2016 – NBA – Wednesday night games preview
Pacers at Magic – 7:05 PM EST
The start of this four-game trip for Indiana (19-15 SU, 19-15 ATS) began well in Miami, as the Pacers built a 17-point second half lead over the Heat. However, Miami rallied back to force overtime and ultimately knock off Indiana, 103-100 to cash as two-point favorites. Frank Vogel’s team will try to recover in Orlando, as the Pacers knocked off the Magic at home in November, 97-84 as 4 ½-point favorites. The Pacers have struggled on the highway recently by losing seven of their last eight away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse, while posting a 2-6 ATS record in this stretch.
Orlando (19-16 SU, 21-13-1 ATS) returns home from a rough road swing, losing by double-digits at Washington, Cleveland, and Detroit. In all three defeats, the Magic failed to bust the 91-point mark, while allowing at least 103 points in each game. Second-year guard Elfrid Payton missed his first career game at Detroit with a bone bruise in his left ankle, as the former Louisiana standout is questionable for tonight. Orlando has won five of its last seven games at home, but has lost five straight meetings with Indiana dating back to 2014.
Cavaliers at Wizards – 7:05 PM EST
Since dropping a pair of games at Golden State and Portland during the Christmas holiday, the Cavaliers (23-9 SU, 14-17-1 ATS) have bounced back by running off four straight wins. Cleveland embarks on a six-game road trip that starts in D.C. as David Blatt’s team looks to avenge a 97-85 home setback to the Wizards suffered last month. The Cavaliers are coming off their best offensive effort of the season in Monday’s 122-100 rout of the Raptors by knocking down 55% of their shots and drilling 17 three-pointers.
It’s been a rough season for the Wizards (15-17 SU, 17-15 ATS), who have suffered through a myriad of injuries and inconsistent play. Washington has lost three of its last four games since a four-game winning streak, capped off by a 22-point home defeat to Miami on Sunday. Randy Wittman’s club is riding a 6-1 run to the ‘under’ the last seven games, including five straight ‘unders’ at the Verizon Center. The Wizards have done a solid job of bouncing back off a home loss this season by compiling an impressive 6-1 ATS record off seven D.C. defeats.
Pistons at Celtics – 7:35 PM EST
Two teams sitting in the final two playoff positions in the Eastern Conference (with three months remaining) meet up at TD Garden looking for their 20th victory of the season. Detroit blasted Orlando on Monday, 115-89, while Boston beat up Brooklyn on the road, 103-94 two nights ago. The Pistons (19-16 SU, 19-15-1 ATS) started the season with three consecutive wins on the highway, but Stan Van Gundy’s team proceeded to lose eight of their next nine games away from the Palace of Auburn Hills. Detroit has split its last six road contests, while taking Boston to a pair of overtime games at TD Garden last season, going 1-1.
Boston (19-15 SU, 19-14-1 ATS) has won five of its last seven contests, including a 99-93 victory at Detroit on December 26. All five Celtics’ starters scored in double-figures that night, as Boston won in spite of hitting 4-of-23 shots from long distance. Brad Stevens’ club hasn’t built much of a home-court advantage, posting a 9-9 record at TD Garden, including recent losses to the Nets and Lakers as heavy favorites. Boston’s erratic shooting has thrown off oddsmakers recently as the C’s have cashed the ‘under’ in five of the past six games, while each of the last eight contests have seen a total of 200 or higher.
Grizzlies at Thunder – 9:35 PM EST
The calendar has flipped to January and Memphis (19-17 SU, 16-19-1 ATS) is seeking to win consecutive road games for the first time this season. The Grizzlies cruised past the Blazers on Monday, 91-78 as Memphis has limited 10 of its past 11 opponents to less than 100 points (7-3-1 to ‘under’). Memphis owns a 4-6-1 ATS record as a road underdog this season, while splitting a pair of visits to Oklahoma last season. This season, the Grizzlies and Thunder have exchanged victories at FedEx Forum, as OKC blasted Memphis in their last matchup in December, 125-88.
The Thunder (24-11 SU, 14-21 ATS) will play their second straight game without top scorerKevin Durant, who is nursing a toe injury. Oklahoma City jumped out to an early double-digit lead over Sacramento on Monday, but the Kings exploded for 116 points to hand the Thunder a 12-point home defeat to snap OKC’s four-game winning streak. The Thunder has struggled without Durant in the lineup this season, compiling a 3-4 SU and 1-6 ATS record. Billy Donovan’s team hasn’t helped OKC backers when playing at home recently as the Thunder have failed to cover in five straight games at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Clippers at Blazers – 10:05 PM EST
Los Angeles (22-13 SU, 15-17-3 ATS) has caught fire since losing in the final seconds to Oklahoma City on December 21. The Clippers have ripped off six consecutive victories, including five straight wins on the road. Blake Griffin remains sidelined with a quadriceps injury, but L.A.’s defense has stepped up by limiting three of the last four opponents to fewer than 100 points. Los Angeles has split a pair of games with Portland this season with each team winning on their home court as the Clips look to avenge a 102-91 setback at the Moda Center on November 20.
Since a five-game losing streak in mid-December, Portland (15-22 SU, 19-18 ATS) has quietly won four of its past six contests. In spite of a 13-point home loss to Memphis on Monday, the Blazers are still playing positive basketball at home by owning an 8-7 record at the Moda Center. Point guard Damian Lillard returned from a seven-game absence to score 17 points and dish out seven assists against the Grizzlies, but struggled from the floor with a 4-of-14 performance. Lillard hopes for a better showing against the Clippers than the last time around, as he left a late November loss at Staples Center after only 16 minutes due to food poisoning.