College basketball’s March Madness is underway, but we’re tracking two big stories in the NBA and also looking ahead to an 11-game slate on Friday night.
There’s been a major ‘over’ trend the last eight days at 49-20 (71 percent), with offense way up to 100.7 PPG. That includes going 10-2 on Wednesday with all Thursday games pending. The ‘under’ is still at 51.8 percent for the year.
The NBA trade deadline was Thursday afternoon (3:00 p.m. (ET), and the latest news has Orlando’s Dwight Howard waiving his early termination clause and committing to the team for next season. The Magic have a home game with New Jersey on Friday night and should have a huge burst of energy with Howard still on the roster.
Here’s a look at some other important Friday games, highlighted by a Western Conference showdown between the Spurs and Thunder.
Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers
7:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
The Heat (31-11 SU, 20-22 ATS) lost 106-102 at Chicago on Wednesday night even with Derrick Rose out injured. They’ve now failed to cover in 4-straight games and are also 0-4 SU and ATS in their last four away. Miami has little scoring depth outside of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and really struggle when one has an off-night.
Philadelphia (25-18 SU, 23-19-1 ATS) had a 3-game win and cover streak broken Wednesday at Indiana (111-94 loss). Evan Turner moved into the starting lineup recently and has been on fire the last four games (21.8 PPG). Team offense has similarly jumped over that span (101.8 PPG), with the ‘over’ 3-0 in the last three.
Miami has won and covered both meetings this year after dispatching the 76ers in the playoffs last season (five games). They last met in Philly on Feb. 3, 99-79 Miami win as 2-point favorites.
Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks
7:30 p.m. (ET) on Regional Broadcasts
The Pacers (25-16 SU, 20-21 ATS) have looked good in their last two games, home wins and covers over Portland (92-75) and Philadelphia (111-94). However, they’ve struggled on the road for over a month, going 2-6 SU and 3-5 ATS, with really tough opponents in Chicago, Miami and Orlando the last three. This will be another tough one Friday night.
The Knicks (19-24 SU and ATS) looked great in their first game after the resignation of coach Mike D’Antoni, replaced by interim coach Mike Woodson. That was a 121-79 Wednesday laugher over struggling Portland, snapping a 6-game losing streak (1-5 ATS). It also increased the ‘over’ streak to five for New York.
This is the first meeting between the teams this year. The underdog is 10-1 ATS in the last 11 and the ‘under’ 4-1 in the last five. Indiana is also 8-1 ATS in the last nine in the Big Apple.
San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder
9:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
These teams have the two best records in the West Conference. There have been two meetings this year with each home squad winning and covering fairly easily. The combined points scored were 204 and 203, both going ‘over’ the total.
San Antonio (28-13 SU, 24-16-1 ATS) hasn’t left Texas since the All-Star Game, going 4-3 SU and ATS during its 7-game homestand. The team has its key players back and the offense has really picked up the last four games at 115 PPG (the ‘over’ 4-0). The road mark this year is 11-9 SU and 10-9-1 ATS after finishing very strong before the break.
The Thunder (32-10 SU, 23-19 ATS) just finished their own homestand at an underwhelming 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS. They have a tough game in the high altitude of Denver on Thursday (result pending) before returning home to face the Spurs. Oklahoma City is 7-3 ATS in back-to-back situations after starting the season 0-4 ATS.
Milwaukee Bucks at Golden State Warriors
10:30 p.m. (ET) on Regional Broadcasts
The Bucks (19-24 SU, 20-23 ATS) pulled off a big trade with Golden State, essentially swapping center Andrew Bogut for guard Monta Ellis. Ellis should make his debut against his old team on Friday, and the Bucks have already been playing very well lately, winning 4-straight and covering six in a row. The ‘over’ is also 5-0 in the last five, scoring 109.6 PPG.
Golden State (18-22 SU, 21-19 ATS) doesn’t get a lot of short-term results from this trade with Bogut (ankle) out indefinitely. However, the Warriors are 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS their last four games despite playing without Ellis and Stephen Curry (ankle) the last two. Curry should be out again and that means a backcourt of Nate Robinson and rookie Klay Thompson.
This is the first meeting between the teams this season. The road team is 4-0-1 ATS in the last five and the ‘under’ 4-0 in the last four at Oracle Arena.