ATS HOOPS Overall – CBB: 34-30 NBA: 79-88
ATLANTA HAWKS (+10.5) @ ORLANDO MAGIC
I’m predicting a closer than expected battle tonight as the Hawks currently sit in the 8th spot in the East. ATL rolled into Orlando in mid-December and pulled the upset with a 98-87 victory, and that was without the newly acquired Mike Bibby and injuries to do-everything 6th man Josh Childress (12 ppg, 5 rpg, 58 fg%) and the 6-11, 280 lbs Zaza Pachulia. On that night, Josh Smith utilized his athleticism on the Magic’s perimeter oriented forwards (Rashard “I hate rebounding & defense” Lewis & Hedu Turkoglu) to the tune of 25 pts, 16 reb, 5 ass, 4 blks, & 4 stls. I expect the same type of dominance tonight from Mr. Smith, while Al Horford & Zaza Pachulia should keep D-Howard from completely dominating the glass.
She better not distract my Hawks tonight!
The Magic still haven’t found a solid guard rotation, so expect the Mike Bibby & Joe Johnson combo to easily outscore the undersized shooting-challenged guards for Stan “Ron Jeremy” Van Gundy. And just from reading the Hot-Lanta papers this morning...
Just from reading the Hot-Lanta papers this morning, the Hawks are determined to prove their a playoff-caliber squad and expect to roll into Orlando with a confidence that will lead them to a victory…Hawks in a buzzer-beater
NEW JERSEY NETS (+13) @ HOUSTON ROCKETS
I still believe RJ & Vinsanity desperately want to prove their not J-Kidd dependent, and will make a run at the finally playoff spot in the East. Currently, they sit a half game behind the Hawks and are playing the finale of winless 5-game road-trip. While Devin Harris has struggled after his opening game for the Nets, nothing should improve his confidence more than playing against Rafer “No-D” Alston, not to mention, PG Marcus Williams has looked sharp (last 5 games:12 ppg, 48-3pt%) either alongside or splitting-time for Coach Lawrence “I still look like a little brother from Gossip Girls” Frank. Throw-in 7-footer Nenad Krstic’s return to his pre-injury form (last 4 games: 11 ppg, 9 rpg, & 1 bpg) and plenty of other big-bodies to capitalize on the undersized PFs of the Rockets (Boone, Diop, & Sean Williams) and I see the Nets controlling the glass tonight. While T-Mac has been unbelievable, I expect RJ to match-up quite well and to see him and Vince actually exploit the Rockets frontcourt by attacking the rim and taking plenty of trips to the charity-stripe…Rockets by less than double-digits
NEW YORK KNICKS @ DALLAS MAVERICKS (-13.5)
After dropping 4 of 5 and criticism that the J-Kidd trade may have been a huge mistake, the Mavs looked dominate Saturday in a 20-point home-victory against the Nets and played with a playoff-level intensity. With the postseason still not a guarantee (Dallas only sits a ½ game away from the 8th-spot), I expect to see the Mavs to play with the same type of passion as they did on Saturday even against the league's bottom-feeders the rest of the way. Especially with J-Howard continuing to struggle to fit in with his new playmaker, I expect Avery to play his regular rotation even if the Mavs are up by 20. And tonight, with one of the worst road teams in the league (6-24) in the Knickerbockers who can pack-it-in with the best of them once their down double-digits, I can’t see how Dallas doesn’t win this by more than 20…Mavs by 21-25 points