BOSTON CELTICS (41-41) at NEW YORK KNICKS (55-28)
2013-04-23

Boston will be looking to even up the series at one game apiece when they play in New York on Tuesday.

The first game between these two teams on Saturday ended up in a sloppy 85-78 game in favor of the Knicks. They really clamped down on defense in the fourth quarter and held the Celtics to just eight points in those final 12 minutes. The Knicks are now a sizzling-hot 17-2 SU (15-4 ATS) in their past 19 games, including 11 straight home wins (9-2 ATS) to improve their record at Madison Square Garden to 32-10 SU (25-17 ATS) this season. Boston is just 5-12 SU (7-10 ATS) in its past 17 games overall, and 14-28 SU (16-24-2 ATS) on the road this season.

The Celtics were up by as much as seven points in the third quarter of Game 1, but could not get anything going in the fourth quarter. PF Jeff Green was dominant in the first half of the game, but nowhere to be found in the second. He finished the game with 26 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, but he had just six of those points in the second half. He will need to be aggressive for the entire game if Boston is going to upset New York. SF Paul Pierce also struggled in the second half, but played very well overall for the Celtics with 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes. But both Green and Pierce turned the ball over six times apiece, contributing heavily to the team's 20 miscues. Boston will need more scoring out of PF Kevin Garnett, who played well defensively (nine rebounds), but finished with just eight points on 4-of-12 shooting. PG Avery Bradley was on top of his game though, going 7-of-14 from the field with 15 points, four assists and three steals. The Celtics are going to need a lot more production from their bench as it combined for just four points, missing all seven FG attempts on Saturday. SG Jason Terry was 0-for-5 from the field and 0-for-4 from three-point range in 20 horrible minutes.

The Knicks didnt play their best in Game 1, but they certainly will take the final result, which was a win over a tough division rival. SF Carmelo Anthony was hot in the first quarter, struggled in the second and third, and then heated up again in the fourth quarter for New York. He was hitting timely buckets when the Knicks need him and finished the game with 36 points (13-of-29 FG), six rebounds and four steals. He was focused defensively and played with tremendous effort. SG J.R. Smith went ice-cold from three-point range, going 1-for-7 on his way to a 7-of-19 shooting performance, but it is unlikely that Smith is that off again. New York was able to get only 20 minutes of playing time out of C Tyson Chandler, who took zero shots in the game after coming back from a bulging disc in his neck. Chandler said after the game that he was rusty, so look for him to improve in Game 2. The two difference makers on Saturday were veterans PG Jason Kidd and PF Kenyon Martin. Kidd finished the game with eight points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. He also hit back-to-back threes in the third quarter to stop a very threatening Boston run. Martin was also magnificent off the bench, finishing with 10 points, nine rebounds (five offensive) and two blocks, including a huge swat on Jason Terry that had Madison Square Garden roaring.




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NBA Double Header
2012-01-11

DALLAS MAVERICKS (5-5) at BOSTON CELTICS (4-4)

Sportsbook.com Line & Total: Boston -5.5 & 183.5
Opening Line & Total: Celtics -5.5 & 185.5

The Mavs look to build on their first road win of the season when they visit a well-rested Celtics team on Wednesday night.

After losing their first three road games of the season (the final two by 17 and 22 points), Dallas cruised to a 100-86 win in Detroit on Tuesday. The Mavs, 4-1 (SU and ATS) in their past five games, continued their excellent team defense. In the past six games, no Dallas opponent has shot above 45% from the floor, averaging 89.2 PPG on 42% FG. The Celtics haven’t played since Friday, an ugly 87-74 home loss to Indiana, but none of the Dallas starters logged 30 minutes in Tuesday’s victory, so fresh legs should not be an issue in this one. And even though Jason Kidd (back) won’t play, Delonte West proved himself more than capable of running the point in Detroit with 10 assists, two turnovers and five steals. Since the 2005-06 season, the Mavs are 9-3 ATS (5-7 SU) against the Celtics, and with a moderate point spread, that trend should hold true again.

Dirk Nowitzki posted an incredible +42 rating in his 28 minutes of action on Tuesday, finishing with a team-high 18 points (9-10 FG) and seven rebounds. Six other Mavs scored 9+ points during the balanced attack. Nowitzki has always enjoyed facing Boston in his career, pumping in 27.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG and 3.1 APG in 24 lifetime meetings. The scoring average is his highest versus any opponent in his NBA career, helped by 31.2 PPG (57% FG) in his past five meetings with the Celtics. SG Jason Terry continues to provide a lift off the bench, as he’s second on the team with 13.8 PPG. Terry has been the team’s lone marksman from three-point land (44%), as the rest of the Mavs are a pathetic 25% from downtown this year. SG Vince Carter (9.1 PPG) is finally starting to find his rhythm though, connecting on 9-of-18 FG in his past two games. He started the season in a 20-of-58 funk (35%). Dallas is still waiting for offseason acquisition Lamar Odom to get comfortable with his new team. So far Odom is shooting a laughable 28% FG (21-for-75) including 5-of-31 (16%) from three-point range.

The Celtics offense was horrendous in Friday’s 87-74 loss, especially Paul Pierce (3-of-17 FG). Pierce also had five turnovers in the defeat. It’s been a rough season for Pierce (39% FG), but he usually plays well against Dallas in his career with 22.0 PPG on 46% FG. In contrast to Pierce, Ray Allen has been lights-out on the offensive end all season. He leads the team with 20.4 PPG on 58% FG, including an amazing 63% from three-point land. Allen had 23 (7-of-11 FG) of his team’s 74 points in Friday’s loss. Three other Celtics are shooting better than 50% this year -- Rajon Rondo (14.8 PPG, 52% FG), Kevin Garnett (12.9 PPG, 52% FG) and Brandon Bass (12.9 PPG, 53% FG). Rondo continues to be a great ball distributor (10.5 APG), but he’s committed a career-high 4.1 turnovers per game. His decision making will be key against an improving Mavs defense.


MIAMI HEAT (8-2) at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (4-3)

Sportsbook.com Line & Total: Miami -4 & 203
Opening Line & Total: Heat -4 & 202

There will be no shortage of star power when Miami stops into L.A. for a matchup with the new look Clippers on Wednesday night.

Both teams are traveling from the Pacific Northwest after tough losses: the Heat went to overtime in Golden State while the Clippers lost at Portland Tuesday night. Fatigue is more likely to be a factor for Miami, who has a banged-up superstar and a short bench. The Heat led by 12 after three quarters and by as many as 17 on Tuesday before blowing the game in Oakland. SG Dwyane Wade returned to the lineup for the first time in eight days because of a bruised foot. He played 37 minutes while LeBron James (43) and Chris Bosh (38) played heavy minutes as well.

Wade (21.0 PPG, 5.9 APG) played well in his return to the lineup, scoring 34 thanks to 16 trips to the line at Golden State. But it’s yet to be seen how his foot will react to a back-to-back. Going with pretty much an eight-man rotation, the Heat got nearly no help from their bench, which scored just 16 points in the loss. Veterans Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem came off the bench and posted atrocious plus/minus numbers, -12 and -15 respectively. The Heat got another big game from James (29.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.6 APG), who had 26 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. But the return of Wade coincided with the disappearance of Bosh (19.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG), who had just 16 points and four rebounds against a weak Warriors front line.

The Clippers were competitive in Portland, one of the NBA’s toughest road venues. Blake Griffin (23.7 PPG, 10.6 RPG) posted another double-double (18 points, 12 rebounds), but PG Chris Paul (14.6 PPG, 8.4 APG) is still not being assertive. He scored just 11 points on nine shots with three assists on Tuesday. Perhaps the marquee matchup against the Heat will bring out a little more fire in him. He had 13 points and 19 assists in a home win over Miami with the Hornets last year.

The Clippers continued to struggle from behind the arc (6-for-23, now 31.4% on the season). The good news is that they had their best game of the season on the boards. After allowing 11.8 offensive rebounds per game through their first six games, they held Portland to just seven offensive boards on 35 misses on Tuesday night.



Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah out for two months
2010-12-28

The improving Chicago Bulls squad absorbed a major blow to their campaign after starting center and team’s rebounding leader Joakim Noah underwent thumb surgery that will sideline him for eight to ten weeks this season.


Noah, who is averaging 14 points and 11.7 rebounds per game this season, injured his thumb in their game against the Sacramento Kings on 27 November, but he was able to play through it, which could have aggravated the injury. The 25-year-old center also tore ligaments in his right ring finger and right index finger, but the Bulls training staff said that no surgery is needed to repair the tore ligaments.


Without Noah, Bulls general manager Gar Forman said that the team will have to make a huge adjustment and signing a big man as a short-term solution is possible, although he prefers to stick with the talents that they have in their fold.


“Obviously it affects us,” said Forman on losing Noah. “Not only from a statistical standpoint with his points and rebounds, but the energy that he brings. He'll still be around the team. But in the short term it's a blow.”


The Bulls, who are starting to play well since Carlos Boozer returned from a hand injury, will have to rely on their reserve big men to fill in Noah’s role, although Forman knows that the energy Noah brings inside the court would be sorely missed by the team.


However, Forman is confident that their reserve big men like Taj Gibson, Turkish rookie center Omer Asik, and veteran big man Kurt Thomas would give them a boost and continue to perform well this season.


“We'll go with what we have. We do think we have some depth,” Forman said. “Taj has stepped in, obviously in the past and done a very good job. I think it's an opportunity for guys. It's an opportunity for Omer to play some. Kurt Thomas, even a year ago when he was with Milwaukee found himself in this type of situation.”


Gibson, who started for the Bulls early in the season when Boozer was still recovering from a hand surgery, would take Noah’s spot in the starting lineup, but his entry could mean that Boozer should start at the center spot, which would definitely give them a size disadvantage.


“His presence,” said Boozer when asked what they would miss with Noah out of the lineup. “His presence defensively. I think he clogs up the middle so good for us. He blocks shots. He rebounds. Does a great job of putting pressure on the defense.”


Bulls superstar point guard Derrick Rose also expressed his frustration saying that Noah is the “heart and soul” of the team because of the intangibles he brings day in and day out. He also admitted that none of their remaining big men could fill in the role of Noah.


“Energy,” said Rose when asked about the difference of having and not having Noah inside the court. “Of course, you know, rebounding, just almost everything. He puts a lot into the game. Little things like passing, him talking, things like that.”


Despite losing Noah, Rose is still confident that they would continue to play well as long as they would stay focused. He also added that Gibson and Asik should have great confidence in themselves and the former rookie of the year believes that both of them would be up to the challenge.


“The guys that are coming in like Taj and Omer and all them that's coming in, they got to be ready to ball,” Rose said. “We got to get their confidence up high. They've at least got to put forth the effort that he put up every game. That's going to be a lot on them, but I think they can bear it.”


The Bulls will definitely be a different team with Noah out of the lineup, but with the talent that they have and by having two superstars in their fold, Rose and Boozer, the Bulls remain a formidable team and would still be a threat to teams like the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.


With Noah out the Chicago Bulls are xxx to win the Eastern Conference championship according to the Basketball Odds at sportsbook.com. Are you betting on the Bulls? Head over to sportsbook.com and get into the NBA betting action today.