NBA Prediction Wednesday Night Preview- Golden State vs. Los Angeles

Golden State Warriors (41-24, 20-14 away) @ Los Angeles Clippers (45-20, 27-5 home) 03/12- 10:30PM EST

 

Line: LAC -7.0

Over/Under- 211.0

 

The Golden State Warriors will travel into Staples Center on Wednesday night to try to slow down the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers, who have won eight straight and lead the Pacific Division.

 

The Warriors (41-24) have been on a tear of their own, but thanks in large part to Blake Griffin, the Clippers (45-20) are enjoying their longest win streak of the season and lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 115.0 per game to bump their season average to 107.8 per contest.

 

Griffin, coming off a 37-point performance in a 112-105 win over the Phoenix Suns on Monday night has now scored at least 20 points a game over a career-high 23 games. Over that span he is now averaging 27.8 to boost his season average to 24.4 points per game.

 

He is one of those players you can’t stop,” teammate Danny Granger said.

 

The four-time All-Star has developed his game year after year since coming into the league and everybody is taking notice.

 

Blake has been doing it all year long, dominating all year long, he’s being consistent,” guard Darrin Collison said. “I think we are used to it which is a good thing. … He’s just reading the defense, if they’re pressing on him, he’s using his strength. If they’re playing off him, he’s taking that shot. He’s playing with a lot confidence right now.”

 

As well as the Clippers have been playing, the Warriors are right there with them having won five in a row to put themselves four games behind them in the Pacific Division and now sit three games ahead of the Dallas Mavericks and Memphis Grizzlies for the sixth spot in the Western Conference.

 

Golden State took apart the Mavericks on Tuesday night winning easily 108-85 thanks in part to another great defensive performance to give themselves a bit of breathing room against the teams chasing them for a playoff spot. They held the Mavs to just 36.6 percent shooting.

 

It’s a big-time win for us,” coach Mark Jackson said. “If you lose this game, then all of the sudden there’s three teams again within striking distance. I think this gave us some breathing room, especially with the fact that we have a big game (Wednesday) night against a red-hot Clippers team.”

 

The Warriors with their high-scoring offense combined with their stingy defense of late are winning by an average of 15.7 points over their last four games.

 

It’s fun,” Golden State reserve Jordan Crawford said who put up 19 points against the Mavericks. “To be on a streak like this heading into the playoffs and to move up the standings, it brings the competitive spirit out in everybody.”

 

Leading scorer Stephen Curry (23.3 ppg) has been slowed down offensively as he tries to play through a quadriceps injury averaging only 14.8 points during their winning streak.

 

With the final clash of these two teams for the regular-season on Wednesday night, there is no love-lost between them, so expect a high intensity game and perhaps some chippiness. Both teams are on fire, but oddsmakers are giving the home town Clippers a big (minus 7-0) point edge but stay up-to-date on the latest spread as game time approaches right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Golden State has won seven of the last ten against the Clippers but have dropped six of eight at Staples Center and playing in the second of a back-to-back I favor the Clippers to win a good one to increase their lead in the Pacific Division.

 

Prediction/Pick- Los Angeles

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

 

Heat seal playoff spot behind Wade, LeBron

Heat Snap Three-Recreation Dropping Streak

 

MIAMI – LeBron James set the tone pregame. Dwyane Wade took over in the fourth quarter.

And the Miami Heat received a win they desperately needed.

Wade scored 13 of his 22 points within the last period and led a vital 12-0 run down the stretch, James led all scorers with 23 points and the Warmth clinched a playoff spot by beating the Washington Wizards 99-90 on Monday night time to snap a 3-sport dropping streak.

"We would have liked a win," Wade stated. "We would have liked this win."

Chris Bosh scored 22 for the Heat (forty four-17), who moved within one sport of Indiana (46-17) in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio (forty six-sixteen) for the league's best report. Ray Allen added 13 for Miami, which was coming off a visit the place it misplaced at Houston, San Antonio and Chicago, the last of these coming in a late collapse on Sunday.

Dwyane Wade

 

Dwyane Wade, driving previous the Wizards' Martell Webster, scored 13 of his 22 factors in the ultimate interval and led a vital 12-0 run down the stretch.

Wade hasn't usually performed back-to-backs this season. He did this time, and the Warmth simply rolled with him within the final minutes on the way in which to avoiding what would have been their first 4-sport slide since 2011.

"He made the right performs," James stated.

Bradley Beal scored 18 factors, Martell Webster added 17 and Drew Gooden scored 15 for the Wizards. Marcin Gortat completed with 14 factors and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds – 10 of them within the first quarter alone.

John Wall finished with eight assists for Washington.

"I'm happy with our guys," Wizards coach Randy Wittman stated. "They stored battling, working. We didn't shoot it the way in which we're able to. We bought some beauty. We shared the ball. We attacked the entire game."

Washington led eighty four-eighty three midway by the fourth, when Wade took over.

A three-level play put Miami ahead to stay and he then had assists on Miami's subsequent three baskets – a brief jumper and then a 3-pointer from Bosh, then a layup by James.

Wade capped the run with a score of his personal, on the way to his first thirteen-point, three-assist fourth quarter since Feb. 18, 2009. His thirteen within the fourth marked his highest-scoring quarter this season, and got here with him taking part in consecutive days for the primary time since Jan. 4 and 5. It was solely the third time all season he's appeared in both nights of a back-to-again.

Both teams shot only 9 free throws; despite being in assault mode, James did not shoot one for the second straight sport, simply the second time that's occurred in his profession, the first coming in December 2003, early in his rookie season.

"Very stunned," James mentioned.

James went scoreless for a stretch of almost quarter-hour within the first half, and still easily led everyone with 19 points by intermission. The whole thing of his first-half scoring came in two spectacular spurts – three three-pointers in as many tries over a span of two:forty three early in the sport, then 10 straight Heat points in a stretch of three:23 late in the half.

"I felt good about this recreation the minute, the second I noticed LeBron come into the health club right this moment," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We had an early walkthrough and he ran within the gym. Got here as much as every single individual, participant and coach and shook everyone's hand and stated, `Let's go. Let's prepare for this sport.' That is what leaders do."

Miami's lead was 12 early in the third earlier than Washington went on a ten-zero run, with Gortat scoring the primary eight and Trevor Booker's jumper getting the Wizards within fifty nine-fifty seven. And after Miami rebuilt the result in seven, Washington took off on one other fast burst, this one sufficient to give the Wizards their first lead since 1-zero.

In lower than 2 minutes, Washington outscored Miami 11-zero, Webster scoring six in 25 seconds. He head-faked James in the air to start what turned a 4-point play, then had an alley-oop dunk off a Wall cross on the subsequent possession as Washington took a 65-sixty four lead.

"I think we match up with those guys perfect," Wall said. "We battle those guys."

Allen had two three's for the Heat late within the third, and it was seventy three-all getting into the fourth. The Wizards scored solely 17 factors in the final 12 minutes.

"We saw just a few issues," Wade stated, "and we were capable of take advantage."

 

Recreation notes

Gortat had never grabbed greater than nine rebounds in a quarter. He is the twelfth participant with 10 boards in 1 / 4 this season… Washington missed its first six pictures, as Miami took a ten-1 lead… March 10 matches the second-earliest date for Miami clinching a playoff spot. The Warmth did it on March eight final season… Warmth F Udonis Haslem made his 700th common-season look… Washington outrebounded Miami 50-33.

 

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Griffin pours in 37 as Clips take 8th in row

Griffin, Clippers Win Eighth Straight

 

L. A. – Blake Griffin is nothing short of a lightning rod – for teammates, opposing players and referees. He can also play any sort of game required to keep the Los Angeles Clippers close to the top of the Western Conference standings.

Griffin scored 22 of his 37 factors in the first quarter and made 14 of 16 photographs earlier than fouling out, and the Clippers beat the Phoenix Suns 112-a hundred and five on Monday evening for his or her eighth straight victory.

"I didn't even understand he had 22 within the first quarter till halftime," level guard Chris Paul stated. "I felt like the largest dummy, because he in all probability should have gotten the ball even more than he did. I know he will get off to good starts and stuff, but tonight it was crazy."

Things got testy with 5:28 remaining, as Griffin and P.J. Tucker started wrestling on the ground after they jockeyed for position in the paint on a missed three-level shot by Matt Barnes and Griffin fell on high of Tucker.

Blake Griffin and P.J. Tucker

Richard Mackson/USA AT THE MOMENT Sports activities

Blake Griffin and P.J. Tucker briefly scuffled on the ground within the fourth quarter, an change for which Tucker was ejected, while Griffin stayed within the sport – until he fouled out with three:23 remaining.

The 2 had to be separated, and the game was delayed while referees Bennie Adams, Jason Phillips and Matt Boland examined the video monitor to type it all out. Tucker was charged with a unfastened ball foul and then ejected, while Griffin stayed in the game – till he fouled out with three:23 remaining.

"You just sort of assess the play because it occurs," Griffin mentioned. "In the moment, I do not wish to put my crew or myself in a nasty scenario. So you simply have to weigh the professionals and cons at that time. Just to do one thing silly and get kicked out or suspended would not help. We already have injuries and guys who are banged up, so we don't need that."

The 4-time All-Star entered Monday having drawn a league-excessive 469 fouls, forty greater than Houston's Dwight Howard.

"Blake comes in and he does his job. They usually do not like it," coach Doc Rivers mentioned. "Blake will get hit as a lot as anybody. I think we now have all seen it, and it will get outdated. I do know it's very tough for him, however I believe he's doing the fitting thing. He puts his arms up – as a result of if he reacts, like some folks say he ought to, then he gets thrown out, he gets suspended, and it hurts the crew."

Darren Collison scored 20 factors and Paul added 17 factors and 11 assists for the Pacific Division leaders, who were 55.1 % from the field and improved to 23-1 when shooting a minimum of 50 p.c.

Goran Dragic had 23 factors and five assists throughout a foul-plagued 33 minutes for the Suns, who slipped a half-game behind idle Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West and are 1 half behind Dallas. Phoenix hasn't made the postseason since 2010 underneath coach Alvin Gentry, now a Clippers affiliate head coach.

"Give Phoenix credit. They're playing for his or her lives proper now and they want every win, so you knew they weren't going away," Rivers stated. "At least that is the way in which I felt on the bench."

Gerald Green, who had a career-excessive forty one factors for the Suns in final Thursday's 128-122 win over Oklahoma City, completed with sixteen factors after averaging 23.four over his previous thirteen games. Miles Plumlee, enjoying his second game after lacking the previous two because of a sprained proper knee, had 12 factors and nine rebounds as all five Suns starters scored in double figures.

Dragic came in averaging 20.5 points, third within the league amongst level guards behind Stephen Curry (23.5) and Kyrie Irving (21.5). But he picked up his third foul 2 minutes into the second quarter and wasn't a factor till the fourth, when the Suns rallied from a 19-level deficit with eight:11 remaining and received it all the way down to 109-105 on Dragic's layup with 32.5 seconds to play.

But that was as shut as they bought, as Barnes made three of 4 free throws to shut it out.

Los Angeles was leading one zero five-95 when Griffin picked up his sixth foul on a charge under the basket. Dragic made a pair of driving layups 28 seconds apart to slice the margin to one zero five-99 with 2:21 to go. But Paul responded with a sixteen-foot bank shot and two free throws for an eight-point cushion with 1:21 left.

"They got up early on us. We fell again and continued to play. It was just a type of conditions where it was too little, too late," Tucker mentioned. "It occurs to us quite a bit. In opposition to the top teams in the league, you'll be able to't get down by a lot early. Even coming again and making it shut on the end isn't enough.

"We ran out of gas."

 

Sport notes

Clippers G Jamal Crawford was on the inactive record for the fourth time in five video games due to a left calf strain. He tried to play via it during Saturday's win over Atlanta, but spent only 9 1-2 minutes on the courtroom and attempted two shots – each of which missed. "I don't know when he's coming again. I just do not know," Rivers said. "I did not assume he seemed good the opposite night time, just working. I do not become involved very often with that stuff, however he wasn't operating pure, so we'll just wait till he is back to playing 100%.".. The Clippers have scored at a hundred or extra factors in 16 straight home games since their loss to the Suns. It is their longest such streak for the reason that 1983-84 season, their last one in San Diego.

 

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NBA Prediction Tuesday Night Preview- San Antonio vs. Chicago

NBA Free Pick Spurs vs Bulls

San Antonio Spurs (46-16, 23-8 away) @ Chicago Bulls (35-28, 19-11 home) 03/10- 8:00PM EST

 

Line: SAS -4.0

Over/Under: 188.0

 

The red-hot San Antonio Spurs will be looking for revenge on the road against another team that has been playing well of late… the Chicago Bulls, as both teams will battle on Tuesday night at the United Center.

 

All the Spurs have done since the Bulls beat them 96-86 back in January is rattle off 13 of 16 wins and are enjoying a six-game win streak all while going on a offensive surge scoring an average of 106.6 points per game over their last 16 games while allowing 101.6 points per contest.

 

Last Thursday, the Spurs (46-16) were able to exact revenge on the Miami Heat with a 111-87 home win and will be looking for the same results against the defensive minded Bulls who also defeated the Heat at home on Sunday with a 95-88 overtime win.

 

Following their big win over the two-time defending champions, San Antonio survived a letdown at the hands of the lowly Orlando Magic on Saturday night with a 121-112 victory to keep their winning streak alive.

 

It’s always hard after a big win against Miami, the emotions,” Tony Parker said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t come out flat, and Orlando, they came out firing.” They were shooting the ball very well from outside. They are young and wanted to prove something. They made it hard on us but it’s a big win for us.”

 

As well as the Spurs have been playing since their Chicago defeat, the Bulls (35-28) have also been on fire winning eleven of their last fourteen games and six of seven at home as they have been playing balanced basketball averaging 93.1 on offense and allowing 92.2 on defense.

 

They are a team with heart that plays hard for all 48 minutes and Sunday’s big win over the Heat as given them more of reason to feel good about themselves as the playoffs near.

 

I want what they have—a championship,” Joakim Noah said of the Heat. “One day, we are going to have to get through those guys.”

 

Chicago is in the middle of a challenging six-game stand that has seen them lose to the Memphis Grizzlies and bounce back with a huge win over the Heat, but after the Spurs will still be faced with the likes of the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. Wow… talk about a tough stretch games! No doubt, defense will be the key for the Bulls to contain these high scoring teams in the coming days.

 

The Spurs have lost five-of-eight to the Bulls in the series, but oddsmakers have given the edge for Tuesday’s game making them a (minus -4.0) point favorite in Chicago where they will be looking for their second straight win in the Windy City. In what promises to be an entertaining well-played game for both teams, stay in the know with all the latest spreads on the game up until tipoff right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Tough one to call on this one as both teams are playing great ball, but I will favor the home-town Bulls to win in a close one as they continue to build their confidence as they playoffs near.

 

Prediction/Pick- Chicago

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

NBA Prediction Tuesday Night Preview/Pick- Portland vs. Memphis

 

Portland Trail Blazers (42-21, 18-13 away) @ Memphis Grizzlies (36-26, 19-14 home) 03/11- 8:00PM EST

 

Line: MEM -3.5

Over/Under: 198.0

 

After dropping two games in the state of Texas, the Portland Trail Blazers hope to get it together as they will go into FedEx Forum on Tuesday night to battle the surging Memphis Grizzlies.

 

The Trail Blazers (42-21) dropped back-to-back games after giving away fourth quarter leads… first to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night losing 103-98 then on Sunday to the Houston Rockets falling in defeat 118-113 in overtime.

 

In both fourth quarter games, the Blazers were outscored by an average of 8.0 points, shooing 41.7 percent from the field and 75.0 percent from the charity stripe… Portland is among the league’s best from the free throw line with 80.7 percent.

 

That Blazers defensive collapse in the fourth quarter resulted in the Rockets outscoring Portland 33-21 to send the game into overtime.

 

That was a tough loss,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “A game, I thought we did a good job of controlling it for a good part of it. We had our opportunities to win it. They made some tough shots. I thought we overcame some adversity and still put ourselves in a position to win, but we didn’t close it out.”

 

Portland still ranks among the best with 107.7 points per game and LaMarcus Aldridge is doing his part in scoring averaging with 29.0 ppg and 14.5 rebounds on this five-game trip so far but the Blazers as a whole will need to play some defense if they want to end their road trip that takes them through the Southwest Division on a more positive note. After Memphis, they will travel back to Texas to face the San Antonio Spurs and than end the trip versus the New Orleans Pelicans.

 

Against Memphis in 24 games, Aldridge has struggled averaging only 15.9 points… his lowest against any other NBA team.

 

Having won back-to-back games and winners of four of five, the Memphis Grizzlies (36-26) is a team that seems to peaking at the right time and much of their success is because of their defensive intensity to provide them with a nice balance on both sides of the ball as everyone is getting involved.

 

Everybody is pitching in, and we are going to need everybody to continue to do that for the remainder (of the season),” guard Tony Allen said. “Be ready when their number is called.”

 

The Grizzlies have won four straight against the Trail Blazers and with their recent play, the oddsmakers have the confidence that they will get it done again by making them a (minus -3.5) point favorite against the visiting Blazers, but get the latest odds up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.

 

I too, have that confidence in the Grizzlies to continue playing with success the rest of the way and see them being able beat the Blazers come Tuesday night as they continue to make a strong playoff push.

 

Prediction/Pick- Memphis

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

 

Dennis Rodman Won’t Go Back to North Korea

Image (1) dennis-rodman1.jpg for post 114459

In an interview with ESPN’s Mark Schwarz, Dennis Rodman stated he received’t return to North Korea if we don’t need him to return. Recent off a 3-week stint at an alcohol rehabilitation facility, a fedora-wearing Rodman explained the motives behind his earlier two trips to the nation.

“At least somebody tried,” Rodman said. “In order that’s how I have a look at it. You understand, I don’t wish to be a hero, I don’t need to be this, I don’t want to be that. I simply wished to be, just do completely happy issues and do nice issues in life. That’s all I wanted to do. That’s it.”

Rodman’s trips to North Korea, along with his perceived shut relationship with Kim Jong Un, had been the subject of a lot criticism from diplomats. And as with many issues Rodman does, they took on a circus-like component.

Whereas it seems Rodman might have taken a number of the backlash to coronary heart, he doesn’t want to be seen as a troublemaker.

“I don’t need folks to look at me as the satan or evil person,” Rodman told ESPN. “If I put anybody in hurt’s means, I apologize, you already know.”

Then waving his hands in a circle on the digital camera, Rodman mentioned, “When you don’t want me to return there ever again, I gained’t return.”

 

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Brooks: Durant could be scoring even more

LOS ANGELES – With the NBA season heading down the stretch and the MVP race seemingly a two-identify toss-up between LeBron James and Kevin Durant, Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Durant might put up even greater point totals if he selected.

"Let's face it: If he needed to attain a bunch of points or greater than he's scoring now, he actually could do that," Brooks said earlier than the Thunder played the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. "His assist level has gone up, he impacts the game. Defensively, he impacts the sport. He can guard 1 via 5. So a variety of issues that he does (are) all about the team."

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant entered Sunday leading the league with 31.8 points per sport, but Thunder coach Scott Brooks says that complete could possibly be even greater if the star forward selected.

Durant entered Sunday's game averaging a profession-excessive 31.eight points per game, however his 5.5 assists per sport are additionally a career-best mark for the seven-yr veteran.

On Sunday he had a triple-double through three quarters and finished with 27 factors, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in the Thunder's 114-one hundred ten loss to the Lakers.

While Durant leads the league with 10 video games of 40 or extra points this season, Brooks said the rangy ahead really stood out with his all-round recreation while Russell Westbrook was sidelined with a knee harm for 2 months.

"When he was out, (Durant) undoubtedly needed to proceed to guide us," Brooks stated. "Not solely on the courtroom, but off the court. Simply from the emotional standpoint of losing Russell, he needed to wrap that type of stress around his recreation and proceed to work our approach as a team through that. It is not simple dropping gamers, (particularly) a dynamic player like Russell is. However Kevin got here in and led us.

"He improved his defense and his playmaking, the ball was in his arms and the selections have been extra so in his palms and he did an excellent job with that. With including Russell now, it gives us two dynamic gamers, and that's higher. That's better for us because you possibly can't load up on one. The thing about KD, he knows that he has the flexibility to affect the sport on each ends and he does it every night time. The consistency stage that he has, it's exceptional that he is so constant each night."

Westbrook returned to the lineup after the All-Star break and averaged 21 points on 50 p.c shooting from the sector and 48.4 p.c taking pictures from 3-level range in his first seven games.

"He's definitely all the way in which back," Brooks stated. "It's just the conditioning. I feel that's nearly there. It has been a pair weeks now. A variety of times while you miss a big portion of the season – the 30 games he is missed – the conditioning is obviously not going to be as much as par. However he is back. He is undoubtedly back."

Brooks mentioned he was conscious the Durant vs. James talk will continue the rest of the season, especially on days like Sunday when the Thunder followed James' Miami Warmth on ABC's national broadcast.

"I have a look at every crew, each recreation," Brooks stated. "I comply with box scores, I comply with players. But I don't have a look at it that means. They're two nice players. They both are wonderful teammates and great gamers. They will be in that (MVP) discuss for the following 10 years most likely. I do not take a look at it that approach. I do know it is great protection, it is great storylines, but Kevin is basically focused on helping us win video games."

But when Durant did take residence the award for the first time in his career, denying James his fifth MVP?

"It's something that in the event you get, it's nice, however it's not on Kevin's ideas every day," Brooks mentioned. "There is no question, basketball players, you love the opportunity to get the MVP. The factor I like about Kevin, he's about successful. He's about successful over particular person awards. And he is been constant. He's had MVP years like three years in a row now, and the factor I like about him, he comes again a bit of bit better. That is exhausting to do.

"Two years (in the past), it was exhausting to come back back better than he did last 12 months. Then this yr, he was higher. And he's better additionally with completely different conditions and some injuries that we had to play by way of and he is achieved an amazing job of main us. His numbers converse for themselves.

"If he will get it, great. However now we have greater issues to fret about."

 

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Mavericks extend Pacers’ slide to 4 games

 

DALLAS – Devin Harris rolled via the lane, hit a layup and pumped his fist when the whistle blew for a foul.

Vince Carter tipped a unfastened ball 3 times earlier than emphatically grabbing the rebound, scowling whereas the play was nonetheless occurring in a sequence that led to a three-pointer.

The Dallas Mavericks have proven some combat to reply to their longest shedding streak of the season. Now it's time for the Indiana Pacers to do the same.

Harris and Monta Ellis scored 20 factors apiece and the Mavericks extended Indiana's season-long skid to four games with a one hundred and five-ninety four victory in opposition to the Jap Convention leaders Sunday evening.

The Mavericks had misplaced three straight, capped by a woeful defeat in Denver, before coming house to beat a pair of playoff teams in Portland and Indiana.

Dallas needed to rally past the Trail Blazers within the fourth quarter after blowing a 30-point lead, and the Pacers came back from 17 down within the first half and almost worn out one other double-digit deficit after halftime.

"In these two games, we've run the gamut of just about everything," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle mentioned. "The early big lead, dropping the entire lead, getting down and combating back. And tonight, this can be a high-two workforce within the league. We did it by protecting an actual even, strong disposition."

Paul George had 27 factors and 11 rebounds to steer the Pacers, who stayed a sport and a half up on Miami for the East lead after the Heat misplaced in additional time to Chicago.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 14 factors on a tricky taking pictures night time as the Mavericks swept the two-sport season sequence from the Pacers, who had been coming off their most lopsided loss in a 26-point defeat at Houston.

"Stay the course," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "It is a robust stretch of the schedule. We knew it was going to be tough. You're going to need to play at your finest to win at Dallas, at Houston."

Carter's gritty offensive rebound led to a 3-pointer from Harris, and the 37-yr-outdated Carter hit from lengthy vary a short while later to put Dallas up 87-seventy seven halfway by the fourth quarter.

"It is a spiritually uplifting play for our staff and all people in the enviornment," Carlisle stated. "You see a 37-12 months-outdated man go up three times and then tear it down. That is big time, and he's showing you the way a lot he needs to win."

Indiana was inside 89-87 when Harris, who had a season excessive in factors, had his fist-pumping three-level play and Nowitzki hit a pair of free throws.

Ellis, who matched huge males Nowitzki and Samuel Dalembert with eight rebounds, put the sport away in the closing 2 minutes with a pair of jumpers that gave the Mavericks one more double-digit lead at 102-92 with fifty six seconds left.

"We actually responded after shedding three in a row," stated Harris, who also had a season-excessive four steals. "Clearly we began off properly and ended properly, however had some trouble in between."

George was right on his scoring average from his final two journeys to Dallas, however the Pacers could not get the defensive stops wanted to make it three straight wins in Dallas.

"They simply made massive shots," George said. "Monta got scorching and hit a few large shots. Game over."

Lance Stephenson kept Indiana within the sport early with 18 first-half points on 7-of-eight taking pictures, but was limited by foul trouble in the second half and finished with 21. George Hill scored 20 for Indiana.

Shawn Marion scored 12 for Dallas, and Jose Calderon and Carter had 10 apiece. Dallas' reserves outscored Indiana's 41-4.

A sluggish offense had so much to do with the Pacers' early deficit, and their incapacity to complete a second-half rally.

In the first half, Indiana had one shot-clock violation and three other instances when the buzzer went off after a shot was taken. Then the Pacers hit just one basket in the last 4 minutes after getting inside 92-89 on shot inside by David West.

"They made more plays," Vogel mentioned. "That is the form of thing that's been occurring to us on a gamely basis it looks like."

Nowitzki had plenty of open seems in the first half however simply couldn't hit many, ending 2 of 8 with five points before halftime. He was three of 14 from the sector for the game.

 

Sport notes

Mavericks F Jae Crowder left the game with an belly pressure… Dallas recalled G Gal Mekel from the NBDL. He performed three video games for the Texas Legends in his first motion since proper knee surgery on Jan. 17… The Mavericks honored Mike Modano at halftime a night after his No. 9 was retired by the Dallas Stars in the same building… A fan gained $10,000 at halftime by getting three large, inflatable cube to land on a greenback signal, drawing an enormous roar from the group.

 

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NBA Prediction Friday Night Preview/Pick- Indiana vs. Houston

 

Indiana Pacers (46-15, 17-11 away) @ Houston Rockets (42-19, 24-7 home) 03/07- 9:30PM EST

 

Line: HOU -4.0

Over/Under: 201.0

 

Another great game on the docket on Friday night as two of the NBA’s best, the Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets will take to the court on Friday night.

 

The Pacers became the first team in the NBA this season to lock up a playoff spot but having lost two straight has put their seeding in the Eastern Conference in doubt. The Pacers were running away with the East and were the early front runners but now have the Miami Heat hot on their heels in what many figure to be a two team race to the Finals for the East.

 

Indiana (46-15) has lost two consecutive games for only the second time this season and will try to avoid losing three straight for the first time against the Rockets… a team that has dominated the East this season.

 

The Pacers, it seemed all year could do no wrong, beating everybody in their path and had a stretch of winning 13 of 15 games but since Jan. 22 have put the brakes on and are just 13-8 to allow the Heat to contend for the top spot in the Eastern Conference but there is still some basketball left to be played.

 

But, if they want to stay in the top spot, they will need to get back to what has gotten them to where they are and that is defense… allowing 97.9 points per game over their last 21 games compared to 88.3 which propelled them to a 33-7 record to start the season.

 

Over the last 20 games or so, we just haven’t had our mojo,” forward David West said. “We’ve got to change some things up because these last 20 games is going to be a battle.”

 

Indiana has been shaky against the Western Conference recently having lost three of their last five and will try to stop the bleeding against a Rockets team that has had their way with weaker Eastern opponents having won nine straight against the East, are 19-3 overall and have are 13-0 at home, including their big 106-103 win over the Heat on Tuesday.

 

All-Stars Dwight Howard and James Harden continue to pace the Rockets (42-19) and are enjoying a 13-2 stretch as they try to catch the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs for the top spot in the West.

 

On the minds for the Rockets on Friday night will be revenge as they were embarrassed 114-81 back on Dec. 20 in Indiana.. that was Houston’s fourth straight loss in the series to the Pacers.

 

The game in Indiana, we didn’t play our brand of basketball,” Howard said. “They were a lot better team than we were earlier in the season. We understand the game as a team a little bit better. I think it’s going to be a different game and we are looking forward to that matchup.”

 

And with the way the Rockets are playing of late, the oddsmakers agree as they have made the home Rockets a (minus -4.0) point favorite on Friday night, but get the latest spread on the game up until tipoff right here at Wonder Punter.

 

This is an important game for the Pacers to get back on track and show they are still the team to beat in the NBA and I expect them to have a great all-around game on Friday night. All signs point to the Rockets winning but I’m going to go with the Pacers on this one and feel they can steal one at the Toyota Center. It’s going to be close game but predict the Pacers in a tight one.

 

Prediction/Pick- Indiana Pacers

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

NBA Prediction Friday Night Preview/Pick- Memphis vs. Chicago

 

Memphis Grizzlies (34-26, 16-12 away) @ Chicago Bulls (34-27, 18-10 home) 03/07- 7:00PM EST

 

Line: CHI -2.0

Over/Under: 179.5

 

In what promises to be a great game, two of the league’s hottest teams since the beginning of the new year, the Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls will battle on Friday night at the United Center.

 

Both teams struggled for the first two months of the season, disappointing many around the league as they were a combined 25-35 from Oct-Dec, but since the start of January have put together 43-18 combined record.

 

The Bulls (34-27) has been the hotter of the two as they will be in search of their 11th victory in 13 games, including five straight at home by an average of 19.6 points.

 

Defense as been the swan song of the Bulls under head coach Tom Thibodeau, but it has been the offense surge sort of speak that has allowed them to win 10 of 12 giving them a nice balance between defense and offense.

 

A lot of guys are stepping up on this team right now,” said Taj Gibson, who is averaging a career-high 13.4 this season. “Everyone is working hard and helping in whatever way we need. The guys are just focused on the team right now.”

 

All-star Joakim Noah has been the leader in place of Derrick Rose this season averaging 13.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 7.2 assists while shooting 54.o percent over his last 13 games, but has been less than effective against the Grizzlies over his last six games averaging just 7.9 points on 41.9 percent shooting. However, power forward Carlos Boozer (14.4 ppg) is averaging a career-best 20.1 points per contest against the Grizzlies.. his highest versus any other NBA team.

 

Memphis (34-26) will try to bounce back after an unexpected and disappointing 104-93 road loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night. The were without the services of power forward Zach Randolph (flu) and point guard Mike Conley (17.3) went 0-8 from the field after going for 22 against Cleveland and 20 versus Washington in back-to-back wins.

 

It was a tough night,” coach Dave Joerger said. “We had some guys, really, really struggle tonight.”

 

The Grizzlies are 7-3 and the Bulls are 8-2 over their last 10 games and the oddsmakers are favoring the Bulls as a slight (minus 2.0) point favorite but stay up to date with the latest spread as they may change before game time right here at Wonder Punter.

 

I’m really looking forward to these two teams clashing on Friday night and feel if Zach Randolph is able to suit up, I’m going to give a slight edge to the visiting Grizzlies to get out of the United Center with a win. Expect a great game with great defenses played on both sides.

 

Prediction/Pick- Memphis Grizzlies

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

NBA Prediction Friday Night Preview/Pick- Portland vs. Dallas

 

Portland Trail Blazers (42-19, 18-11 away) @ Dallas Mavericks (36-26, 19-10 home) 02/07- 8:30PM EST

 

Line: DAL -2.5

Over/Under: 217.0

 

On Friday night, the Portland Trail Blazers take to the road to start a stretch of road games against teams with winning records and first up is the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Arena.

 

The Blazers did well beating up on teams at home with losing records to get them back to winning basketball but now will get the task of playing the first of two five-game road trips this month after enjoying seven of eight at home following the All-Star break.

 

Portland (42-19), with the first leg of their road trip will consist of four of five teams above .500 in the likes of Dallas (36-26), the Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs before completing their trip in New Orleans next Friday night.

 

It’s going to be a real tough road trip for us,” Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge said. “But if we go out and take care of business and keep playing defense like we did tonight, anything is possible.”

 

That defense is in response to their 102-78 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night allowing for season-lows in points and field goal percentage (33.0). Defense wins ballgames and after slumping at 3-7, the Blazers started playing defense allowing an average of 39.7 in field goal shooting and 89.3 points per game… 13.3 below their season mark and the result has led them to win six of seven.

 

Difference is, none of those teams the Blazers beat up on had winning records and against teams that do… they are 1-9 and 3-6 on the road since Jan 18, which was a 127-111 win at Dallas.

 

If the Blazers wish to find success on the road, they must get more production from All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, who missed the first five games after the All-Star game due to a groin injury has been off as he tries to get back into a groove averaging just 15.7 points and 6.7 rebounds since his return over the last three games. Aldridge was a dismal 1 of 13 from the field on Wednesday night… his season worst.

 

My timing is just off,” Aldridge said. “Since coming back, I haven’t felt like my timing has been great.”

 

For the Dallas Mavericks (36-26), they find themselves in a three-game slump after winning 10 of 12 and defense has been a question mark giving up an average of 110 points per contest over their last two road games, including a 115-110 defeat at the hands of the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

 

The Mavericks will also find themselves facing tougher opponents as they will take on four of the league’s top seven teams record-wise, including games against the Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

It’s not going to get easier,” Mavs forward Brandon Wright said. “We just have to come out and play hard. In these home games we have two tough opponents. We just have to keep trucking and we’ll see what happens. We have to lift the level up.”

 

Dallas is 0-6 against the Western Conference’s top five teams since winning in Houston back on Dec. 23 but oddsmakers have made the Mavs a slight (minus -2.5) point favorite against the Blazers, who are 6-9 on the road since Dec. 18… the worst for any team with a record above .500, but get the latest spread on the game up until tipoff right here at Wonder Punter.

 

I can easily see this game being a toss-up but will have to agree with the oddsmakers on this one with the Mavericks winning in a close one at home to earn a quality win.

 

Prediction/Pick- Dallas

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

NBA Prediction Thursday Night Preview/Pick- Heat vs. Spurs

heat vs spurs

Miami Heat (43-15, 19-10 away) @ San Antonio Spurs (44-16, 21-8 home) 03/06- 8PM EST

 

Line: SAS -3.0

Over/Under: 209.0

 

The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs will clash for the second time this season on Thursday night in a rematch from last year’s NBA Finals.

 

The Heat look to bounce back after a tough 106-103 loss at the hands of the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night that saw LeBron James score just 22 points a night after going off for 61 points in a 124-107 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.

 

Playing on the second of a back-to-back, it is safe say the four-time MVP James didn’t have much left in the tank after having the best night of career the night before. James went only 1 of 7 in the second half and spent most of the beginning of the fourth quarter on the bench.

 

I fought through it in the first half. Second half it just wasn’t there for me,” James said. “Got out of rhythm.”

 

Even with an exhausted James unable to perform to his fullest, the Heat (43-15) made a game of it and had their chances in the fourth quarter but just weren’t able to get over the hump as Michael Beasley and Dwayne Wade both scored 24 points apiece to help keep the Heat close.

 

We were able to push back in the fourth quarter and tie the game up,” Wade said. “But we had to exhaust so much energy trying to come back.”

 

With a Wednesday day off, Miami hopes to enter Thursday’s contest a little better rested as they look to sweep the regular-season series over the Spurs following a blowout 113-101 win back in Miami on Jan 26 that saw the Heat lead by as much as 29 points.

 

The Spurs (44-16) hope to have a better showing in the 3-point department come Thursday after going just 6 of 22 from beyond the arc back in Miami. The Spurs will also have a better compliment of starting players against the Heat on Thursday night after missing Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter in the first matchup.

 

San Antonio is 4-1 is their last five games and have been getting it done from long range distance and sharing the basketball, where in their 122-101 victory at Cleveland on Tuesday night, the Spurs hit 12 of their final 18 3-point attempts and the team combined for 39 assists on 43 field goals.

 

That doesn’t happen very often,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “We’ve been doing that really well all year long, but that’s a ridiculous ratio right there.”

 

Those numbers won’t come as easy as they did on Tuesday night for the Spurs but the oddsmakers have given San Antonio the edge making them a (minus -3.0) point favorite but stay up to date on the latest spread up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.

 

The Heat have dominated the Spurs of late winning their last five regular-season game but I will favor the Spurs to get it done at home in what is expected to be a great game.

 

Prediction/Pick- San Antonio

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

Rockets cool off LeBron, survive late Heat comeback

HOUSTON – LeBron James was wiped out – and it confirmed.

Dwight Howard had 22 factors and 16 rebounds, James Harden added 21 factors and the Houston Rockets held James in examine Tuesday night time during a 106-103 victory towards the Miami Warmth.

James had a chance to tie the game with a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it surely was off – identical to most of his second-half photographs.

The four-time MVP completed with 22 factors, one evening after setting a club report with a career-excessive 61 against Charlotte. He acknowledged earlier than Tuesday's sport that he was "extremely tired" and that he spent most of the day sleeping.

James had 19 points by halftime, but appeared to pull at times in the second half and spent the first half of the fourth quarter on the bench. He was 1 for 7 after the break.

"I fought by way of it in the first half. Second half it just wasn't there for me," James stated. "Obtained out of rhythm."

Still, the Warmth minimize their deficit to a few when Michael Beasley hit a 3-pointer with 21.2 seconds left. Harden threw the ball away after that, and Howard by chance hit James in the face after they both went up to attempt to grab an extended move.

James lay on the court holding his damaged nostril for just a few seconds earlier than getting up and slowly strolling to the bench. He has been sporting a protective mask to guard his nostril.

James remained in the game after a timeout, then missed the desperation 3 with Howard in his face.

"I knew I had to put up a heave over top of him," James mentioned. "I felt like I received a very good look – just a little lengthy."

The Rockets used the phrase composed repeatedly after the game to describe their play.

"There's no need for us to get fearful," Howard mentioned of the workforce's mindset after Beasley's three. "Situations like that, the best thing we are able to do is stay composed. If we level our finger or put our heads down, it offers the other crew confidence. That is one thing we've been attempting to work on all yr."

Dwyane Wade had 24 points for the Warmth after sitting out Monday night. Beasley also scored 24, a season excessive.

Miami by no means led, but tied it twice within the fourth quarter. Houston used an 11-2 spurt to take a 104-95 lead with less than three minutes remaining.

"We were able to push again in the fourth quarter and tie the sport up," Wade stated. "But we needed to exhaust a lot energy attempting to come back back."

Houston led by thirteen early within the fourth before two separate runs by the Warmth tied it at ninety one with 7 minutes remaining. The additionally tied it at 93 before Houston used its late run to close it out.

"We did some great things," Rockets coach Kevin McHale mentioned. "We made some plays… I assumed during stretches on this recreation we performed rather well."

The Heat had made consecutive three-pointers to cut the lead to seven early within the fourth quarter when Chris Andersen blocked a shot by Donatas Motiejunas. Andersen stood underneath the basket after the block and taunted Motiejunas, drawing a technical foul.

Miami then used an eight-zero run, which included a three by Beasley, to cut it to 88-87 with 8½ minutes left.

Houston opened the second half with a 9-2 run capped by Chandler Parsons' dunk over James. Shane Battier had a basket for Miami after that, but Houston reeled off six straight points to increase the result in sixty eight-56.

An airball on a three-point attempt by Wade was considered one of three missed pictures by the Heat in that span.

The Rockets were up by 9 quickly after that when Harden launched a protracted alley-oop to Howard, who barely grabbed it in time to sail over Chris Bosh for the dunk.

Howard picked up a foul with about 5 minutes left in the first half when he bumped into James as he was driving to the basket, inflicting him to lose control of the ball, which bounced off James' masks.

A reverse layup by James and a free throw by Wade within the last 20 seconds of the first half minimize Houston's lead to fifty three-fifty two at halftime.

The Rockets jumped out to a 7-0 lead and had been up 39-32 on the end of the first quarter.

Notes

Corridor of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon, and Houston Texans stars Andre Johnson and Arian Foster attended the game, as did Minnesota Vikings operating back Adrian Peterson and former Astros pitcher and 7-time Cy Younger Award winner Roger Clemens… James stated the very best compliments he received following his large game towards Charlotte came from the 2 most important ladies in his life. "My mom and my spouse saying how proud they had been of me and that I by no means cease to amaze them," he stated. "So it is always nice when your loved ones gives you that kind of gratitude and response."

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Report: Danny Granger will sign with the Clippers

 

Does Granger give the Clippers an extra boost? (USATSI)
Does Danny Granger give the Clippers an extra increase? (USATSI)

 

Danny Granger's comeback from knee and calf accidents hasn't exactly gone to plan. Instead of trying to assist the Indiana Pacers overcome the Miami Warmth this postseason, Granger was traded at the deadline to the Philadelphia 76ers for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. The Sixers then turned around and bought Granger out of his contract, permitting him to sign with any team he wished after clearing waivers.

It seems like Granger will spend the rest of the season battling it out in the Western Convention. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles is reporting the Los Angeles Clippers will signal Granger for the remainder of the season on Friday after they finish the paperwork for the deal.

Granger used to be among the finest scorers in the NBA before accidents took away his effectiveness. Over the last two seasons, Granger has performed in simply 34 video games and been a shell of his former self on the courtroom. This yr, he participated in 29 video games for the Pacers, averaging 8.three points on 35.9 % from the sector in 22.5 minutes.

He joins a Clippers group that might probably have a crowded core on the wings. The Clippers are ready to get J.J. Redick back in the mix, including him to Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley, Willie Green, Jamal Crawford, and rookie Reggie Bullock.

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Report: Nets likely to sign Collins for rest of season

 

Jason Collins could stay with the Net the rest of the year. (USATSI)
Jason Collins could stay with the Nets the rest of the 12 months. (USATSI)

 

The Brooklyn Nets confronted a media typhoon once they signed Jason Collins, the primary openly gay athlete to play in one of many four major U.S. sports leagues. There was a priority in some circles that may show to be too much of a distraction. However with Collins' 10-day contract set to run out subsequent week, the New York Post reviews that the Nets are probably retaining Collins not merely for an additional 10-day but for the rest of the season.

In his second game with the Nets, Jason Collins, the primary openly homosexual participant in main American sports activities, obtained a number of more minutes in opposition to the Blazers. After sitting for the primary three quarters, Collins got here in to start the fourth and performed simply over seven minutes, with his lone contribution on the stat line being one shot attempt that acquired blocked.

“Game action is recreation action,” Collins stated afterward. “However tonight, Portland attacked from the beginning, and it was arduous to try to get back into the sport.”

Collins' 10-day contract expires early next week, but the Nets are all but certain to maintain him for the remainder of the season.

through New Net Thornton shows skills on offense | New York Publish.

There'll nonetheless be speculation that the decision to convey Collins on is more about PR than it is about basketball. However the options for the Nets to discover a higher match by way of locker room presence, no matter his sexuality, and on-courtroom skillset are restricted. Collins being re-signed would be a superb factor for the league and keep away from the perception that Collins was reduce on account of his being a distraction.

We'll see what the Nets resolve subsequent week.

HT: HoopsHype

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NBA Prediction Friday Night Preview/Pick- Bulls vs. Mavericks

nba pick

Chicago Bulls (31-26, 14-16 away) @ Dallas Mavericks (36-23, 19-9 home) 02/28- 8:30PM EST

 

Line: DAL -4.5

Over/Under: 191.0

 

The all of a sudden ‘offensive’ minded Chicago Bulls will travel into American Airlines Center on Friday night in search of their eighth victory in nine games against a Dallas Mavericks team riding a four game win streak.

 

We all know the Bulls are a great defensive team under coach Tom Thibodeau as they have been ranked in the top three in the NBA under Thibodeau in his first three seasons and with an 91.3 points allowed per game this season are amongst the tops in the league again in the 2013-14 season… but it’s been the offense that has been stealing headlines of late as the Bulls have scored over 100 points in three of their last four games to put them over a season-high five games over the .500 mark.

 

Chicago (31-26) still ranks last in the league in scoring at 92.9 points per game and after losing Derrick Rose for the season again very easily could’ve just cashed it in and who could blame them?… but there is too much pride in them and Thibodeau has them believing in themselves once again. Let’s not forget they still have a lot of talent in the likes of All-Star Joakim Noah (12.1 ppg, 11.5 rpg), Taj Gibson, Carlos Boozer and a team that loves and takes in pride in hard nose defense and it showed on Wednesday night when they went into Oakland and gave the Golden State Warriors… the NBA’s highest-scoring team a lesson in defense by holding them to just 83 points in a 103-83 win.

 

We’re a confident group,” Noah said. “(Wednesday) was a big night for us. Played against a team with great offensive power, definitely one of the best teams in the West. To come out there and kick their (butts) like that feels great.”

 

Many feel the NBA’s Eastern Conference is a two-team race between the Indianapolis Pacers and Miami Heat, but the Bulls who are chasing the third-seed Toronto Raptors are poised to make a move as they have won four of six on the road and will play three of their next four away from home.

 

Now’s the time to step on the gas pedal and really get ready for the playoffs,” Boozer said.

 

As for the Dallas Mavericks (36-23), they may be in a loaded and dangerous Western Conference, but have to be feeling confident about they way they have been playing of late moving to a season-high 13 games above .500 as Monte Ellis (19.0 ppg) and Dirk Nowitski (21.6 ppg) continue to pace the team.

 

The last 12 games we’ve been playing together as a team,” Ellis said. “I think we are coming along at the right time. I think everybody is tuned in and accepting their role of what they need to do to help us win. The biggest thing is that everyone is playing together.”

 

The Mavs have won 10 of 12, four of five at home and an impressive 13 of 15 at A.A Center against the Bulls, so it is no surprise that oddsmakers have made the Mavericks a (minus -4.5) point favorite, but stay up to date on all the latest odds here at Wonder Punter up until game time.

 

Both teams are playing great and this will come down to the great defense of the Bulls (91.3 points allowed) trying to slow down the good offensive of the Mavericks (104.6 ppg) and although the Mavs can put some points on the board, their defense is questionable giving up 102.1 points per game and with that am going to predict the Bulls doing enough on both ends of the court to get out of Dallas with a big road win.

 

Prediction/Pick- Chicago Bulls

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter

NBA Prediction Friday Night Preview/Pick- Grizzlies vs. Thunder

grizzlies vs thunder

Memphis Grizzlies (32-24, 15-10 away) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (43-15, 23-6 home) 02/28- 8:00PM EST

 

Line: OKC -6.0

Over/Under- 192.0

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder will take to the court on Friday night against the visiting and surging Memphis Grizzlies as they will be trying to avoid their fourth straight defeat at home.

 

It’s been almost five years since the Thunder have experienced a losing streak of this nature but most concerning is that the first three losses have all come at home. Granted, they played the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers, but losing to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers 114-104 on Wednesday night shocked everyone that knows the game of basketball.

 

More surprising is that with the return of point guard Michael Westbrook back in the lineup, the Thunder were expected to run the table the rest of the way, but instead have dropped their first three in the midst of a six-game homestand at Chesapeake Energy Arena and the blame can pointed on the defensive end where they have allowed 106.1 points per game in their last seven compared to an NBA ranking of seventh (97.4 ppg) in their first 51 games.

 

No one in the locker room, including myself, feels good about it,” Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. “The exciting thing is we know we can do better. We just to maximize our potential.

 

Defensively we’re not getting after it enough. We just have to keep focusing on that end and it will turn back around for us.”

 

Despite their recent home slump, the Thunder still hold the best record (43-15) in a very tough and competitive Western Conference and had won 23 of their first 26 before the defense decided to take a break.

 

We just have to figure it out,” Kevin Durant said. “We have to help everybody else out and figure it out what were doing wrong out there. … we just have to focus on the next game.”

 

And that next game is Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that they defeated 86-77 in a strong defensive showing back on Feb. 3 at home, allowing their second-fewest points of the season.

 

The Grizzlies have dropped two of three so far this season to the Thunder but have won four of the last six meetings at OKC, including two big games in last year’s Western Conference semifinal that saw them win in five games.

 

You know it’s always going to be a good game,” Memphis center Marc Gasol said. “Playing over there, you know the place is going to be packed, fans are going to get into it and it’s going to feel like a playoff game. We enjoy that.”

 

Memphis has won five of their last six and seem to be hitting their stride getting it done at stopping the ball, allowing only 94.6 points per game with an impressive 84.9 per road contest since Jan. 5—tops in the league in that stretch.

 

Despite the recent struggles of the Thunder at home and the Grizzlies being able to win in OKC, the oddsmakers have still made Oklahoma City a (minus -6.0) point favorite for Friday night’s game, but stay up to date on the latest spread up until tipoff right here at Wonder Punter.

 

Bloody nose for LeBron

LeBron James of the Miami Warmth suffered a face injuries on a huge dunk about Serge Ibaka inside the Heat's win more than the Thunder Thurs, eventually bleeding about the court before leaving behind the sport and going back again to the locker space.

It seems James suffered the injuries, finished the dunk, and realized he was hurt then. So that's fairly nuts. We'll possess to observe if James misses Sunday's sport against Chicago, or if he's forced to put on a mask to safeguard his encounter.

 

Report: Nets consider adding openly gay Collins

 

The Brooklyn Nets worked out Jason Collins. (USATSI)
The Brooklyn Nets exercised Jason Collins. (USATSI)

 

ESPN reviews that the Brooklyn Nets been employed by out free real estate agent Jason Collins, the initial active male athlete ahead out as gay, and so are contemplating signing him to a agreement.

The Brooklyn Nets exercised Jason Collins this 7 days in Los Angeles, and sources informed ESPN.com on Thurs that they are providing strong concern to signing the free-agent center to the 10-day agreement that could position him to end up being the NBA's first dynamic openly gay player.

Sources with understanding of the Nets has been said by the problem, after letting Thursday's industry deadline pass without creating a offer for the LA Lakers' Jordan Hill, are usually weighing the inclusion of another big guy and have recognized Collins as a primary candidate to become listed on their frontcourt rotation via the 10-day path.

No ultimate decision has been produced, but sources stated the 35-year-aged has been auditioned by the group in an exclusive workout earlier this 7 days to assess the condition of his sport after last using Washington almost this past year.

The Nets are thinking about Jason Collins for a 10-day agreement, which may position him to end up being the NBA's first energetic openly gay gamer.

Nets common manager Billy King didn't attend the exercise, but said he has been told Collins is "in form."

via Brooklyn Nets contemplating signing Jason Collins to 10-day contract – ESPN NY.

Collins offers remained unsigned and queries have surfaced if the factors are basketball associated or out of a problem for the result of the initial out athlete in the locker space. The Nets might use another physical body down low after investing Reggie Evans to the Kings for Marcus Thornton, and Collins offers a large amount of what they're searching for. Collins made an appearance in 38 games last season, six for the Wizards after being traded from the Celtics simply.

 

NBA Prediction Friday Night Preview/Pick- Spurs vs. Suns

nba free pick and prediction

Free NBA Pick & Prediction Spurs vs. Suns

San Antonio Spurs (40-15, 22-7 away) @ Phoenix Suns (32-21, 18-9 home) 02/21- 6:00PM EST

 

Line: SAS -1.0

Over/Under: 209.0

 

The San Antonio Spurs on the heals of two impressive road wins on back-to-back nights against the Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers will look to secure another big road win as they face the Phoenix Suns on Friday night.

 

It seems the All-Star break did the “aging” Spurs some good as they come out of the break looking for their fourth straight win without injured point guard Tony Parker and look to close out their season-high nine game annual road trip by going seven of nine.

 

What was impressive about the Portland victory is they did it without Parker… out with Achilles, groin, back and calf ailments and Tim Duncan who got his customary rest on a back-to-back night.

 

The Spurs (40-15) have gotten a huge lift from reserve Patty Mills as the fifth-year guard went for 29 points in a 111-109 win at Portland without Parker and Duncan.

 

If it wasn’t for him the last couple of nights, we would have really struggled,” san Antonio forward Danny Green said. “He’s doing what Tony usually does, in taking over in that fourth quarter.”

 

Mills has responded with his playing time by averaging 21.0 points over his last seven games, including a season-high 32 points against Charlotte back on Feb. 8 in less than 29 minutes of playing time.

 

For me, it’s just been learning from great guys,” Mills said. “We’ve got three future Hall of Famers and a great coach, so I just sat back and learned.”

 

The Southwest Division leaders have been battling injuries and age all season but have managed to remain amongst the best in the NBA, are still loaded with talent with the likes of Marco Belinelli, Manu Ginobili, Parker, Duncan and now welcome back the addition of Tiago Splitter who missed the last four games with a calf injury.

 

San Antonio has dominated the Suns of late, having won eight of nine, including four straight on the road and taking the first two of the season and will face a Suns team that also won on back-to-back nights to improve to 2-0 since the All-Star break.

 

Coming off back-to-back we were a little tired, a little exhausted,” said Channing Frye who added 15 points and seven rebounds in a 100-94 win over Boston on Tuesday night. “And I think we had some mental breakdowns, but other than that, I think we just battle and grind it out.”

 

Phoenix is in the midst of a nine game stretch that will only see them travel on the road for one road game on Feb 26 at Utah, so sitting 3½ games behind the Pacific Division leading Clippers… are the Suns (32-21) poised to make a move in the second half of the season as the playoffs approach?

 

With the way the Spurs have handled the Suns recently, the oddsmakers have made the Spurs a slim (minus 1.0) point favorite on the road, but stay in the know with the latest spread up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.

 

I like the way both teams are playing this season, but it’s hard to overlook the Spurs and they way they just keep on winning and predict them going into Phoenix and leaving with a close win.

 

Prediction/Pick- San Antonio

 

 

By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter