18, when Andrea Bargnani tried a 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds left and New York up two points in overtime. The Bucks would force a second overtime, but the Knicks won that game.

New York (10-22) shoots 36.6 percent in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter, which ranks among the worst in the league. The Knicks were 1 for 7 during that span versus Houston and outscored 29-19 in the fourth.

"We're playing a lot better now and that's promising and a good sign," coach Mike Woodson said. "I like the way we're competing and if we stay at this level, we'll be in a lot of games and we just have to figure out how to win them down the stretch, if they're close."

Dallas (19-14) also had end-of-game struggles Friday. The Mavericks led by as many as 13 against the Los Angeles Clippers and by seven with four minutes to play but lost 119-112. Dirk Nowitzki overcame an ankle injury to score 24 points and Shawn Marion added 20, but it was not enough, as the Clippers ended the game on a 16-2 run.

"Defensively, they went right through us. Offensively, without getting stops, the shots got harder," coach Rick Carlisle said of the team's late-game struggles. "It's on every one of us — the coaches and players — and it's very disappointing."

Dallas has lost three straight home games, allowing an average of 114.7 points, after winning 11 of their first 13.

However, the Mavericks have won 12 of their last 13 home games against New York, including three straight.

They'll be wary of Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, who has posted the highest-scoring games of his career through two stops on the team's Texas road trip. He had 27 points in Thursday's win at San Antonio, scored 26 on Friday and went a combined 12 for 14 from 3-point range. Shumpert was 6 of 31 from beyond the arc in his previous 12 games while averaging 3.5 points.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:31610 Followers:37
01/05/2014 11:52 AM

Preview: Nuggets (15-17) at Lakers (14-19)

Date: January 05, 2014 9:30 PM EDT

Strong offensive performances helped both the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers end their lengthy losing streaks.

Now only one of the struggling Western Conference teams can continue trending in the right direction Sunday night when the Nuggets visit Staples Center seeking their fifth straight win over the Lakers.

Denver (15-17) had its best shooting night in a month Friday to snap an eight-game skid, hitting 53.8 percent from the field in a 111-108 home win over Memphis. The Nuggets had shot 41.5 percent and averaged 93.4 points in their previous 14 - a 3-11 stretch.

"It's wonderful, a wonderful feeling," forward Kenneth Faried told the team's official website. "We got the monkey off our back, and we can't put it back on. I think we stopped playing so tight, nervous and hesitant. We just came out and hooped."

After shooting a combined 36.4 percent in their last two games, the Lakers (14-19) broke out in similar fashion Friday against Utah to end their losing streak at six. They shot 51.9 percent in a 110-99 home win over the Jazz.

Banged-up Los Angeles did it with its 18th starting five and sixth different starting point guard as coach Mike D'Antoni gave Kendall Marshall his first nod since he was signed from the D-League on Dec. 20. Marshall didn't disappoint with 20 points and 15 assists, both career highs after spending his rookie campaign with Phoenix last season.

"Everything happens for a reason, so I'm thankful for the position I'm in right now and I want to make the most of it with this team," Marshall said.

Pau Gasol had a similarly impressive double-double with 23 points and a season-high 17 rebounds.

Marshall got the start after the Lakers again lost Jordan Farmar for at least four weeks with a torn left hamstring. Farmar had started the last four games after missing 10 with another tear in the same hamstring.

The injury report also includes Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (elbow) and Xavier Henry (knee). They'll all be out against Denver, while forward Wesley Johnson is questionable with an illness.

With players expected to return throughout the month and into early February, D'Antoni is hoping Marshall, Gasol and the rest of the healthy cast can keep the Lakers afloat.

"It seems like when Kobe comes back, we're going to have a lot of guys coming back. ..." D'Antoni said. "Hopefully we can stay within striking distance to at least give ourselves a chance going down the stretch and try to salvage the season."

The Nuggets' recent personnel issues have had more to do with internal strife than injuries. Backup point guard Andre Miller is on personal leave after a verbal confrontation with coach Brian Shaw and won't return to the team until Monday.

Snapping the losing streak seems to have calmed some of the tension.

"It was a feeling we needed to get, especially in light of everything that's been going on with us," Shaw said. "Now we have something we can build on. As easy as it was for us to string together eight losses in a row, if we play the right way, we come with that kind of energy and continue to improve, we can string together eight wins in a row."

Starting point guard Ty Lawson had 18 points and 12 assists in the win over Memphis. He's averaged 19.8 points and 9.8 assists during the team's win streak against the Lakers.

Gasol led all scorers with 25 points in the Lakers' 111-99 loss in Denver on Nov. 13.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: