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cnotes
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Cnotes Monday's NBA-NHL Best Bets !

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On 03/12/2012 05:50 PM in NBA
Ok Guys and Gals The Last Two Day's a bout with the flu had kicked my butt....I thought i had escaped this winter FLU BUG.....But it got to me and put me down so its back to getting some winners......Good luck to you this evening all.......
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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03/12/2012 05:53 PM
Celtics Begin Road Trip In Los Angeles

Two former NBA championship teams looking to make moves before Thursday’s trade deadline will square off on Sunday in a nationally televised ABC matchup when the Boston Celtics visit the Los Angeles Lakers at 3:30 p.m. (ET).

While most basketball fans will be eagerly anticipating the unveiling of the NCAA tournament brackets on Selection Sunday and the real start of March Madness, the Celtics (21-18) and Lakers (24-16) are simply hoping to build off wins on Friday and improve their playoff seeding for April.

Boston bounced back from its worst loss of the season on the road against the Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia 76ers (24-17) on Wednesday, 103-71, with one of its best wins at home two days later, routing the Portland Trail Blazers in a 104-86 victory that was not even that close. The team jumped out to a 60-23 lead on the Blazers (19-21), scoring 32 of the first 38 points in the second quarter before letting their reserves play the entire fourth.

The Celtics have been playing inspired lately despite the fact that point guard Rajon Rondo has been the subject of trade rumors, winning six of seven after tying a season high with a five-game losing streak. The ‘over’ is 5-1 in their last six games as they have topped the century mark in scoring four times during that stretch.

The Lakers will be happy to be back home at Staples Center, where they have won seven in a row, capped by a 93-83 win over the Miami Heat (30-9) last Sunday on national TV. They closed a rough three-game road trip on a positive note with a 105-102 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves (21-20) following consecutive brutal losses to the Detroit Pistons (14-26) and Washington Wizards (9-29), who rallied back from a 21-point deficit in a 106-101 win on Wednesday.

Los Angeles has been abysmal away from home this season with a 7-14 record straight up and 6-15 mark against the spread. The Lakers have been as good at home as they have been bad on the road though, going 17-2 SU and 13-6 ATS. They are looking to add some backcourt help and have been mentioned as a potential suitor for Rondo, who is averaging 11.5 points and 11.3 assists in the last six games, including a pair of triple doubles.

After facing the Lakers, Boston will play its second straight game in LA on Monday against the Clippers (23-15), which will be televised on ESPN at 10:30 p.m. Like the Lakers, the Clippers will be back home at Staples Center following a long road trip that saw them go 3-3.

The highlight for the Clips was a 120-108 victory against the San Antonio Spurs (26-13) on Friday, the team’s first on the road in the series in a decade. They will be coming off a home game against the Golden State Warriors (15-21) at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday and are virtually tied with the Lakers for the lead in the Pacific.

Another key matchup on Sunday features the 76ers visiting the New York Knicks (18-22) in a clash of two teams battling for the Atlantic Division title. The game will tip off at noon and be televised on NBA-TV. Philadelphia has won two straight games at home after losing two in a row to Central foes, and is coming off a 104-91 victory against the Utah Jazz (19-20) on Friday. The Sixers are just 8-9 on the road compared to 16-8 at home.

New York has lost some of since luster since the height of the Jeremy Lin craze, returning home following a disappointing 0-4 road trip that saw them fail to cover the spread in each game. However, Lin has not been the problem, as the second-year player out of Harvard averaged 17 points and seven assists in those losses.

The Knicks have won the last three meetings with Philly and covered the past four, and they will have to hit the road again Monday for a nationally televised game against the Chicago Bulls (33-9) at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN. The Eastern Conference-leading Bulls will be coming off a home game against the Jazz on Saturday after seeing their eight-game winning streak end with a 99-94 home loss Thursday to the Orlando Magic.

Chicago All-Star forward Luol Deng is still dealing with a painful wrist injury that could sideline him again for a few games. He has a torn ligament that caused him to miss seven games earlier this year and will likely require surgery in the offseason. The Bulls are 4-3 without Deng in the lineup, going 3-4 ATS, including a 105-102 victory at New York in the last meeting on February 2.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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03/12/2012 05:56 PM
Hoop Trends - Monday

March 12, 2012

SU TREND OF THE DAY:

The Hornets are 0-11 ATS (-10.9 ppg) since April 08, 2009 at home with at most one day of rest after a win in which they scored less than 15% of their points from the free throw line.

OU TREND OF THE DAY:

The Suns are 0-10 OU (-18.3 ppg) since December 31, 2010 with at most one day of rest after a game at home in which they scored less than 15% of their points from the free throw line.

PLAYER TREND OF THE DAY:

The Timberwolves are 0-9 ATS (-5.6 ppg) since November 19, 2010 as a dog after losing the previous matchup on the road in which Kevin Love was the Timberwolves’ high scorer.

TODAY’S TRENDS:

The Clippers are 9-0 ATS (4.6 ppg) since January 29, 2011 at home after a loss in which Blake Griffin had a double double.The Suns are 9-0-2 ATS (6.0 ppg) since March 04, 2011 after winning the previous matchup in which Steve Nash had at least 10 assists.

CHOICE TREND:

The Wizards are 0-12 OU (-11.5 ppg) since January 02, 2010 after a double digit loss in which their field goal attempt per turnover ratio was at least eight.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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03/12/2012 05:56 PM
Hoop Trends - Monday

March 12, 2012

SU TREND OF THE DAY:

The Hornets are 0-11 ATS (-10.9 ppg) since April 08, 2009 at home with at most one day of rest after a win in which they scored less than 15% of their points from the free throw line.

OU TREND OF THE DAY:

The Suns are 0-10 OU (-18.3 ppg) since December 31, 2010 with at most one day of rest after a game at home in which they scored less than 15% of their points from the free throw line.

PLAYER TREND OF THE DAY:

The Timberwolves are 0-9 ATS (-5.6 ppg) since November 19, 2010 as a dog after losing the previous matchup on the road in which Kevin Love was the Timberwolves’ high scorer.

TODAY’S TRENDS:

The Clippers are 9-0 ATS (4.6 ppg) since January 29, 2011 at home after a loss in which Blake Griffin had a double double.The Suns are 9-0-2 ATS (6.0 ppg) since March 04, 2011 after winning the previous matchup in which Steve Nash had at least 10 assists.

CHOICE TREND:

The Wizards are 0-12 OU (-11.5 ppg) since January 02, 2010 after a double digit loss in which their field goal attempt per turnover ratio was at least eight.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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03/12/2012 05:59 PM
Preview: Bucks (17-24) at Nets (14-28)

Date: March 12, 2012 7:30 PM EDT

A big week by Ersan Ilyasova has given the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks a lift.

If his last visit to New Jersey was any indication, Ilyasova could be in for another big night Monday.

Ilyasova will try to help the Bucks win their 10th straight against the host Nets, who could be without Deron Williams.

Despite being seven games below .500, Milwaukee (17-24) is within one game of New York for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks (17-24) have won three of four, with the lone defeat in that span coming by two points to NBA-leading Chicago.

Ilyasova had 31 points and 12 rebounds in a 105-99 win over Toronto on Sunday - one point shy of the career high he set Wednesday in the loss to the Bulls.

The Turkish forward has averaged 29.7 points and 8.3 rebounds in his last three games, and played a career-high 44 minutes in Sunday's victory with the Bucks down to 10 healthy players.

"We were short-handed and I couldn't really get him a blow,' coach Scott Skiles said. "I had to keep him out there. He did what he's been doing all year. He made his jumper, made his shots around the basket, he was on the boards. Another productive night for him.'

Ilyasova had one of his most impressive nights against the Nets on Feb. 19, finishing with 29 points and a career-high 25 rebounds in Milwaukee's 92-85 road victory - its ninth consecutive win in this series.

If the Bucks are to make it 10 straight over the Nets, they'll probably have to do it without Shaun Livingston (sprained left ankle) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (right knee), who did not play Sunday after getting injured in Friday's win over New York. Skiles said neither Mbah a Moute nor Livingston is expected back Monday.

Stephen Jackson has been sidelined by a sore right hamstring since Feb. 19.

Although Skiles has been pleased with how Ilyasova has stepped up, Brandon Jennings - Milwaukee's leading scorer with 18.9 points per game - has been held to 11 in two of his last three contests. He shot 4 of 14 Sunday.

While the Bucks know they'll be undermanned again, the Nets (14-28) hope Williams can return after missing a 112-106 loss to Houston on Saturday due to a strained right calf. He was expected to be re-evaluated Monday and is listed as day to day.

New Jersey had won its previous two, but Gerald Green inadvertently tipped in Houston's go-ahead shot with 63 seconds left and the Nets went scoreless over the final minute.

Despite missing their leading scorer, New Jersey shot 53.1 percent and produced its most points since January. Green finished with 26 points and Marshon Brooks added 23.

"Our guys really played hard," coach Avery Johnson said. "To get six guys in double figures and shoot 53 percent from the field, that's good. It's just that our defense wasn't very good."




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  • 03/12/2012 06:03 PM
    Preview: Knicks (18-23) at Bulls (34-9)

    Date: March 12, 2012 8:00 PM EDT

    While a five-game losing streak has quieted the New York Knicks and "Linsanity", Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls haven't lost a step despite injuries.

    The Bulls hope to have at least one of three missing starters back when they host the Knicks on Monday night.

    Chicago (34-9) owns the best record in the NBA, having won nine of 10. That success is all the more impressive considering the injuries the Bulls (34-9) have sustained.

    Rose has missed 10 games this season, Luol Deng has missed eight and Richard Hamilton, expected to be a starter when he was signed in the offseason, has been limited to 16 games.

    Deng (wrist), Hamilton (shoulder) and Joakim Noah (illness) all sat out Chicago's 111-97 home win over Utah on Saturday. Of the three, Noah has the greatest chance of playing Monday.

    Despite missing the three starters - as well as key reserve C.J. Watson (sprained ankle) - the Bulls easily defeated the Jazz. Rose finished with 24 points and 13 assists while Kyle Korver, making his fifth start, shot 6 of 11 from 3-point range to finish with a season-high 26 points. He also had seven rebounds and six assists.

    "Everybody stepped up," said Carlos Boozer, who had 27 points and eight rebounds. "We've got a group of guys that believe in each other and that no matter who's out there, we can win."

    The Bulls were also without Deng and Hamilton when they defeated the Knicks 105-102 on Feb. 2 at Madison Square Garden. It's uncertain if either will be back anytime this week as Chicago opens a tough stretch with Miami visiting on Wednesday before back-to-back home games against Portland and Philadelphia.

    "We try to find a new way to answer this question every day," Korver said. "I think a couple guys might come back on Monday, but if not, we'll just keep on plugging it in."

    While the Bulls held on to beat New York last month behind 32 points and 13 assists from Rose, this will be their first time facing Jeremy Lin, who didn't appear in the first meeting.

    Lin reinvigorated the Knicks (18-23) in early February, helping lead them to seven straight wins, but he and his teammates now find themselves in the midst of a five-game losing streak, including a 106-94 home defeat to Philadelphia on Sunday.

    Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points but didn't make a field goal over the final three quarters. Lin added 14 points, but shot just 5 of 18 and had six turnovers for the Knicks, who shot 41.3 percent and trailed by as many as 21 points. They've trailed by at least 15 during each game of the losing streak.

    Coach Mike D'Antoni insisted he wasn't sending a message by sitting Anthony and Amare Stoudemire the entire fourth quarter, but a lack of energy is certainly plaguing the Knicks.

    New York is giving up an average of 110.6 points during its March skid, with the last three opponents combining to shoot 51.0 percent. Those numbers may not improve against the Bulls and Rose, who is averaging 27.0 points in his last seven games against New York.

    The losing streak has left New York just one game ahead of Milwaukee for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

    "Yeah, it's definitely not easy,' said Stoudemire, who scored 34 points against the Bulls last month. "Tough game in Chicago. A lot of games within this month against tough, competitive teams. So it's up to us as players to want to do better out there.'

    Chicago is seeking its third consecutive victory in this series.




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03/12/2012 06:01 PM
Preview: Bobcats (5-34) at Hornets (10-31)

Date: March 12, 2012 8:00 PM EDT

The New Orleans Hornets haven't had the chance to experience too many winning streaks during their difficult season.

The Hornets, though, have an excellent shot at one when they host the woeful Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night.

New Orleans (10-31) has won two or more in a row only twice this season, but has the chance for one of those rare streaks following a 95-89 victory in Minnesota on Saturday.

The Hornets had 28 assists - their second-highest total this season - while snapping a four-game skid. Chris Kaman led the way with 20 points - New Orleans is 5-0 when he hits that number - while Jarrett Jack had 17 points and a team-high seven assists.

"We're in no position to look at any win as anything other than a jewel,' coach Monty Williams said. "To come out and win on the road after a back-to-back says a lot about our young guys. We needed it, but we need them all."

Williams' team will try to sustain that momentum against the Bobcats (5-34), owners of the league's the worst record and losers of three in a row.

Charlotte suffered its first two defeats during that skid by single digits before a 122-95 drubbing at Oklahoma City on Saturday.

Looking for a positive, Bobcats coach Paul Silas pointed to a first quarter his team ended trailing by only three points. Charlotte, however, was outscored 30-15 over the next 12.

"I think if our first unit continues to play like that against most teams, that are not this good, then we will be (leading) like we were in the first quarter," Silas said.

Corey Maggette had 21 points and is averaging 23.6 over the past five games, but perhaps the most encouraging sign was D.J. Augustin's play. Augustin had a team-high 22 points, an effort the Bobcats hope is a sign of things to come after he averaged 8.8 on 33.0 percent shooting over his first 10 games back from an inflamed toe.

There's certainly plenty of room for Charlotte to improve on the road. The Bobcats have been outscored by an average of 17.3 points while going 2-19 away from home, and they've dropped their last four by an average of 26.8.

Charlotte, which hasn't faced New Orleans this season, is 1-6 in road games against that franchise and has dropped 10 of the past 13 overall matchups.

The Bobcats averaged 77.0 points in two losses to New Orleans in 2010-11, their fewest against any opponent. They scored 31 second-half points in an 89-73 loss in Louisiana on Dec. 1, 2010.

The Hornets are seeking their third win in five home games after losing 14 of their first 16, and Kaman will try to help by continuing his solid play against Charlotte. The New Orleans big man has averaged 16.0 points and 11.8 rebounds in his last four matchups with the Bobcats.

Augustin, meanwhile, has averaged 15.2 points on 53.6 percent shooting in six all-time meetings with the Hornets. Only his 15.3-point average against Cleveland is better.




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03/12/2012 06:01 PM
Preview: Bobcats (5-34) at Hornets (10-31)

Date: March 12, 2012 8:00 PM EDT

The New Orleans Hornets haven't had the chance to experience too many winning streaks during their difficult season.

The Hornets, though, have an excellent shot at one when they host the woeful Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night.

New Orleans (10-31) has won two or more in a row only twice this season, but has the chance for one of those rare streaks following a 95-89 victory in Minnesota on Saturday.

The Hornets had 28 assists - their second-highest total this season - while snapping a four-game skid. Chris Kaman led the way with 20 points - New Orleans is 5-0 when he hits that number - while Jarrett Jack had 17 points and a team-high seven assists.

"We're in no position to look at any win as anything other than a jewel,' coach Monty Williams said. "To come out and win on the road after a back-to-back says a lot about our young guys. We needed it, but we need them all."

Williams' team will try to sustain that momentum against the Bobcats (5-34), owners of the league's the worst record and losers of three in a row.

Charlotte suffered its first two defeats during that skid by single digits before a 122-95 drubbing at Oklahoma City on Saturday.

Looking for a positive, Bobcats coach Paul Silas pointed to a first quarter his team ended trailing by only three points. Charlotte, however, was outscored 30-15 over the next 12.

"I think if our first unit continues to play like that against most teams, that are not this good, then we will be (leading) like we were in the first quarter," Silas said.

Corey Maggette had 21 points and is averaging 23.6 over the past five games, but perhaps the most encouraging sign was D.J. Augustin's play. Augustin had a team-high 22 points, an effort the Bobcats hope is a sign of things to come after he averaged 8.8 on 33.0 percent shooting over his first 10 games back from an inflamed toe.

There's certainly plenty of room for Charlotte to improve on the road. The Bobcats have been outscored by an average of 17.3 points while going 2-19 away from home, and they've dropped their last four by an average of 26.8.

Charlotte, which hasn't faced New Orleans this season, is 1-6 in road games against that franchise and has dropped 10 of the past 13 overall matchups.

The Bobcats averaged 77.0 points in two losses to New Orleans in 2010-11, their fewest against any opponent. They scored 31 second-half points in an 89-73 loss in Louisiana on Dec. 1, 2010.

The Hornets are seeking their third win in five home games after losing 14 of their first 16, and Kaman will try to help by continuing his solid play against Charlotte. The New Orleans big man has averaged 16.0 points and 11.8 rebounds in his last four matchups with the Bobcats.

Augustin, meanwhile, has averaged 15.2 points on 53.6 percent shooting in six all-time meetings with the Hornets. Only his 15.3-point average against Cleveland is better.




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03/12/2012 06:07 PM
Preview: Wizards (9-30) at Spurs (26-13)

Date: March 12, 2012 8:30 PM EDT

Since wrapping up one of the best road trips in NBA history, the San Antonio Spurs have struggled at the AT&T Center.

A game against the Washington Wizards should help, especially with Tony Parker back on the court.

Coming off a disappointing loss without Parker, the Southwest Division-leading Spurs look to continue their dominance over the Wizards on Monday night.

San Antonio (26-13) went 8-1 on a trip leading into the All-Star break establishing an NBA record for wins on a nine-game trip, but it has dropped three of five upon its return. Its two wins have come over Charlotte, owner of the league's worst record, and slumping New York.

Parker had 32 points in Wednesday's 118-105 win over the Knicks, but played through a strained right quadriceps and a bothersome right calf. Gregg Popovich decided to give Parker the night off Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers, and Chris Paul and company took advantage.

Paul had 36 points and the Clippers shot 51.2 percent and made 14 of 27 3-pointers in handing the Spurs a 120-108 loss.

"We always say we're a defensive team, but there was just no way (Friday),' said Manu Ginobili, who had a team-best 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting in his third game back from a strained stomach muscle. "They beat us in every aspect.'

Popovich conceded that Parker could've played if needed, but he chose to give him some extra time off. The four-time All-Star, who averages team highs of 19.5 points and 7.9 assists, will return Monday for the Spurs, who conclude a seven-game homestand Wednesday against Orlando before hitting the road for a difficult two-game trip versus Oklahoma City and Dallas.

"We want to take care of home court and we've given some games away," said Parker, who combined for 38 points and 22 assists in last season's two wins over the Wizards. "It would be nice to finish strong."

San Antonio should be able to bounce back against Washington (9-30), which has lost four straight road games and is 3-14 away from the nation's capital.

The Spurs have won 11 straight over the Wizards by an average of 17.7 points since a 110-95 loss in Washington on Nov. 12, 2005. They've also won the last 11 meetings in San Antonio since a 99-89 loss Dec. 11, 1999.

Washington arrives in San Antonio to open a season-high six-game road trip after losing to Portland 110-99 on Saturday. The Wizards were coming off an encouraging 106-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday and were trying to win back-to-back games for just the second time this season. Their defense, however, failed to slow the Trail Blazers, who shot 51.3 percent.

"We couldn't get stops together when we needed to,' Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We've got to become more committed defensively as a group. You've got to be able in that fourth quarter to put two, three, four stops in a row together to get over that hump.'

Washington has lost eight of 10, allowing an average of 110.8 points in those defeats.

John Wall, who averages a team-best 17.4 points, scored 25 Saturday after finishing with four points on 1-of-8 shooting against the Lakers. As a rookie last season, Wall combined for 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting in the games versus San Antonio.


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03/12/2012 06:09 PM
Preview: Pistons (15-26) at Jazz (19-21)

Date: March 12, 2012 9:00 PM EDT

After a miserable start to this season, the Detroit Pistons have quietly moved into contention for a playoff berth. A grueling stretch over the next 19 days might determine whether they can remain competitive in that race.

Detroit will play its next 10 games in 10 different cities beginning with Monday night's visit to the Utah Jazz, who haven't lost a home game to the Pistons in nearly a decade.

Detroit (15-26) opened its first season under coach Lawrence Frank by losing 20 of 24 but has won 11 of 17 heading into Monday's game. That stretch has helped the Pistons draw within three games of eighth-place New York in the Eastern Conference.

Detroit recorded its third straight win, one shy of matching a season high, with a 105-86 victory over visiting Toronto on Saturday. After winning the first two games of its streak by a combined four points, the Pistons had six players score in double figures and shot 52.7 percent against the Raptors.

Rodney Stuckey led the way with 20 points and has averaged 22.8 on 51.9 percent shooting over the past five games.

He'll try to continue that success in the opener of a season-high, five-game trip. The Pistons return home March 23 to face Miami and head out for four more road games March 24-30.

Detroit is 3-15 on the road, where it has lost three straight.

"We've been playing really good basketball. We've got to continue to keep playing like that," Stuckey told the team's official website. "It'll be a test, but I think we're up for the challenge."

The Pistons usually haven't been ready to play in Utah, having dropped 19 of 21 there dating back to the start of the 1989-90 season. They have also lost in their last eight visits but suffered a close defeat in their previous trip to Salt Lake City on Jan. 3, 2011.

Tayshaun Prince had 26 points in that game but the Jazz had six in double figures during a 102-97 victory. One of those players was Raja Bell, who scored five points over the final minute.

Bell also scored in double figures in Detroit on Feb. 26, 2011, but couldn't prevent the Pistons from ending an 11-game skid in the series. Stuckey had 28 points and made a key steal in the final minute to lead his team to a 120-116 win.

Paul Millsap had a team-best 23 points for Utah in that game and led the way with 26 in Chicago on Saturday. However, he couldn't keep the Jazz from suffering a second straight defeat, 111-97, to end its five-game trip with a 2-3 record.

"They're just a better basketball team," Millsap said. "Their defensive philosophy, they get at it, they stick to what they do. Offensively, they set screens for each other, help each other out. Things we want to get to for the future."

Starting guard Devin Harris missed that game with a stomach virus and Bell was away for undisclosed reasons. Coach Tyrone Corbin deemed it "an internal matter" and hoped to resolve it soon.

While that gets sorted out, the Jazz (19-21) will try to make a push in the West playoff race. They'll face three sub-.500 opponents over the next four games and play three of four at home, where they're 14-6.

Utah will try to get some help from Millsap to get that stretch off to a strong start. The forward has averaged 18.7 points on 67.7 percent shooting (21 of 31) and 10.0 rebounds over the last three games against Detroit.



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03/12/2012 06:11 PM
Preview: Timberwolves (21-21) at Suns (19-21)

Date: March 12, 2012 10:00 PM EDT

The Minnesota Timberwolves' first game without Ricky Rubio didn't evoke much optimism.

It's not going to get any easier as the Timberwolves embark on a season-high seven-game road trip Monday night against a surging Phoenix Suns team that has won nine straight in the series.

With Rubio and All-Star Kevin Love leading the way, it appeared Minnesota (21-21) could earn its first playoff berth since 2004. It entered Friday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers tied with Houston for eighth place in the Western Conference, but its playoff hopes now appear grim.

Rubio's left knee buckled with 16 seconds remaining in the 105-102 loss to the Lakers, and a day later an MRI confirmed that the point guard tore his ACL and is done for the season. The 21-year-old was averaging 10.6 points, 8.2 assists and was third in the league with 2.2 steals per game.

With its floor leader sidelined, Minnesota's playoff push didn't get off to an encouraging start.

Hosting New Orleans on Saturday, the Timberwolves committed 17 turnovers - their most in eight games - and shot 21.7 percent from 3-point range (5 of 23) in suffering a 95-89 loss to the West's worst team.

"It's like we reverted back to a long time ago,' coach Rick Adelman said. "We're not going to get it done that way.'

Kevin Love returned after missing the Laker game because of back spasms and finished with 31 points and 16 rebounds, while Nikola Pekovic had 21 points and 11 boards, but Minnesota's new backcourt starter struggled.

Martell Webster started at shooting guard while Luke Ridnour moved from off the ball to start at the point. Ridnour finished with 14 points and 10 assists but Webster had two points on 1-of-5 shooting.

"We can't feel sorry for ourselves," said Love, who is averaging 35.3 points and 14.8 rebounds in his last four games. "We got to accept it and move on."

That could be tough with the Timberwolves on the road until returning to host Denver on March 25.

"I hate to put more pressure on us," Love said, "but this is make or break time."

Minnesota begins its trek against the Suns (19-21), whose current five-game home winning streak began with a 104-95 victory over the Timberwolves on March 1. Minnesota has been outscored by an average of 13.7 points in losing nine straight to the Suns since a 105-103 win Jan. 16, 2009, their lone victory in the last 11 meetings in Phoenix.

Last week's meeting featured the anticipated matchup between Rubio and two-time MVP Steve Nash.

The 38-year-old Nash outplayed the flashy rookie, finishing with 13 points, matching a season high with 17 assists and leading his team with eight rebounds. Another veteran paced the Suns, as 39-year-old Grant Hill scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half.

Rubio finished with 13 points and two assists, while Love had 23 points but missed 17 of 25 shots

The Suns are coming off Saturday's 98-91 win over Memphis, their fifth victory in six games. Jared Dudley scored 19 points to lead six scorers in double figures as the Suns came back from 11 down. They've faced double-digit deficits in each of their last five wins.

"I think we're adjusting as the game goes along and finding ways to get ourselves going and usually someone gives us a lift,' said Nash, who had 11 points and 15 assists.




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