A Look At The NBA

50-Unit NBA Game Of Week Wins Friday Night
As Countdown To Playoffs Kicks Into High Gear

Is There Something Wrong With The Lifeless Lakers
Who Have Gone 0-3 SU And ATS In Last Three Games?
Team That Averaged 101.4 Puts Up 87.3 In Losses

By Kelso Sturgeon

The NBA playoffs begin one week from Saturday and that means the betting equation has changed for several teams. Between now and Wednesday, when the regular season ends, bettors need to be on alert for the hidden and mostly subjective factors that will determine the outcome of most games—and that includes teams head for the playoffs and teams that have already packed their bags to head home.

Bettors especially need to take a long look at both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers have lost three straight after going 17-1 in the previous 18, and the Mavericks are 0-4 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) in their last four games.

The Lakers (55-23) were definitely alive for the chance to have home court advantage through the entire playoffs, hosting the all-important championship round—but head into their final four games all but mathematically eliminated from that honor, which will most certain go to the San Antonio Spurs (60-19). The Chicago Bulls (57-20) remain in the running in the running, although ever so slightly.

What is distressing about the three Los Angeles losses has been an obvious lack of focus and intensity from a team famous for it. The Lakers have been lifeless, averaging just 87.3 points per game, compared to a season average of 101.4. Included in those loss as an embarrassing 86-85 knockdown at the hands of a terrible Utah Jazz team that had lost eight straight and which stood 6-16 in its last 22.

Bettors can slough this off, but it will be at their peril. No one disputes Los Angeles is better than its last three games, but one must also wonder if this aging group is running out of gas at the end of a long season. Personally, I will be closely watching the Lakers. The lack of focus and sloppy play scares me because both are a sign of exhaustion.

One can also look the other way for that 0-4 Dallas record in its last four games and say it was simply the results of a tiring six-game road trip on which the Mavericks won the first three and lost the next three. It must be noted that after losing three straight away games Dallas returned home and off two days rest fell to visiting Denver, 104-96.

Regardless of one’s opinions on the Lakers and Mavericks, it is pay attention time. Here is a list of who each playoff team has been playing recently.

NBA East Playoff Teams

Here are the current SU and ATS record of NBA Eastern Conference teams that will be in the playoffs. They are listed alphabetically. The records include differing numbers of games but the do reflect how teams are playing both SU and ATS as they head to the post-season.

Team SU ATS
Atlanta Hawks 5-5 7-3-0
Boston Celtics 4-4 2-5-1
Chicago Bulls 8-2 4-6-0
Indiana Pacers 4-6 4-6-0
Miami Heat 8-2 5-5-0
Orlando Magic 7-3 2-8-0
New York Knicks 5-0 4-1-0
Philadelphia 76ers 4-6 3-7-0

NBA West Playoff Teams

Here are the current SU and ATS record of NBA Eastern Conference teams that will be in the playoffs. They are listed alphabetically. The records include differing numbers of games but the do reflect how teams are playing both SU and ATS as they head to the post-season.

Team SU ATS
Dallas Mavericks 4-6 4-6-0
Denver Nuggets 6-4 5-5-0
Los Angeles Lakers 7-3 3-7-0
Memphis Grizzlies 7-3 8-2-0
New Orleans Hornets 5-4 4-5-1
Okla. City Thunder 7-3 3-6-1
Portland Trail Blazers 6-4 6-4-0
San Antonio Spurs 4-6 6-4-0

Pairings If Playoffs Began Today

There may be adjustments to the pairings, depending on how each of these teams closes out the final week of play, but here is how they would be paired if the playoffs began today.

NBA East Pairings

#1 Chicago Bulls (57-20) vs. #8 Indianapolis Pacers 36-43
(Bulls Won Regular Season Series 3-1)
#2 Boston Celtics (54-23) vs. #7 Philadelphia 76ers (40-39)
(Celtics Won Regular Season Series 3-1)
#3 Miami Heat (54-24) vs. New York Knicks (40-38)
(Teams Split Regular Season Series 2-2)
#4 Orlando Magic (50-29) vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks (44-34)
(Atlanta Won Regular Season Series 3-1)

NBA West Pairings

#1 San Antonio Spurs (60-19) vs. #8 Memphis Grizzlies (44-34)
(Teams Split Regular Season Series 2-2)
#2 Los Angeles Lakers vs. #7 Portland Trail Blazers (45-33)
(L.A. Leads Regular Season Series 3-0)
#3 Dallas Mavericks (53-25) vs. #6 New Orleans Hornets (45-33)
(Dallas Leads Regular Season Series 2-1)
#4 Oklahoma City Thunder (52-26) vs. #5 Denver Nuggets (48-30)
(Denver Leads Regular Season Series 2-1)

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23
Aug

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