Feeling a bit deflated by All-Star weekend? You’re not the only one. Those things used to be fun, right? Alas.
Well, the good thing about the All-Star break is that with its climax the NBA begins for real and everything is up for grabs. By the end of Thursday’s trade deadline we’ll know who has gone where and more importantly, who hasn’t gone anywhere.
After that, we’ll have eight weeks to find out if the Lakers can turn it around; if San Antonio can keep ahead of the rest of the West; if Miami is about to win a second title; and all those other questions that have been brewing over this first half.
Let’s get things started then with the NBA’s return to action on Tuesday night. As usual, Casino Review has picked out three games that should be of interest. Today though, we start with one you’re probably planning on avoiding.
Charlotte Bobcats @ Orlando Magic
7:00 PM ET
With seven combined wins between them this calendar year, a skirmish between the Bobcats and Magic isn’t exactly appealing. Even fans of the two teams are planning on boycotting this one.
But, for Casino Review at least, there’s something uncomfortably alluring about watching the two worst teams in the league square-off. Maybe it’s the thought that these two could end up with the No. 1 and No. 2 pick in June’s draft, although with the luck these sides possess, they’ll probably fail at the lottery as well. Regardless…
As far as futility goes, Orlando (15-37, 9-18 home) has topped the Bobcats of late. Since earning a win over the Wizards on Dec. 19, the Magic has gone 3-24 (.111), tallying losing streaks of 10 games and 12 games during that period. The Central Florida side is 2-12 (.143) at home during that time.
Orlando has the added hassle of dealing with Hedo Turkoglu’s suspension.
It doesn’t read much better for the Bobcats. Charlotte (12-40, 5-21 road) has lost 15 of the last 18 games. The side has failed to exceed 100 points in each of its last nine games – 41 of 52 all told this season – and has succumbing to seven straight road losses. The last time the Bobcats won on the road was Jan. 18. However, that night the side defeated Orlando.
While most won’t care who comes out of this one with the ‘W’, both teams have the opportunity to start afresh following the break.
Favorite: Orlando Spread: 6 Total: 202.5
This Season: Orlando defeated the Bobcats 107-98 in Charlotte on Dec. 15. That was the 11th loss of what would turn out to be an 18-game losing streak for the Bobcats. Charlotte defeated the Magic 106-100 on Jan. 18, handing the Florida side its first loss in what would become a 12-game losing streak.
Take: CHARLOTTE – Orlando has home advantage but it hasn’t made anything of that this entire season. The Magic looked like it had lost the plot before the break, and there’s little to suggest that they’ll find it again. If the side trade J.J. Reddick going forward, it will become the bottom of the barrel. The Bobcats can score an upset on Tuesday night, but take the total to go under.
Boston Celtics @ Denver Nuggets
9:00 PM ET
Once the bad taste of Charlotte-Orlando is out of your mouth, tune in for the best game on Tuesday’s schedule as the Nuggets host the Celtics.
Having navigated key injuries for the three weeks or so, Boston (28-24, 8-15 road) is about to find out if it can keep afloat in the playoff race. The Celtics play 10 of the next 12 on the road, starting with this trip to the Mile High City.
The Celtics won seven straight following Rajon Rondo’s season-ending injury (six of which were at home) and have taken eight of the last nine. Their road record is less desirable though. The Celtics have lost four of the last five on the road and have tallied just three road wins this calendar year.
Meanwhile, Denver (33-21, 22-3 home) will be looking to put the skids on a three-game losing streak. Prior to that trifecta of losses, the Nuggets had won nine straight, 15 of 17, and looked like the hottest team in the league. The side will be happy to be home on Tuesday night.
The Nuggets have won seven straight at home and 12 of the last 13. The side has dropped just three games at the Pepsi Center all season. That trend has seen the side enter this game as a healthy favorite.
Favorite: Denver Spread: 7 Total: 205
This Season: Boston scored a 118-114 overtime win over the Nuggets in Bean Town on Feb. 10.
Take: DENVER – The Celtics’ road woes could illuminate their fragile roster in this upcoming road stretch. They certainly will against Denver. The young Nuggets will run at the Celtics and keep the tempo high, and even Boston’s solid defense will leak points. Take the Nuggets (32-22-0 ATS, 17-8-0 ATS home) to cover, with the total going over – mainly thanks to Denver’s scoring.
Golden State Warriors @ Utah Jazz
9:00 PM ET
The third of our picks features a side looking to rebound from a pre-break slump and one looking to remain consistent.
Golden State (30-22, 14-15 road) dropped five straight heading into the All-Star break, compelling many to ask if the honeymoon season the Warriors have been enjoying is about to go south? Mark Jackson’s side will look to return to winning ways in Salt Lake City on Tuesday.
Golden State has found it tough on the road of late, dropping four straight and seven of the last nine.
Meanwhile, Utah (30-24, 20-6 home) continues its consistent play. Having won two straight, four of six, and six of nine, the Jazz is just one-game back of the Warriors for the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. With five wins from the last six home games, the side – which has been linked to Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe via the rumor mill – will fancy its chances against the Warriors.
Favorite: Utah Spread: 4 Total: 203.5
This Season: Golden State defeated Utah 94-83 in Salt Lake City on Dec. 26.
Take: GOLDEN STATE – With a refreshed squad, the Warriors will pull off the upset here but whether the team can return to its earlier form remains to be seen. Take the total to go over.
Remaining NBA Schedule (Tuesday)
Toronto @ Washington
Milwaukee @ Brooklyn
Memphis @ Detroit
Chicago @ New Orleans
San Antonio @ Sacramento