Thursday, January 2nd, 2014
Miami welcomes the hottest team in the league to South Beach on Thursday Night as they try and stave off some health problems of their own.
While reigning MVP LeBron James has gotten over an injury let kept him out of a game on their recent road trip, he returned in Monday’s 97-74 win at Denver. James had a game-high 26 points in the win and added 10 assists to notch a double-double. However, shooting guard Dwyane Wade left that game with back spasms and is questionable for Thursday’s game.
Wade is not the only one with injury concerns, backup point guard Norris Cole is also may be out with a head injury. Center Chris Anderson could miss his fourth game with a back injury, as well.
Miami has been strong at home, boasting a 41-2 record while being one of the top teams in the East with an overall record of 24-7. They have won their past four games at home and have averaged over 114 points in the process.
The Warriors recent run has put them into the upper echelon of the Western Conference. Struggling at or below .500 for much of the season, Golden State has rattled off a season-high six straight victories and pushed their record to 20-13.
They are coming off a 94-81 win in Orlando on Tuesday evening. They were strong defensively in the matchup, limiting Orlando to fewer than 40 percent shooting. David Lee led the Warriors with 22 points in the contest.
I think this is a spot where the Warriors are a little overrated, even with Wade’s status up in the air. Miami has played excellent team basketball as of late and center Chris Bosh is playing some of the best of his career. Their home record speaks for itself.
The Warriors streak has been impressive, no doubt. However, they faced mostly sub .500 teams with their only notable win coming in a close game with the Los Angeles Clippers. I think they hit a buzzsaw tonight against the Heat. They are a jump shooting team and are so dependent on their shots dropping each night.
This line might be -7, and I would still like Miami. It will likely move from -4.5 depending on Wade’s status, so lock this one in now.
Pick: Heat -4.5 with Bovada.lv
The Kings will welcome struggling 76ers to town after a string of impressive wins. Both teams are near the bottom of their prospective conferences, however, and have a long road to turn things around.
Sacramento took care of the defending champion Miami Heat in a 108-103 extra time win on Friday and then beat the Houston Rockets on New Year’s Eve, 110-106. Rudy Gay, who came over via trade from Toronto scored 25 points to lead all scorers. The win put the Kings at 10-21, still 11 games under .500. Gay struggled most of the year north of the border, but has had a resurgence since dawning the Kings’ uniform.
Philadelphia is coming off back-to-back road victories after losing a whopping 13 straight games on the road. They beat Denver 114-102 on Wednesday, scoring a season-high 68 points in the first half and with seven players scoring double-digits.
Still, like the Kings, their big wins have been followed by all too many losses. They are currently languishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 10-21 record.
Both Sacramento and Philly are two of the NBA’s worst defense teams, and both clubs have been scoring 100+ points a night as of late. The total is a large 218.5 points, which may seem too large to some, but the oddsmakers are almost begging us to play the under.
I think both of these teams go over 100 points easily with a 115-120 affair just about as likely. Both will push the tempo and play their normal lax defense. Book this one over the total.
Pick: Over 218.5 available with Bovada.lv
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