cnotes Posts:24399 Followers:32
On 03/17/2012 04:17 PM in NBA

Cnotes Saturday's NBA GOM + NHL Best Best !

New Faces In New Places For Saturday NBA Betting

There was a ton of talk over the big time players that might be traded by Thursday's deadline, but in the end, Rajon Rondo and the rest of the Boston Celtics are still together, Dwight Howard is still with the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers never budged with either Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum.

There were some moves to discuss though, and a lot of players should be suiting up for their new teams by the time that NBA betting action on Saturday tips off.

The afternoon begins with the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers doing battle. It is the return for Derek Fisher to the Staples Center after being traded from the Lakers to Houston. It should also be the debut for Marcus Camby, who will add a heck of a lot of bulk to the inside defensively for a team that already has one great defensive center in Samuel Dalembert. Nick Young should be debuting for LA in this one as well.

The Clips are reeling, having lost five out of seven and going just 3-4 ATS in that stretch, and they are going to want to stop that in this 3:30 (ET) tip on Saturday afternoon.

Of the seven games on the docket on Saturday night, the showcase of the bunch pits the Dallas Mavericks against the San Antonio Spurs in a showdown in the Lone Star State. The Mavs are going to try to halt their five-game ATS skid in this one, though they are going to be up against it when they take on a San Antonio team that has averaged 115.0 PPG in its last five going into Friday's fight with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Spurs have covered five in a row in this series, though their four-game SU winning streak over Dallas came to a close when the Mavs won 101-100 in a great game in Big D on January 29.

San Antonio could have new acquisition Stephen Jackson in the lineup for this game, though he is going to be difficult to get into the fold, knowing that he was traded twice in a span of about 48 hours.

Tip time from American Airlines Center is set for 9:00 p.m. (ET) in a broadcast that will be available on NBA TV.

In the East, the Chicago Bulls and the Philadelphia 76ers are going to match wits in a battle of two of the best defensive teams in the league. Chicago was rumored to be talking about some big time trades, but it never pulled the trigger on anything, while Philly's only move was picking up Sam Young from the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Bulls are off to a good start to this six-game home stand, going 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS in the first four games. This is the final game of the bunch, but it won’t be easy, especially knowing that the Sixers already have one big win over the Bulls this year.

This showdown in the Windy City is set for 8:00 p.m. (ET).

There are two 7:00 (ET) games on Saturday night. The New York Knicks, playing under their new head coach, Mike Woodson are going to be at BankersLife Fieldhouse where they will take on the Indiana Pacers. The Charlotte Bobcats will also host the Toronto Raptors.

At 8:00 (ET), the New Jersey Nets should be debuting Gerald Wallace to their hometown crowd when they take on the New Orleans Hornets.

The two 9:00 (ET) tips that we have not yet discussed feature the Denver Nuggets taking on the hot Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors visiting the Utah Jazz.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24399 Followers:32
03/17/2012 04:19 PM

Penguins Start Weekend At New Jersey Devils

Heading into this weekend’s NHL betting action, hockey’s headlines are dominated by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sidney Crosby made his successful return from a concussion Thursday night in a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers (logging 16 minutes of ice time and picking up an assist). That win was Pittsburgh’s 10th straight, pulling the Penguins to within four points of the Rangers’ top seed in the conference.

Pittsburgh (43-21-5) will try to get Crosby back up to full speed and extend its winning streak to 12 with two tough road games slated for this weekend. The Penguins head to New Jersey to take on the Devils Saturday at 1:00 p.m. (ET) and then to Philadelphia to visit the Flyers at 12:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday.

New Jersey (41-25-5) has allowed just eight goals over its last eight games, going 6-2-0 over that stretch, and Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov has won each of his last seven starts with a 1.00 GAA and four shutouts over that stretch. Pittsburgh’s offense is the second best in the NHL averaging 3.1 goals per game, and will have its work cut out for it this weekend against these two hot defenses and goaltenders.

Pittsburgh is 1-3 against New Jersey this season and 1-2 against Philadelphia.

Before the Flyers (41-22-7) host the Penguins Sunday afternoon, they head to Boston to take on the struggling Bruins Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. (ET). Boston (40-27-3) has lost four straight and is 12-16-2 over its last 30 games. Tim Thomas has lost his way in the month of March with a 4.06 GAA and an .842 save percentage in seven starts. With back-up goaltender Tuukka Rask injured, the Bruins are just trying to weather the storm. But with Philadelphia’s NHL-best offense (3.2 goals per game) and road record (23-12-2), the storm doesn’t look any lighter for the Bruins Saturday.

Two struggling teams that came into the year as Stanley Cup favorites will be looking for points Saturday when the San Jose Sharks host the Detroit Red Wings at 10:30 p.m. (ET).

Mired with injuries, Detroit (44-24-3) has fallen far out of the conference’s top spot with a 3-7-1 record over its last 11 games. San Jose (35-25-10) has been struggling for about a month now with a 4-8-4 record (4-12 on the moneyline) over its last 16 games. Someone has to win Saturday; the Sharks may have the slight edge as they have won two of three against Detroit this season and the Red Wings are just 16-20-1 on the road this season including a current four-game road losing streak.

A few other interesting betting matchups to consider this weekend include Saturday’s contests featuring the St. Louis Blues (45-19-8) at Tampa Bay Lightning (32-31-7) at 7:00 p.m. (ET) and the Nashville Predators (41-21-8) at Los Angeles Kings (33-25-12) at 10:30 p.m. (ET), plus Sunday’s matchup of the Washington Capitals (36-28-6) at Chicago Blackhawks (38-25-8).

St. Louis at Tampa Bay provides the intriguing matchup of St. Louis’s NHL-best defense (allowing under two goals per game) against the league’s top goal scorer in Steven Stamkos (50 goals).

Los Angeles’ backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier is penciled in to start against the Predators; Bernier has a 5-1 record with a 2.00 GAA in six career starts against Nashville.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24399 Followers:32
03/17/2012 04:21 PM

Preview: Rockets (24-20) at Clippers (24-18)

Date: March 17, 2012 3:30 PM EDT

After cruising through the first two months of the season, the Los Angeles Clippers seem to have lost some of their luster.

The Houston Rockets, in contrast, appear to be headed in the right direction.

Hoping to avoid a fourth loss in five games, Los Angeles looks to get back on track with a season series sweep of the visiting Rockets on Saturday.

The Clippers (24-18) started 19-9 but have since fallen back to earth, dropping nine of 14 and into the middle of the pack in the Western Conference playoff race.

Los Angeles hasn't looked anything like a postseason contender over the last week, during which it's been limited to a dismal 90.3 points per game in losing three of four.

The Clippers' offensive woes continued in Thursday's 91-87 loss to short-handed Phoenix. After taking an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter, Los Angeles scored a season-low 12 points over the final 12 minutes, failing to keep up with a Suns team playing without Steve Nash and Grant Hill.

"Coach came in and we talked about some things before we got in the showers," said Blake Griffin after a team-only meeting in the locker room that lasted over an hour . "It was very productive. We talked about our sense of urgency, our execution down the stretch and the way we approach games.

"When you get into a setting like that, you talk about things. I mean, it wasn't about pointing a finger at somebody. But if there's a problem and no one ever talks about it, it's not going to get better. So guys talked. And the more you talk, the more you figure things out ... We've got a good team and we've got to do better."

The Clippers should receive an offensive boost from Nick Young, who was acquired from Washington in Thursday's three-way deal with Denver. Young was averaging 16.6 points with the Wizards but isn't expected to be available until Tuesday.

The Rockets (24-20) were also busy prior to the trade deadline, dealing for veterans Marcus Camby from Portland and five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher from the Lakers. The 6-foot-11 Camby provides a much-needed interior defensive presence while it was expected that Fisher would provide valuable minutes with starting point guard Kyle Lowry sidelined for at least another two weeks with a bacterial infection.

But while Camby is happy about the trade - he's lived in Houston since 2005 - Fisher has yet to report. General manager Daryl Morey had little to say Friday about why Fisher hasn't shown up.

"Right now, I can just say that the trade obviously happened,' Morey said.

Goran Dragic has shined with Lowry out, averaging 17.3 points and 8.3 assists while starting each of the last four games. The Rockets improved to 3-1 over that stretch with Wednesday's 107-87 win over Charlotte.

"(Starting) is much easier now," said Dragic, who had 14 points and 10 assists versus the Bobcats. "Maybe the first couple games you're a little bit nervous about how you're going to lead the team and everything but now you can see that you can do that stuff. Our players are great and playing well and hopefully we're going to keep winning."

The Rockets are averaging 107.5 points with Dragic running the show - well above their season mark of 98.1.

"We're just playing so unselfish," rookie Chandler Parsons said. "We're moving the ball and we're having fun ... we're having fun out there and it's been great."

Keeping things going Saturday, however, could prove difficult. Houston allowed the Clippers to shoot 57.3 percent from the floor in a 117-89 rout during its Jan. 4 visit to Staples Center.

Los Angeles also handed the Rockets a 105-103 overtime defeat in Houston on March 4. Kevin Martin, who scored 25 points in that game, has missed the last two with a shoulder injury and could sit again.

Courtney Lee is also uncertain to play after dislocating his left middle finger Wednesday.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24399 Followers:32
03/17/2012 04:23 PM

Preview: Knicks (20-24) at Pacers (25-17)

Date: March 17, 2012 7:00 PM EDT

Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks just want to win basketball games. They apparently needed a coaching change to find the motivation.

Anthony and the Knicks look to improve to 3-0 under interim coach Mike Woodson by sweeping a home-and-home set with the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

New York (20-24) has cruised to consecutive wins since Mike D'Antoni resigned as coach Wednesday, being replaced by Woodson on an interim basis. Just hours after that announcement, the Knicks ended a six-game slide with a 121-79 romp over Portland. Then on Friday, they cruised to a 115-100 victory at over Indiana (25-17) at Madison Square Garden.

"I think with the change, we had to come together as a team and really figure out and ask ourselves what we really want," Anthony said. "Right now, we want to win basketball games, we want to get to them playoffs, and why not start now?"

New York currently holds the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, one-half game ahead of ninth-place Milwaukee.

Part of the recent success has been due to Woodson's insistence that the Knicks play with more urgency, while adding focus on improved defensive play. They've limited opponents to 38.5 percent shooting and have forced 45 turnovers in the two games under the new head coach.

That included shutting down Pacers star Danny Granger, who made 4 of 15 from the field Friday and finished with nine points after angering the Knicks by saying this home-and-home set represented two "very winnable games."

"It was incredible," said New York center Tyson Chandler, who had 16 points and four blocks Friday. "We made it tough for them. We didn't let them breathe and we didn't let up at any time."

While the Knicks seem to have found a spark, questions still swirl around Anthony's commitment and place on the team. He's averaging 18.2 points on 40.5 percent shooting in 12 games since returning from a groin injury, and has totaled 28 points over the last two contests.

The superstar forward failed to quell those concerns Friday, making 4 of 12 shots while missing all three from beyond the arc to finish with 12 points.

Anthony was clutch in the Knicks' last visit to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 10, scoring 34 points in a 110-109 victory. He hit a 19-foot jumper with 4.9 seconds left for the go-ahead score before blocking Granger's potential game-winning shot in the final second.

While Anthony is trying to re-establish himself as the Knicks' top threat, Pacers coach Frank Vogel feels his team faces an additional challenge now that New York is playing with renewed vigor.

"We've got to understand what we're facing," Vogel said. "This is an extremely talented team, maybe one of the most talented teams in the NBA, and they're playing with a renewed sense of urgency because of the coaching change like all teams do with coaching changes. So they're a force right now."

Indiana has been a force at home, where it is 13-5 on the season and has won six of its last seven.

Granger is averaging 25.2 points over his last nine home meetings with the Knicks.

He could use some help from Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who is second on the team with 12.5 points per game and the leader with 9.0 rebounds. Hibbert didn't come close to those averages Friday, managing a meager four points and three boards while missing 8 of 10 field-goal attempts.

Hibbert had 19 points and 10 rebounds when the Pacers hosted New York in April.


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24399 Followers:32
03/17/2012 04:24 PM

Preview: Raptors (15-29) at Bobcats (6-36)

Date: March 17, 2012 7:00 PM EDT

With Jose Calderon out, Jerryd Bayless has done a nice job filling in for the injured Toronto Raptors point guard.

The Raptors will try to win back-to-back games for the first time since January when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

This is the second meeting this season between two of the teams near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. League-worst Charlotte (6-36) defeated Toronto (15-29) 98-91 on Feb. 17 behind 22 points from Reggie Williams and 16 from Corey Maggette.

The Raptors have lost five straight to the Bobcats.

They'll try to end that skid and win consecutive games for the first time since beating Phoenix and Utah on the road Jan. 24 and 25.

Toronto held on for a 114-110 overtime win at Memphis on Friday after the Grizzlies erased an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Bayless led five players in double figures with 28 points, including five in the extra period. He added nine assists and six rebounds while Gary Forbes, who came in averaging 3.8 points, finished with a career-high 20.

Bayless has started the last four games in place of Calderon, who is out with a sprained ankle. Bayless has averaged 20.0 points and 8.0 assists in those starts and was coming off a 16-point, 10-assist performance against New Jersey on Wednesday.

"Jerryd did a heck of a job," coach Dwane Casey said. "I was really happy for him because he stepped up and performed.

With Bayless running the offense, Toronto has averaged 98.3 points the last four games - up nearly eight points from its season average.

He's been helped by the return of Andrea Bargnani, who has averaged 14.5 points and 6.3 rebounds the last four games. He returned last Saturday after missing 20 games with a calf injury.

Bargnani, who finished with 18 points and seven boards Friday, did not play against Charlotte last month. He averaged 19.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in the previous six meetings.

Toronto will try to avoid becoming the first team to lose twice this season to the Bobcats.

Charlotte lost for the 10th time in 12 games overall, falling 101-96 at Dallas on Thursday to cap a 1-3 road trip.

Getting back to Charlotte, however, isn't likely to help the Bobcats, who have dropped 15 of 18 at Timer Warner Cable Arena this season.

After losing by 20 the night before against Houston, Charlotte challenged the Mavericks until the third quarter. The Bobcats were ahead by six at the half, but Dallas took a 74-68 lead into the fourth quarter and continued to pull away.

Maggette scored 21 points and Kemba Walker added 12 points, five rebounds and four assists in 17 minutes off the bench.

The Bobcats shot 5 of 21 (23.8 percent) in the third quarter - far below their NBA-worst average for the period of 39.9 percent.

"That's been happening to us all year," Walker said. "The third quarter has been a major problem for us. ... I thought we had some great looks, they just weren't falling."


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24399 Followers:32
03/17/2012 04:26 PM

Preview: Raptors (15-29) at Bobcats (6-36)

Date: March 17, 2012 7:00 PM EDT

With Jose Calderon out, Jerryd Bayless has done a nice job filling in for the injured Toronto Raptors point guard.

The Raptors will try to win back-to-back games for the first time since January when they visit the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

This is the second meeting this season between two of the teams near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. League-worst Charlotte (6-36) defeated Toronto (15-29) 98-91 on Feb. 17 behind 22 points from Reggie Williams and 16 from Corey Maggette.

The Raptors have lost five straight to the Bobcats.

They'll try to end that skid and win consecutive games for the first time since beating Phoenix and Utah on the road Jan. 24 and 25.

Toronto held on for a 114-110 overtime win at Memphis on Friday after the Grizzlies erased an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Bayless led five players in double figures with 28 points, including five in the extra period. He added nine assists and six rebounds while Gary Forbes, who came in averaging 3.8 points, finished with a career-high 20.

Bayless has started the last four games in place of Calderon, who is out with a sprained ankle. Bayless has averaged 20.0 points and 8.0 assists in those starts and was coming off a 16-point, 10-assist performance against New Jersey on Wednesday.

"Jerryd did a heck of a job," coach Dwane Casey said. "I was really happy for him because he stepped up and performed.

With Bayless running the offense, Toronto has averaged 98.3 points the last four games - up nearly eight points from its season average.

He's been helped by the return of Andrea Bargnani, who has averaged 14.5 points and 6.3 rebounds the last four games. He returned last Saturday after missing 20 games with a calf injury.

Bargnani, who finished with 18 points and seven boards Friday, did not play against Charlotte last month. He averaged 19.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in the previous six meetings.

Toronto will try to avoid becoming the first team to lose twice this season to the Bobcats.

Charlotte lost for the 10th time in 12 games overall, falling 101-96 at Dallas on Thursday to cap a 1-3 road trip.

Getting back to Charlotte, however, isn't likely to help the Bobcats, who have dropped 15 of 18 at Timer Warner Cable Arena this season.

After losing by 20 the night before against Houston, Charlotte challenged the Mavericks until the third quarter. The Bobcats were ahead by six at the half, but Dallas took a 74-68 lead into the fourth quarter and continued to pull away.

Maggette scored 21 points and Kemba Walker added 12 points, five rebounds and four assists in 17 minutes off the bench.

The Bobcats shot 5 of 21 (23.8 percent) in the third quarter - far below their NBA-worst average for the period of 39.9 percent.

"That's been happening to us all year," Walker said. "The third quarter has been a major problem for us. ... I thought we had some great looks, they just weren't falling."


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24399 Followers:32
03/17/2012 04:28 PM

Preview: Hornets (10-34) at Nets (15-30)

Date: March 17, 2012 8:00 PM EDT

Though New Jersey did not acquire the superstar it hoped, the move the Nets did pull off prior to the trade deadline could make them a better team for the rest of the season.

Veteran forward Gerald Wallace could make his debut for the Nets on Saturday night when they try to hand the visiting New Orleans Hornets a fourth consecutive defeat.

New Jersey (15-30) was reportedly one of the teams that Orlando star Dwight Howard was interested in joining before he decided shortly before Thursday's trade deadline to waive the early termination option in his contract and stay with the Magic through at least next season.

With Howard out of the picture as the marquee name the club wanted to begin play in its Brooklyn arena next season, the Nets instead acquired Wallace from Portland for Mehmet Okur's expiring contract, forward Shawne Williams and a protected first-round pick.

Though Wallace is by no means the caliber of player as Howard, the 11th-year forward could be a nice addition to a lineup that has the potential to be effective when star guard Deron Williams (calf) and big man Brook Lopez (ankle) return from injuries.

"I can understand fan base wanting (more)," general manager Billy King told the Nets' official website. "But I think in doing so, I'd rather try building the roster and adding the piece and also keeping (salary) cap flexibility.

"(Wallace) understands and knows what we're trying to do, so he's pretty excited."

Caught in a crowded forward situation in Portland, Wallace averaged 13.3 points and 6.6 rebounds in 42 games - lows for both in the last four seasons. However, his veteran presence could help the Nets as they try to make a push into playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Wallace's possible presence Saturday could provide a boost as New Jersey tries to bounce back from an 86-70 loss at Orlando on Friday. The short-handed Nets shot 33.7 percent and got only 27 points from their starters while losing for the third time in four games.

(This was) a tough one for us,' coach Avery Johnson said.

Despite the rough night in Florida and with Williams likely to miss a fifth straight game, the Nets still have a good chance to rebound against a New Orleans team that has dropped three in a row and 11 of 14.

Hours after the Western Conference-worst Hornets (10-34) remained silent at the deadline, Chris Kaman had 20 points and rookie Gustavo Ayon added 16 with nine rebounds in a 99-89 home loss to lowly Washington on Thursday.

Though the Hornets' last three defeats have each come by 10 points or fewer, all came at home, further shredding the team's overall confidence.

"I hate losing, and we seem to lose almost every time that we step out on the floor,' forward Trevor Ariza said. "It's pretty frustrating."

The subject of constant trade rumors, Kaman is averaging 16.6 points and 9.5 rebounds in the last 17 games. He's averaged 23.0 and 9.3 boards in his last three against the Nets.

New Jersey has won two of three against the Hornets following a five-game skid in the series.




Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24399 Followers:32
03/17/2012 04:30 PM

Preview: 76ers (25-19) at Bulls (36-10)

Date: March 17, 2012 8:00 PM EDT

The Chicago Bulls might have the best record in the NBA, but without star guard Derrick Rose they've found it hard at times to play at a high level.

With Rose possibly out for a third straight game, the Bulls face a tough challenge trying to bounce back from a rare home loss when they host the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

Two nights after Chicago (36-10) gave a complete effort without Rose in a 106-102 win over Miami, the Bulls lacked intensity throughout a 100-89 home loss to struggling Portland on Friday. Carlos Boozer had 22 points with 14 rebounds, but the Bulls went 8 of 27 from 3-point range and were outscored 22-10 in the fourth quarter to fall to 8-4 without the reigning MVP.

Chicago has not dropped consecutive regular season games since Feb. 5-7, 2011, and back-to-back contests at the United Center since a five-game skid March 1-19, 2010.

"We've got to play hard, we've got to learn," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "Once you start feeling good about yourself and you start taking short cuts, you know how it's going to end."

Though Philadelphia (25-19) has dropped two straight overall and six of eight on the road, Thibodeau is well aware the Atlantic Division leaders present a difficult challenge, especially if Rose (22.8 points per game) remains out with a sore groin. The teams split their first two meetings, both in Philadelphia. The 76ers handed Chicago one of its worst losses of the year, 98-82 on Feb. 1.

"The challenge is to be ready," he said. "Philly is a tough team, we have got to be ready to go. The injuries are part of it, you have to respond."

Rose scored 35 and Chicago shot 47.6 percent in a 96-91 win at Philadelphia on March 4. Without Rose on Friday, Chicago shot 42.4 percent against a Portland team that fired coach Nate McMillan following a 42-point loss at New York on Wednesday. It was the third time Chicago lost to a team currently with a losing record.

"We lost against the worst and we beat the best," forward Joakim Noah said. "It is what it is. It hurts, but we have another tough one (Saturday) so just got to come ready."

It took Philadelphia almost three quarters before it decided to compete during an 84-78 home loss to the Heat on Friday. Trailing 61-32 early in the third, the 76ers cut the deficit to four late in the fourth quarter to make things close.

"I thought that once we got a little angry, we channeled it in the right direction,' said coach Doug Collins, whose team shot 35.5 percent. "You don't want to dig yourself that kind of hole, but it's sure nice to know the game's not over.'

Evan Turner, who had a team-high 13 points with eight rebounds Friday, has averaged 17.0 on 53.1 percent shooting and 10.2 boards in the last six games since cracking the starting lineup.

Averaging 19.0 points on 23-of-41 (56.1 percent) shooting in the last three games against the Bulls, 76ers forward Thaddeus Young scored 21 during a 97-85 win at Chicago on March 28.

Philadelphia starting center Spencer Hawes is expected to play after he rested his sore Achilles on Friday.




Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24399 Followers:32
03/17/2012 04:31 PM

Preview: Spurs (29-13) at Mavericks (25-20)

Date: March 17, 2012 9:00 PM EDT

After beating two of the NBA's worst teams this week, the Dallas Mavericks are ready to face some tougher competition.

The San Antonio Spurs certainly fit that description, particularly after they turned in an outstanding road win over the Western Conference's best team.

These Southwest Division rivals match up for the third time this season Saturday night in Dallas, where they played an overtime thriller the last time they met.

Dallas (25-20) returned home after an 0-3 road trip and beat Washington and Charlotte this week. Neither victory was all that impressive, especially Thursday's 101-96 win over the league-worst Bobcats in which the Mavericks trailed by as many as 14 points.

"The most important thing is to come out of it with a win," guard Vince Carter said. "When we're playing against a better basketball team, we'll have to be better."

Dallas, which has won four straight at home, knows that the time to be better is now. The Mavericks play the Spurs (29-13) twice in the next four games, also facing Denver, the Lakers, Miami and Orlando over the next eight.

"All these games coming up, the next 10 games are against playoff teams and teams that are higher-echelon teams," coach Rick Carlisle told the Mavericks' official website. "So, everything we're doing is going to have to be at a high level."

San Antonio played at a high level in leading by as many as 27 points before holding on for Friday's 114-105 win at West-leading Oklahoma City. Tony Parker scored 25 points and DeJuan Blair added 22.

"In the second half they made their run. We didn't put our heads down. We just kept going and we got the win," Blair said.

The Spurs rested Manu Ginobili, who has struggled with a left oblique injury in recent weeks. Without him, San Antonio still had all five starters score in double figures and topped 50 percent shooting for the third time during this three-game win streak.

These teams met twice in January, with San Antonio cruising to a 93-71 home win in the first matchup. The Spurs then rallied from an 11-point deficit after three quarters to force overtime in a 101-100 road loss Jan. 29, when Jason Terry scored a season-high 34 points for Dallas.

The clubs will have different lineups than they used two months ago. Starting Spurs forward Richard Jefferson was dealt to Golden State on Thursday as part of a trade for Stephen Jackson, although it's unclear when Jackson will begin his second stint with San Antonio.

Mavs center Brendan Haywood is expected to miss at least five games with a sprained right knee sustained midway through the third quarter Thursday.

Ian Mahinmi, who played his first two seasons with San Antonio, will start at center for Dallas after doing so during a four-game stretch March 6-10 with Haywood out.

"It's a little bit like last week when Brendan went down with that high ankle sprain," Mahinmi said. "It's an opportunity for us, me and Brandan Wright, to step up and give the team some good minutes."

Dirk Nowitzki has totaled 16 points on 8-of-25 shooting against the Spurs this season. The Mavs star has not been at his best through most of the season, but scored 27 points in each win this week.




Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24399 Followers:32
03/17/2012 04:33 PM

Preview: Celtics (23-20) at Nuggets (24-20)

Date: March 17, 2012 9:00 PM EDT

The Denver Nuggets believe a modest move at the trade deadline will be enough for them to remain in playoff position in the Western Conference.

Quiet at the deadline, the Boston Celtics hope their aging stars can help them do the same in the East.

Talented young center JaVale McGee could make his debut for the Nuggets when they try for a third straight home win over the Celtics on Saturday night.

With 11 players under 27 years of age, Denver (24-20) is among the youngest teams in the NBA. The Nuggets added to their youth by acquiring the 24-year-old McGee along with Ronny Turiaf from Washington for oft-injured Nene on Thursday.

"We did (this trade) with the intention of the big picture. Make the team better," vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri said. "We felt that the direction of the organization at this time was we wanted to go a little bit younger."

Though not a marquee name, the 7-foot McGee averaged career highs with 11.9 points and 8.8 rebounds in 41 games for the Wizards this season. The fourth-year pro joins a lineup featuring budding young talent in guard Ty Lawson, rookie forward Kenneth Faried and Italian standout Danilo Gallinari.

"I think athletically, it will be the most athletic team that we've probably had," coach George Karl told the Nuggets' official website.

Tied with Houston for seventh in the West, the Nuggets have alternated wins and losses during the first six of a season-high nine-game home stretch. Andre Miller had 17 points Thursday for Denver, which went 5 of 22 from 3-point range and was outscored 28-14 in the third quarter of a 103-90 loss to West-leading Oklahoma City.

The Nuggets have averaged 104.5 points and allowed the same amount per game during their homestand. Denver has won six of seven at home versus Boston.

Miller has averaged 18.4 points in his last 13 games against the Celtics.

Denver could be without forward Al Harrington (14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds per game), who is day to day with a left knee contusion.

Boston (23-20) looks to regroup after it fell to 2-2 on an eight-game road trip with a 120-95 drubbing at Sacramento on Friday. Ray Allen scored 26 points and Paul Pierce added 19, but the Celtics gave up 41 in the third quarter en route to allowing their highest total of the season.

It was a big step back for the Celtics, who had won eight of their previous 10. Again showing some fatigue that has plagued the aging club throughout this condensed season, Boston committed 17 turnovers and was outrebounded 45-28.

"Whatever you are supposed to have, we didn't have it tonight," coach Doc Rivers said. "They played terrific and made every shot. Our defense helped. We didn't play with the great spirit that we had in this streak. I don't want this to be a habit."

Despite his team's age and inconsistent play, general manager Danny Ainge did not make a move at the trade deadline but could still add help before the postseason.

"I have a lot of faith in our guys," Ainge said of the Celtics, seventh in the East. "They know the time and the score. They know when the lights are on. They rise to the occasion. I'm hoping we can get to the playoffs healthy, add a little bit of beef between now and the playoffs, and we'll take our chances there."

Allen has averaged 24.4 points in 32 career games against the Nuggets, but he was held to 10 during an 89-75 loss in Boston's last trip to Denver on Feb. 24, 2011.


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