cnotes Posts:32963 Followers:38
On 01/21/2012 09:26 AM in NCAA Basketball

Cnotes Saturday's NCAAB - NBA - NHL Best Bets ! + NCAAB Play of the Month !

Nuggets Visit NY Knicks On Saturday NBA Slate

The first meeting between Carmelo Anthony and his former team will highlight Saturday’s 10-game NBA schedule when the New York Knicks host the Denver Nuggets at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is planned for 7:30 p.m. (ET).

Ironically, just a few of Anthony’s old teammates are still playing for the Nuggets, who have totally reshaped their roster and are off to a much better start than the Knicks. In Denver’s previous trip to New York last season, the only two players joining Anthony in the lineup who are still starting for the Nuggets are shooting guard Arron Afflalo and power forward Nene Hilario. Both of them signed five-year deals in the offseason to remain with the team, something Anthony did not want when he publicly demanded a trade.

Anthony was sent to the Knicks last February 21 in a blockbuster deal, but things have not worked out according to plan.

New York had dropped four straight games heading into Friday night’s matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks. Anthony has been bothered by an ankle injury that caused him to miss one game and struggle mightily in two more since then, as he has made just 14 of his 49 attempts from the field (29%), including 2-of-10 from 3-point range. The Knicks have covered the spread in the last five meetings with the Nuggets, but in four of those games they were underdogs.

Denver is heading in the opposite direction with four wins in five games going into a visit with the Washington Wizards on Friday. The team improved to 6-1 against the spread on the road after pulling out a 108-104 overtime win against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. The Nuggets will try to continue New York’s struggles at home, where the Knicks had gone 1-9 ATS in their previous 10 before facing the Bucks.

Anthony is not the only Eastern Conference star who has been fighting an injury, as the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks have all been without one of their top players lately. The Heat have bounced back from a season-high three-game losing streak by winning two straight in impressive fashion despite being without shooting guard Dwyane Wade due to an ankle injury.

Wade’s absence has allowed star teammate LeBron James to shine, as he has averaged 32 points in helping beat the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers at home. Miami hosts Philadelphia next on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s first-round playoff series. The Heat beat the 76ers in five games but went 2-3 ATS.

The Bulls have played their last two games without reigning MVP Derrick Rose, who has been dealing with a sprained big toe. They will be coming off a home game on Friday against the Cleveland Cavaliers when they host the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. Rose played in back-to-back nights last Friday and Saturday before sitting out Monday and Tuesday with Chicago splitting those games.

The Hawks are surprisingly riding a four-game winning streak since losing power forward Al Horford for at least three months with a torn pectoral muscle. They host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7:00 p.m. and have covered the last six meetings in the series, winning the past four.

Lone Star State rivals San Antonio and Houston will also square off Saturday when the Rockets host the Spurs. San Antonio took a 1.5-game lead in the Southwest Division into Friday's home tilt with Sacramento, with idle Houston two back. The Rockets are 6-1 at home this season, also going 6-1 vs. the number on their home floor, while the Spurs are 1-5 away from home both straight up and against the spread.

This will be the third time the two have met on the schedule, each winning at home and Houston covering both contests. The Rockets were 3-point underdogs in Houston on Dec. 29 when they pulled off the 105-85 upset.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32963 Followers:38
01/21/2012 09:31 AM

Missouri Tigers Face Tough Test At Baylor Bears

There’s a big Saturday in college basketball with nine of the top-10 teams in action. Most have done well covering spreads in their conferences, with some exceptions who are previewed below.

Here’s the Coaches Poll top 10 with their straight-up records, plus against the spread marks in-conference and out.

1) Syracuse (20-0 SU, 8-4 ATS Non-Conference, 5-2 ATS Big East)
2) Kentucky (18-1 SU, 3-10-1 ATS Non-Conference, 1-3 ATS SEC)
3) Baylor (17-1 SU, 4-2 ATS Non-Conference, 2-3 ATS Big 12)
4) Duke (16-2 SU, 6-8 ATS Non-Conference, 1-3 ATS ACC)
5) Missouri (17-1 SU, 5-3 ATS Non-Conference, 4-1 ATS Big 12)
6) Ohio State (16-1 SU, 4-4 ATS Non-Conference, 4-2 ATS Big Ten)
7) Kansas (15-3 SU, 6-6 ATS Non-Conference, 4-1 ATS Big 12)
8) North Carolina (16-3 SU, 8-6 ATS Non-Conference, 2-2 ATS ACC)
9) Michigan State (15-4 SU, 6-4 ATS Non-Conference, 4-2 ATS Big Ten)
10) Murray State (19-0 SU, 5-2-1 ATS Non-Conference, 3-4 ATS Ohio Valley)

Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats – 12:00 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Kentucky (18-1 SU, 4-13-1 ATS) is only 1-3 ATS in the SEC, but did get some good news last Tuesday versus Arkansas. That was an 86-63 home win and cover as 16½-point favorites, breaking an awful streak of 0-13-1 ATS in its prior 14 games with a spread.

Freshman Anthony Davis scored 27 points last game, helping to ‘push’ the 149-point total. It was the Wildcats’ highest output since December 31. The ‘under’ is 4-1-1 in their last six games, scoring 73.3 PPG, and they can’t count on Davis (13.8 PPG) exploding like that again.

The Crimson Tide (13-5 SU, 7-7 ATS) were ranked No. 12 in late November, but three non-conference losses in December knocked them out of the polls. This is a talented team with forwards Tony Mitchell (13.7 PPG) and JaMychal Green (13.7 PPG), plus guard Trevor Releford (12.5 PPG).

Alabama ranks first in the SEC in scoring defense (56.4 PPG), but just ninth in offense (66.3 PPG). The offense was dormant the last two games in losses against Mississippi State (56-52) and Vanderbilt (69-59). The team is now 2-2 SU and ATS in the SEC after winning and covering its first two.

Kentucky won and covered the last meeting between the teams, 72-58 in the SEC tournament last March. Alabama was 3-0 ATS in the previous three.

No. 5 Missouri Tigers at No. 3 Baylor Bears – 2:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN

Baylor (17-1 SU, 6-5 ATS) started the week undefeated and ranked No. 3, but had a Monday loss (92-74) at Kansas. The frontline of Perry Jones III, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy range from 6-foot-7 to 6-foot-11, but they were outmuscled by Kansas on the boards (36-21).

The Bears were 6½-point ‘dogs and are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven (2-3 ATS in the Big 12). Another loss will really drop them in the rankings, but there’s comfort in returning to Ferrell Center in Waco (10-0 SU, 2-1 ATS mark).

Missouri (17-1 SU, 9-4 ATS) has won three straight (3-0 ATS) since its disappointing 75-59 loss at Kansas State on January 7. The last two were at home against Texas (84-73) and Texas A&M (70-51), but there was also a big road win at Iowa State (76-69 as 4-point favorites).

This is the nation’s fourth-highest scoring offense (83.1 PPG) under first-year coach Frank Haith. That number is much lower in Big 12 play (75.2 PPG), with the ‘under’ 4-1. The Tigers are giving up a lot of size against Baylor and will have to take (and make) 3-pointers.

Missouri is 4-0 ATS (3-1 SU) in the previous four games against Baylor. The ‘under’ is 3-0 in the last three with an average combined score of just 131.7 points.

Florida State Seminoles at No. 4 Duke Blue Devils – 4:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN

The Blue Devils (16-2 SU, 7-11 ATS) dropped to 1-3 ATS in the ACC after a 91-73 win as 21½-point favorites over Wake Forest on Thursday. They led by 26 points (84-58) with 5:26 left, but Wake ended on a meaningless 15-7 run, showing how hard it is to cover these large spreads.

Duke will be shooting for its 46th consecutive home win on Saturday, which would tie a school record. That includes nine this year (4-5 ATS). The ‘over’ is 6-3 in those contests, scoring 86.6 PPG.

Florida State (12-6 SU, 9-7 ATS) is 3-0 SU and ATS in its last three, including home wins over North Carolina (90-57) and Maryland (84-70). The result against the Tar Heels was surprising as it was their worst defeat since 2003.

The Seminoles have had much less success in road and neutral site games (2-5 SU and ATS). However, they are battled tested playing currently ranked teams in Connecticut, Michigan State, Harvard and Florida. They also just won their last road game at Virginia Tech on January 10, 63-59 as 4-point ‘dogs.

Florida State is 10-4 ATS in the last 14 meetings against Duke, including a 68-67 upset as an 8½-point underdog at Cameron in February 2007.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32963 Followers:38
01/21/2012 09:35 AM

Saturday's Tip Sheet

January 20, 2012

Saturday’s college hoops card is stacked with intriguing matchups, including a Big 12 showdown between a pair of top-five teams. That’s where we’ll start, as Baylor (17-1 straight up, 6-5 against the spread) is poised to host Missouri after losing its first game of the year at Kansas earlier this week.

BetOnline opened Baylor as a 3 1/2-point favorite with a total of 146.

Scott Drew’s team has been dynamite at home, compiling a 10-0 SU record while going 2-1 ATS. But the Bears were on the road Monday when they got smoked by a 92-74 count in Lawrence. The Jayhawks cruised to an easy win as 6 ½-point home favorites.

In the losing effort, Perry Jones III scored a team-high 18 points. Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy added 17 and 14 points, respectively.

Baylor has a balanced scoring attack with five players averaging in double figures. Miller leads the Bears in scoring and rebounding, averaging 14.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest.

Since suffering its first loss at Kansas St. (75-59) on Jan. 7, Missouri (17-1 SU, 9-4 ATS) has won three in a row both SU and ATS, including Monday’s 70-51 win over Texas A&M as a 15-point home ‘chalk.’

Michael Dixon Jr. scored a game-high 18 points, draining 4-of-7 shots from 3-point range. Ricardo Ratliffe added 17 points and six rebounds, while Michael Denmon chipped in with 16 points and nine boards.

Denmon is averaging a team-high 17.8 points per game, while Kim English is scoring 14.6 PPG. English can stroke it from distance, as evidenced by his 51.7-percent shooting average from beyond the arc. Phil Pressey is the catalyst for the Tigers’ uptempo approach on both ends, averaging team-highs in assists (5.9 APG) and steals (2.1 per game).

The ‘over’ is 7-4 overall for Baylor, 2-1 in its home games. The Bears have seen the ‘over’ cash in each of their last four games. As for the Tigers, they have watched the ‘over’ go 7-6 overall, but the ‘under’ is on a 4-1 run in their last five outings.

Missouri has won three of the last four head-to-head meetings against Baylor, going 4-0 ATS in the process. The ‘under’ has cash in the last three encounters.

Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

Since losing its ACC opener at Clemson, Florida State (12-6 SU, 9-7 ATS) has ripped off three consecutive victories both SU and ATS. After thumping North Carolina 90-57 last Saturday, the Seminoles were in a classic letdown situation when they hosted Maryland on Tuesday.

Leonard Hamilton’s team did not fall victim to the flat spot, however, winning and covering in an 84-70 triumph over the Terrapins as an 11-point home favorite. Michael Snaer led the way with 19 points, while Ian Miller and Bernard James added 18 and 17 points, respectively.

FSU will hit the road Saturday to face Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham. Most books are listing the Blue Devils as expensive home favorites.

Duke (16-2 SU, 7-11 ATS) has won four consecutive games since losing at Temple, but the Blue Devils are an abysmal 1-5 ATS in their last six outings. They failed to take the cash in Thursday’s 91-73 win over Wake Forest as 21 ½-point home favorites.

Andre Dawkins scored a game-high 21 points, hitting 7-of-12 attempts from 3-point land. Ryan Kelly produced a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman guard Austin Rivers also scored 20 points.

Mike Krzyzewski’s squad is unbeaten in nine home games with a 4-5 spread record. The ‘over’ is 12-6 overall for Duke, 6-3 in its home games.

FSU has lost three of its four true road games both SU and ATS. The ‘Noles are 1-2 both SU and ATS as road ‘dogs. They have seen the ‘over’ go 7-1 in their last eight games.

When these teams met in Tallahassee last year, FSU captured a 66-61 win as a seven-point home underdog. The 127 combined points easily fell ‘under’ the 139-point total.

ESPN will have the telecast at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. BetOnline opened Duke as a 12-point 'chalk' with a total of 145.

The prime-time game on ESPN will come off the board at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, featuring a pair of Big East teams as Louisville (14-5 SU, 7-8-1 ATS) plays at slumping Pittsburgh. BetOnline opened the Panthers as two-point favorites with a total of 127.

Pitt (11-8 SU, 5-9 ATS) has lost seven in a row for the first time during Jamie Dixon’s tenure. However, we should point out that the Panthers have covered the number in back-to-back contests, including Monday’s 71-63 loss at top-ranked Syracuse as 13-point underdogs.

Cameron Wright, Ashton Gibbs and Lamar Patterson scored 10 points apiece in defeat at the Carrier Dome. The pedestrian Pitt offense should get a boost in this spot with the return of starting guard Tray Woodall, who averages 12.4 points and 7.5 assists per game. Woodall has missed five straight games with an injury.

Speaking of injuries, Rick Pitino is dealing with them in bunches. Starting senior guard Kyle Kuric (13.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG) has missed the last two games with an ankle sprain and is ‘doubtful’ at Pitt. Junior forward Rakeem Buckles was lost for the rest of the season (and next year) when he tore his ACL earlier this week. Buckles was averaging 4.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

U of L raced out to an 18-2 lead in the early going Monday at Marquette, but the Golden Eagles rallied to win 74-63 as 4 ½-point home favorites. Russ Smith scored a team-high 20 points and had four rebounds, four steals and a pair of assists for the Cardinals. Chris Smith added 19 points and eight rebounds.

Louisville has lost five of its last seven games and is just 2-4 in Big East play. Those losses include an embarrassing 90-59 beatdown at Providence.

The ‘under’ is 9-5 overall for Pitt, 4-2 in its home games. The Panthers have seen the ‘under’ cash at a 6-1 clip in their last seven outings.

The ‘under’ is 9-7 overall for U of L, but the ‘over’ is 3-1 in its last four contests.

These Big East adversaries have split the last four head-to-head meetings with three of those games going to overtime.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--Baylor-Mizzou is a sellout and will be the first top-five matchup in the history of the Ferrell Center.

--BetOnline opened Kentucky as an 11-point favorite for its noon Eastern showdown vs. Alabama at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats are an atrocious 1-13-1 ATS in their last 15 games. The Crimson Tide is facing a quick turnaround after losing at home to Vandy on Thursday night.

--Utah’s bad season got even worse this week when first-year head coach Larry Krystkowiak dismissed leading scorer Josh Watkins (15.6 PPG) from the team for an unspecified violation of team rules.

--Michigan steps out of Big Ten play Saturday and venture into SEC Country to face Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena. The Wolverines, fresh off their nail-biting win over arch-rival Michigan St. on Monday, are a pick 'em against the Razorbacks with a total of 138 (per BetOnline's opening numbers).

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32963 Followers:38
01/21/2012 09:38 AM

Preview: Timberwolves (7-8) at Jazz (9-5)

Date: January 21, 2012 9:00 PM EDT

The Utah Jazz are exceeding many people's expectations this season. Lately, the Minnesota Timberwolves are turning some heads as well.

The Timberwolves look to win four straight for the first the first time in nearly two years when they visit the Jazz on Saturday night.

A strong second half helped Minnesota to a thrilling 101-98 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. Ricky Rubio hit a tying 3 with 20 seconds left and Kevin Love's 3-pointer at the buzzer capped the Timberwolves' rally from a 15-point deficit.

After giving up 31 points in the first quarter, Minnesota (7-8) trailed 59-48 at the half, but slowed the Clippers after the break, holding them to 38.2 percent shooting in the second half while outscoring them 29-19 in the fourth quarter.

It was a second straight comeback victory for Minnesota, which rallied from a 16-point deficit to defeat Detroit 93-85 on Wednesday.

``In the last two games we've missed a ton of shots, but our defense has picked up and we've executed down the stretch and we've given ourselves a chance to win,' Love said. ``So if we can continue to do that, eventually our offense will pick up and we'll be able to win a lot of ballgames.'

Love finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds while Darko Milicic had a team-high 22 points. Rubio had missed his first 10 shots before the critical 3-pointer. He also had six rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Rubio came in averaging 10.7 points, 8.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds and has provided some excitement for a Timberwolves franchise that has been accustomed to losing. Minnesota is looking to win four straight for the first time since Jan. 29-Feb. 6, 2010. After that, the Timberwolves lost 29 of their final 31 games that season.

After missing the playoffs last season for the first time in five years while seeing the departures of several key veterans, there were some lowered expectations for one of the NBA's most consistent franchises. However, the Jazz have gotten off to a solid start.

After winning eight of nine, Utah (9-5) saw its three-game winning streak snapped following a 94-91 loss to Dallas on Thursday. Al Jefferson scored 22 points and Paul Millsap added 16 points and 13 boards.

It was a physical matchup with Derrick Favors getting ejected late in the third quarter after throwing the ball into the stands to protest a call. Still, the play of Favors and some of his young teammates drew the praise of Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.

Second-year pro Gordon Hayward finished with nine points while rookie Alec Burks added 10. Enes Kanter, the third overall pick in the 2011 draft, played 13 minutes and had seven rebounds.

"Tyrone Corbin is doing a great job. They have lost a lot of key guys - (Andrei) Kirilenko and (Mehmet) Okur," Carlisle said. "These young guys are playing hard and playing within the system and their big guys are getting better and better."

Like the Timberwolves, there's a lot of excitement surrounding the Jazz's young players. Helping their development are the team's veterans, including Millsap.

Millsap has been on a tear recently, averaging 21.3 points and shooting 58.1 percent the last six games.

The Jazz have won three straight at home against the Timberwolves, although Love has averaged 23.3 points and 14.3 rebounds in those games.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32963 Followers:38
01/21/2012 09:44 AM

Preview: Cavaliers (6-8) at Hawks (11-5)

Date: January 21, 2012 7:00 PM EDT

The Atlanta Hawks haven't played particularly well on the road, but they've been awfully tough to slow down at home.

That's what makes Saturday night's game especially significant for Atlanta.

Winners of five straight and seven of eight at home, the Hawks try to take advantage of a visit from the Cleveland Cavaliers before heading out on a five-game road trip.

Atlanta (11-5) held opponents to 86.5 points while sweeping a four-game homestand that ended with Wednesday's 92-89 win over Portland, and its outstanding defense carried over to the first half of Friday's trip to Philadelphia.


The Hawks held the 76ers to 34.1 percent shooting in the opening 24 minutes and led 47-39, but couldn't keep getting stops after halftime. A 14-0 Philadelphia third-quarter run turned the game around and Atlanta couldn't recover in a 90-76 loss that left coach Larry Drew fuming.

"It got tough for us and we quit,' Drew said. "That's what happened. I was more disappointed than frustrated.'

The Hawks fell to 4-4 on the road, where they're averaging just 91.5 points, but it's been a different story at home. Atlanta has scored 101.6 points per game at Philips Arena, where its only loss came in triple overtime Jan. 5 to a Miami team missing LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

That road inconsistency has made it particularly important for the Hawks to win the games they should at home - they'll begin a five-game trip Monday in Milwaukee - and Saturday's contest certainly falls in that category.

Cleveland (6-8) was a bit lethargic in Tuesday's return from a seven-game road trip, a 105-95 loss to Golden State, but it was flat-out bad Friday. Reigning MVP Derrick Rose sat out for Chicago, but the Cavaliers couldn't come close to taking advantage in a 114-75 loss - the worst at home in franchise history.

Like Drew, Cleveland coach Byron Scott was hardly pleased.

"We didn't react to their physical play whatsoever - besides the whining." Scott said. "You cannot let a good team like they are come in and play harder, be more physical, more aggressive and expect to win or even be in the game.

"We have a long way to go. Simple as that."

That massive margin of defeat inflated Cleveland's points per game differential at home to minus-5.4, but it's been better on the road. The Cavaliers are 4-5 away from Quicken Loans Arena, where they've been outscored by an average of just 1.0 point.

They didn't pick up their fifth road win last season until March 16, in their 33rd game.

Rookie Kyrie Irving has been Cleveland's model of consistency despite already surpassing the number of games he played in his brief collegiate career, scoring at least 20 points in each of his last five road contests.

But the Cavaliers generally haven't won unless Antawn Jamison's provided a second scoring threat. They're 4-1 when Jamison scores at least 20 points and 2-7 when he puts up 19 or fewer.

Jamison missed two of the three games in last season's series against Atlanta, all losses.

While Irving has given the Cavs some consistent scoring on the road, Joe Johnson's done that for the Hawks at home. The five-time All-Star has scored at least 23 points in his last four games at Philips Arena, where he averages 21.9 points - 7.4 more than on the road.

Johnson was held to eight points Friday.

Marvin Williams has only given the Hawks 7.3 points per game since returning from a sprained ankle last week, but he should enjoy seeing the Cavs. He averaged 23.3 points last season versus Cleveland.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32963 Followers:38
01/21/2012 09:45 AM

Preview: 76ers (11-4) at Heat (10-4)

Date: January 21, 2012 7:30 PM EDT

The Miami Heat got some unexpected resistance from the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of last season's playoffs during their run to the NBA finals.

Philadelphia is proving this season its solid play in that series was no fluke.

The Heat may again be without Dwyane Wade when they host the Atlantic Division-leading 76ers in a playoff rematch - and possible late-round postseason preview - Saturday night.

Second-seeded Miami beat Philadelphia in five games to advance to the second round, but aside from a 94-73 loss in Game 2, the 76ers gave the Heat all they could handle. The other four games were decided by no more than eight points, with the final three decided by six or fewer.

The 76ers (11-4) have seemed to use that series as motivation. They lead the Atlantic Division by a full five games and have won four of their last five after beating Atlanta 90-76 on Friday.

Philadelphia trailed by eight at halftime but pulled away after a 14-0 run in the third quarter.

"I thought our guys went fast in the first half, and alone,' coach Doug Collins said. "I thought we went far in the second half, and together.'

Thaddeus Young scored a game-high 20 points while Jrue Holiday added 16 points and 11 assists.

"We can play (well) against tough teams,' said Andre Iguodala, who scored 11.

Collins said he wanted a win badly after the 76ers fell 108-104 in overtime against Denver on Wednesday.

"You win this game. You don't lose two in a row at home,' Collins said.

Philadelphia, though, hasn't had much regular-season success against Miami in recent years.

The Sixers have lost seven straight matchups, including a three-game season sweep last season. They have lost nine straight in Miami - playoffs included - and it may not get any easier against a Heat team that improved to 5-1 at home with a 98-87 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

LeBron James scored 31 points and added eight rebounds and eight assists for the Heat (10-4), who played their second straight game without Wade while he nurses a sprained right ankle.

James fought off a cold to have another solid outing. He's averaging 33.0 points and 8.0 assists over his last three games.

"A chest cold can get to you at times,' James said. "But I felt like I could help the team.'

His effort helped Miami improve to 5-0 this season without Wade, who is questionable despite practicing Friday.

"We don't take (James') talent for granted, nor do we take Dwyane's talent or Chris (Bosh's) talent,' coach Erik Spoelstra said. "They're special players and they can rise to the occasion.'

James averaged 23.6 points and 9.7 boards in the eight meetings against the Sixers last season.

Louis Williams leads Philadelphia with 15.1 points per game, though he was held to six Friday. He averaged only 10.8 points in the playoffs, but his 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining in Game 4 helped the Sixers to an 86-82 win - their only victory over the Heat in the last 12 meetings.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32963 Followers:38
01/21/2012 09:47 AM

Preview: Nuggets (11-5) at Knicks (6-9)

Date: January 21, 2012 7:30 PM EDT

Carmelo Anthony spent seven-plus seasons as the driving force behind the Denver Nuggets.

They don't seem to be missing him much, while Anthony's frustration in New York is becoming apparent.

Anthony will face the Nuggets on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden for the first time - and only time in this lockout-shortened season - since being dealt to his hometown Knicks.

Anthony lived up to the hype of being the third overall pick by Denver (11-5) in the 2003 draft, instantly turning the franchise into a playoff team following a 17-65 season. The forward led the Nuggets into the postseason in each of his seven full seasons, including a run to the Western Conference finals in 2008-09 when they fell to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.

His impressive run ended last February when the Nuggets dealt the four-time All-Star to New York (6-9) in a stunning three-team, 13-player trade.

Denver reached the playoffs without Anthony - losing to Oklahoma City - and is 29-12 in the regular season since the trade.

That success can be credited to the deal, as one of the players the Nuggets landed was Danilo Gallinari. The forward is averaging 16.2 points on the season, ranking second on the team behind Ty Lawson's 16.4.

"I think the one thing that (happened to) guys when 'Melo left, Ty and Arron (Afflalo) got more excited about their opportunity," coach George Karl told the team's official website. "That's what happens in trades. Trades open up windows of opportunities."

Gallinari and Lawson had 21 points each while Al Harrington - another former Knick - had a season-high 29 in Friday's 108-104 win at Washington.

The Nuggets have won three in a row, one shy of their season high from earlier this month.

Gallinari is looking forward to a return to New York, where he spent two-plus seasons after being drafted sixth overall in 2008.

"This is going to be a nice game," Gallinari said. "Last year, the first thing that I looked at when I got traded was when are we going to play in New York. Yeah, it's going to be an exciting game."

While the Nuggets are thriving, Anthony is growing frustrated with the Knicks' struggles.

Anthony is among the league leaders with 25.7 points per game, but New York has been a major disappointment so far this season.

The Knicks lost their fifth straight Friday, falling 100-86 at home to Milwaukee - which came in 0-8 on the road - despite Anthony scoring 35 points.

Anthony, however, was ejected with 1:33 left after picking up his second technical foul following a confrontation with the Bucks' Brandon Jennings, who apparently made a hand gesture after a 3-pointer.

"I don't like to be punked out there so I think that's where the frustration just set in and it started trickling down," Anthony said. "Maybe it was my fault that the frustration set in and I apologized to my teammates for that, but I don't like being in them situations like that. I don't know how to handle those punking situations too well."

New York's struggles may be attributed to the trade with Denver, as it dealt most of its depth while also acquiring guard Chauncey Billups, whom it waived prior to this season to free up salary cap space for Tyson Chandler.

That's left the Knicks with little offensive firepower beyond Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, the latter of whom is averaging 18.1 points and 7.8 rebounds after posting 25.3 and 8.3, respectively, last season.

Stoudemire was booed after missing one easy putback in the second half Friday before finishing with 15 points and 11 boards.

The Knicks are averaging 93.0 points, including 88.4 while hitting 38.7 percent from the floor over the last five games. Those averages are a far cry from their Eastern Conference-leading 106.5 points per game in 2010-11.

"We're just not sharp and it looks like our legs are deader than the other guys," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "It looks like they're running circles around us a lot of times."

The Knicks and Nuggets split two meetings last season, with each team winning at home.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32963 Followers:38
01/21/2012 09:49 AM

Preview: Trail Blazers (9-6) at Pistons (3-13)

Date: January 21, 2012 7:30 PM EDT

A big night from LaMarcus Aldridge has the Portland Trail Blazers in position to return home with a .500 record on their road trip and some renewed confidence in their disappointing play away from home.

Aldridge and the Trail Blazers look to make it seven consecutive wins against the Detroit Pistons when they close a six-game trip Saturday night.

After dropping to 2-5 away from home following a 92-89 loss at Atlanta on Wednesday, Portland bounced back with a 98-84 win over Toronto on Friday.

The Trail Blazers (9-6) shot 40.2 percent - only slightly better than the 38.0 percent they connected on against the Hawks. However, they had a strong defensive effort, outscoring Toronto 47-32 in the first half while holding the Raptors to 36.6 percent from the field.

With his team struggling on this trip, Aldridge stepped up with a season-high 33 points and a career-best 23 rebounds, including nine offensive. Portland had a 55-40 rebounding advantage.

"He put us on his back tonight and that's what great players do,' Jamal Crawford said. "I could tell he was a little different, even in the warmups. He had a different focus. He wasn't about to lose tonight.'

It's the seventh time in Blazers history that a player has combined for at least 30 points and 20 rebounds. Aldridge came in averaging 23.3 points during the road trip, but just 9.8 in the first half of games. On Friday, he went into the break with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Portland has a good chance to end the trip on a positive note facing a Detroit team that has dropped four in a row overall and five straight at home. The Pistons (3-13), who haven't beaten the Blazers since Feb. 2, 2008, lost 98-81 loss to Memphis on Friday.

Brandon Knight scored 22 points and Greg Monroe finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds. However, the Pistons were unable to recover from another slow start, scoring 12 points in the first quarter and 30 in the opening half.

Detroit is the NBA's lowest-scoring team (84.8 points per game) and is averaging only 40.8 in the first half.

"We need to have the same kind of intensity (throughout games)," Ben Gordon said. "We can't pick our spots. We're not that good of a team yet.'

Maintaining their intensity isn't the Pistons' only problem though. Detroit committed a season-worst 25 turnovers Friday, the second time in three games it turned the ball over at least 20 times. It was also short-handed, playing without guards Rodney Stuckey (groin), Will Bynum (right foot) and forward Charlie Villanueva (right ankle).

Tayshaun Prince was held to 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting against the Grizzlies after scoring at least 20 points in three straight games.

Aldridge scored 36 points on 12 of 17 from the floor in a 105-100 win over Detroit last February in the teams' most recent meeting.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32963 Followers:38
01/21/2012 09:52 AM

Preview: Mavericks (9-7) at Hornets (3-12)

Date: January 21, 2012 8:00 PM EDT

The final stop on the Dallas Mavericks' road trip is a place where they own a lengthy losing streak.

The New Orleans Hornets, however, are a much different opponent now that Chris Paul is no longer with the club.

The Mavericks will try Saturday night to end their 11-game road losing streak against the Hornets, who have lost six straight overall.

Including three losses in the 2008 playoffs, Dallas (9-7) has not won on the road against New Orleans (3-12) since March 27, 2007 - and that game was in Oklahoma City. Paul, dealt to the Clippers before this season, featured in 10 games in this run for the Hornets.

The Mavericks have already taken advantage of the new-look Hornets once this season as six players scored in double figures in a 96-81 home victory Jan. 7. New Orleans won its next game before beginning its current losing streak.

The Hornets are trying to avoid their first seven-game slide since they lost eight in a row Feb. 28-March 18, 2006, in Paul's rookie season. They own the Western Conference's worst record and have lost seven in a row at home since beating Boston on Dec. 28.

"We are sticking together and we are fighting as a team," forward Carl Landry said. "We are trying to stay together. We have to go out and grind it out; it's been tough."

The Mavericks dropped the first two games of their trip to the Lakers and Clippers before beating Utah 94-91 on Thursday. Shawn Marion scored a season-high 22 points as Dallas blew a double-digit lead in the second half before making numerous key plays down the stretch.

"We hung in there," Marion said. "We knew they were going to make a run. They're a young and energetic team. They play hard in this building. We kept our composure. We were able to respond after every run they made."

The defending NBA champions won for the first time in six road games against West foes.

"We're making steady progress," coach Rick Carlisle said. "But it is work. We got to continue with it. It doesn't happen overnight."

Dirk Nowitzki, who said he has been hampered by knee problems, is enduring a rough stretch. He's averaging 13.9 points on 43.2 percent shooting over his last nine games.

The Hornets continue to play without Eric Gordon, acquired in the Paul trade. They rallied from a 12-point deficit after three quarters by holding Houston to seven fourth-quarter points Thursday before falling 90-88 in overtime on the road.

"I always tell them, 'Give the fight and do your best,'" coach Monty Williams said. "We did everything we could to win the game."

New Orleans continues to struggle at 27.5 percent on 3-pointers for one of the league's worst marks. Marco Belinelli is the only Hornet with at least 10 attempts who is above 30 percent.

The Mavericks will play their third straight without Vince Carter, out with a foot injury. They have little sympathy for the Hornets' woes as they try to gain a split of this trip.

"We've gotta have this win Saturday to make up for those two (losses in L.A.)," guard Jason Terry told the Mavericks' official website.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32963 Followers:38
01/21/2012 09:54 AM

Preview: Bobcats (3-12) at Bulls (14-3)

Date: January 21, 2012 8:00 PM EDT

Coach Tom Thibodeau is not about to rush injured star Derrick Rose back on the court.

Based on the way the Bulls have played without him the last two games, it might not matter if the reigning MVP is on the floor or not.

While Rose faces the possibility of missing his fourth straight game, the Bulls try for a third straight victory to remain undefeated at home Saturday night against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.

Rose's sprained big toe is doing better, but Thibodeau will not say exactly when his star guard will return.

"Each day he's moving in the right direction,' Thibodeau said, "and when he's ready to go, he'll go. He doesn't feel he's ready to go yet."

Though Rose leads the team averaging 20.8 points and 8.7 assists per game, the NBA-leading Bulls (14-3) have played well without him this week.

After falling 102-86 at Memphis on Monday in its first game without Rose, Chicago looked dominant during a 118-97 win over Phoenix the next night and in a 114-75 road rout of Cleveland on Friday.

"Here's the thing about our team,' Thibodeau said. "We have more than enough to win with. If he's hurt and he's injured, he doesn't play. If he can tolerate the pain and feels good enough then he'll play. That's the way it is. This is the NBA.'

Carlos Boozer has stepped up in Rose's absence, scoring a season-high 31 points against the Suns then adding 19 with 14 rebounds at Cleveland.

C.J. Watson, Rose's replacement, has averaged 18.3 points on 17-of-30 shooting in the last three games after missing nine with an elbow injury.

Luol Deng had 21 on Friday to lead the Bulls, who had five players score in double figures, held the Cavaliers to 30.3 percent shooting and recorded a franchise-high 16 blocks.

"Deepest team I've ever played on, 100 percent,' Boozer said. "Most teams go to their bench and hold their own. We go to our bench and they can open the lead.'

Deng had 24 points in a 106-94 home win over Charlotte on Feb. 15.

Looking to start 7-0 at the United Center for the first time since 1996-97, Chicago has held opponents to 71.8 points on 36.7 percent shooting at home this season.

The Bulls have won two in a row and six of the last nine overall against Charlotte (3-12), which has averaged 92.5 points while going 3-10 all-time at the United Center.

The Bobcats have averaged 83.5 points on 40.5 percent shooting during their current four-game road skid overall.

Charlotte was competitive but still lost 96-89 at Orlando on Tuesday to drop to 1-6 on the road. Gerald Henderson scored 22 points and rookie Bismack Biyombo added season highs with 11 and 10 boards for the Bobcats, who led by three at the half and got within a basket late in the fourth quarter before losing for the eighth time in nine contests.

"We are playing better,' Henderson said. "I think it is at the end of games that we have to lock down and execute. I think we will be better off with experience and kind of have to learn to win.'

Henderson is averaging 21.7 points on 22-of-38 shooting in the last three games. He's made 14 of 24 shots while totaling 42 points in the last two versus Chicago.

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