Browsing Posts published in February, 2013

The Minnesota Timberwolves Luke Ridnour is on the trading block ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline and speculation is the New York Knicks are the leading contender to land the point guard.

Ridnour is part of a crowded Timberwolves’ backcourt that also features Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea. Team officials would like to move either Ridnour or Barea, ideally as part of a larger package that would include future first-round draft picks in exchange for an established top-level NBA talent. Other Timberwolves are also on the trading block, according to reports.

Ridnour is putting together a solid campaign—he is averaging 31 minutes a game and 13.7 points with three rebounds—but interest has reportedly been limited to the Knicks. The Timberwolves are hoping to make a splash prior to the trade deadline largely as an effort to appease its top star, Kevin Love.

Minnesota has struggled again this season and the lack of winning is apparently wearing thin on Love. He has already voiced his displeasure with the situation in Minnesota with owner Glen Taylor and apparently Taylor has gotten the message. It remains unclear who the Timberwolves are targeting or who they could possibly get in return from the Knicks, but they are actively seeking a trade partner. In fact, Ridnour told the local media that he has already “mentally prepared” to be traded. 

For those looking at it from an NBA betting angle, a big trade would certainly shake things up for a Timberwolves team that is 21-27-2 against the spread this season. It’s certainly obvious Minnesota is lacking in talent and needs to upgrade its roster. A dynamic wing player with the ability to get to the basket and jump the T’Wolves anemic offense, which ranks 21st in the NBA in scoring, would be a good launching point.  

The Dwight Howard saga continues to swirl this year, as the Los Angeles Lakers are finding the same problem that the Orlando Magic had. The NBA trade deadline is less than 48 hours away, and now that owner Dr. Jerry Buss has passed away, the Lakers really need to make up their mind without a bona fide leader what they are going to do with Howard, who is a free agent at the end of the season.

If Los Angeles keeps Howard, it can offer him the most money in free agency. There is no doubt that this would weigh heavily on the mind of a center that has spent the mass majority of the last calendar year hurting with various problems. Getting the most money possible has to be considered one of the main goals.

However, we still think that the NBA odds are going to point Howard towards the Brooklyn Nets. This is where Howard wants to play and has wanted to play for the better part of the last two season, as he wants to pair with good friend Deron Williams and try to bring a title to Gotham City.

Here’s the problem, though. The Nets are in bad shape right now in terms of the salary cap. Kris Humphries is due $12M over the course of the next two seasons, and the contract that was given to Joe Johnson ($21M next year, $23M in 2014) and the one given to Williams ($18M next year, $19M in 2014) really make it prohibitive to bring in another star.

That’s why it is vital to look at what the Nets do in these next few days, even more than what the Lakers do. If Brooklyn clears out some salary cap space in some way, shape, or form and can offer Howard a max contract, we are convinced that this is where he is going to end up, whether it be via a straight signing or a sign and trade with the Lakers after the season is said and done with.

The NBA odds were definitely on the side of the Brooklyn Nets over the course of their last two games before the NBA All-Star Break. They beat upset the Indiana Pacers and ran with the Denver Nuggets, and now, they have a bit of momentum going into the second half of the year.

The best news of the bunch is that G Deron Williams is going to be back in the fold for this week’s games. The franchise player in Brooklyn missed the wins over Indiana and Denver, and he is going to be happy to be back in the saddle for this week.

The Nets are going to find themselves as favorites quite a bit over the course of the next several games, beginning on Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately for Brooklyn, it has failed to cover 10 games in a row in this series and seven straight at home against the Bucks. This is the first of back-to-back games against Milwaukee, as the two will head to the Bradley Center for a Wednesday night showdown as well.

Aside from that though, there are going to be a lot of games in which the oddsmakers are giving the Nets the nod. They’ll clearly be favored against the Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies at home to wrap up this week, and if you look a bit further into the future, there are two more and at least four out of five in which they’ll be laying points as well.

However, the Nets have to be careful, knowing that they have lost their most recent game to each of their next five foes, the last four of which came this season. The loss that will want to be avenged the most is clearly the one to the Grizzlies. Memphis pounded Brooklyn 101-77 earlier this year at the FedEx Forum, a loss that Williams and company aren’t soon to forget.

It has been a long road for the New York Knicks to get back to the top of the mountain the Atlantic Division. They haven’t won the division since way back in the 1993-94 season, and seven other teams have won the Atlantic since that point, including all of the teams in the current division. This week starts the second half of the season for New York, as the All-Star Break is said and done with, and the team starts off with a 2 ½-game lead over the Brooklyn Nets.

The Knicks are the overwhelming favorites on the NBA odds to win the Atlantic Division from here, and this week should be one where the lead extends just a bit.

The Indiana Pacers are the first team on tap on Wednesday night, and the trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse is going to be one of the toughest games that is on tap in the near future. New York will visit the Toronto Raptors and host the Philadelphia 76ers for the rest of the week, both games in which the team is going to be comfortably favored.

Of course, these are the types of games that gave the Knicks problems down the stretch of the first half of the season as well. New York was beaten by the Raptors and the Los Angeles Clippers at home, and the Washington Wizards on the road from February 6th through the end of the first half, and these are the games that the team cannot lose to hold the division lead for the rest of the year.

New York is 13-10 SU and 10-11-2 ATS on the road this year, and the team has to do well in games like these that are very winnable this week if that two-decade stretch without a division title is going to end this season.

The Phoenix Suns have made no bones about the fact that they have had remorse over the course of the last two seasons about not drafting Iman Shumpert. Shumpert went to the New York Knicks four picks after Markieff Morris was drafted by the Suns. Morris has averaged just over seven points per game in his career and is proving to be a reasonable reserve for Phoenix, but he just doesn’t have the skill set that Shumpert brings to the Big Apple.

As a result, Phoenix has been trying to pry Shumpert away from the Knicks, but at least at this point, it doesn’t seem like a deal is going to happen.

The Suns are trying to send off Jared Dudley and a protected #1 draft pick to get back Shumpert, a move that New York is balking at. Dudley is a lanky shooter that can do just about anything on the court, but he is making more money than Shumpert is, which would require some money coming back from the Big Apple in the form of perhaps Marcus Camby or Steve Novak as well.

Shumpert is starting for the Knicks at this point, and he is known as a defensive stopper. His numbers aren’t all that impressive, as he is averaging just 5.3 points per game and is shooting 33.8 percent from the field, but many scouts figure that he can round into a good shooter at some point in his career.

New York is entering the All-Star Break in the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and has made its intentions clear that it is going to be trying to add a great piece to the puzzle for the run to the playoffs. Phoenix has just 17 wins, has dropped four in a row, and is now just 2-5 ATS on the NBA betting lines in its last seven games.

Deron Williams said just a few weeks ago that is was crucial for his Brooklyn Nets to head into the All-Star Break in good form. Unfortunately for the Nets, they haven’t done all that well, going just 4-6 SU and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games. Now, Williams is on the shelf with an ankle injury that will keep him out until at least next week.

It is impossible for one man to replace one of the best point guards in all of basketball. Sure, the numbers for Williams weren’t out of this world this year, but it is still difficult to replace 16.7 points and 7.6 assists per night.

The man that has been tabbed to take on the role of the starting point guard is G CJ Watson. He only averages playing around 17.5 minutes per game this year, and he really isn’t a man that is going to step in and be a regular point guard. Head Coach PJ Carlesimo figured that out in a hurry against the Indiana Pacers and pulled him out of the game after just 19 minutes on the court and only one point scored.

Instead, it has become the duty of G Tyshawn Taylor to run the point. Taylor has spent plenty of time in the D-League, and he hasn’t done all that much at the NBA level at this point in his career. However, he came up big for the Nets on Monday, scoring 12 points and running the show in OT in a win against Indiana.

Fortunately for the Nets, they will probably only have to play on Wednesday night without Williams. He is likely to rejoin the team right after the All-Star Break is said and done with.

Brooklyn is  a 1-point favorite on the NBA odds against the visiting Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

The New York Knicks will have one chance before the All-Star break to rebound from its thorough beatdown at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers at Madison Square Garden Sunday—that’s a Wednesday home tilt against the Toronto Raptors.

The Knicks have lost two of three games since their recent six-game winning streak, which temporarily put them on the heels of the Eastern Conference-leading Miami Heat. Against the Clippers, New York was outscored by 13 points in the fourth-quarter, which resulted in a 102-88 defeat as a 3.5-point home favorite.

Carmelo Anthony had a huge game scoring 42 points for the Knicks, but was quiet in the fourth quarter. Raymond Felton chipped in 20 points for the Knicks.

This will be the the first game of the season between the Knicks and Raptors (19-32). Toronto’s recent trade acquisition, Rudy Gay, is showing signs of things to come while continuing to adjust to his new team. He played 40 minutes and scored a team-high 20 points with eight rebounds to spark the Raptors in a 102-89 win on the road against the New Orleans Hornets as a 3.5-point favorite Sunday. Gay is teaming up in the backcourt with DeMar Derozan, the team’s leading scorer at 17.4 points a game.

The Knicks’ six-game winning streak—which came largely against sub-par competition—was ended with a road loss against the improving Washington Wizards last Wednesday. Sandwiched between the losses to Washington and the Clippers was a 100-94 win on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.

The Knicks have certainly cooled off in the last week, but remain among the premiere teams in the Eastern Conference while sporting a solid 25-22-2 record against the NBA odds this season. It should be an interesting test Wednesday when Toronto and Gay visit the Garden. 

The rumor mill is always swirling, and as we get closer and closer to the trade deadline, there are teams that have to make up their minds whether they are buyers or sellers. There are some trades that have already happened and some that could happen any moment now.

The seemingly pending deal is the one involving Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls and Andrea Bargnani of the Toronto Raptors. The Italian has made it known that he has wanted out of Toronto in the past, but he also might be helped out with the Rudy Gay trade. Boozer would bring the team a big frontline starter though, and the Bulls would get the swingman that they really need to add to a team that already has a lot of bigs for the stretch run. If we had to make our NBA predictions, this would be the first trade that we would say is going to happen.

The price on JJ Redick took a hit when he banged up his shoulder, an injury that has cost him back to back games for the Orlando Magic. Redick is going to be the most tradable asset that the Magic have, and since they are going nowhere in a hurry, they need to unload everything that they’ve got. This is a man that will be on the move by the deadline.

Two players that are rumored to not be going anywhere are Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. GM Danny Ainge has declared that there is virtually no chance that either of these cornerstones of the Boston Celtics will be traded by the deadline. With as well as the C’s are playing with five straight wins, it seems as though he is going to go for it again and try to make the trade to help the team now, instead of later.

What once seemed like a serious longshot may now soon become a reality. The New York Knicks could have the best record in the Eastern Conference before the week is out.

Thanks to a perfect 5-0 homestand, which was capped off Monday with a highly-efficient win over the Detroit Pistons, the Knicks (31-15) find themselves just a half-game back of the defending NBA champion Miami Heat (31-14) in the Eastern Conference race. This week New York will be tested with a pair of winnable road games at Washington Wednesday and Minnesota Friday, followed by an intriguing home matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

Sparking the surge of the Knicks, who own a solid 25-20-1 mark versus the NBA odds this season, has largely been the recent returns from injuries of Raymond Felton and Amare Stoudemire.

Felton, who has played in six games after missing the previous month of the season because of a hand injury, is slowly rounding back into form. He has averaged nearly nine assists a game during the last four games while giving the Knicks a much-needed floor general and penetrator to complement the scoring abilities of Stoudemire and All-Star Carmelo Anthony.

Also boosting the Knicks has been the insane rebounding numbers being put up by Tyson Chandler. He has had at least 20 boards in each of the last three games to match a feat only equaled in the franchise by the great Willis Reed during the 1969-70 season, according to ESPN.

The Knicks are proving equally adept on both sides of the court as they are averaging 101 points a game, which ranks eighth in the league; while giving up just 95.5 points a game, which is the sixth-best in the NBA. Additionally, the Knicks are proving deadly from the 3-point land. They are shooting 38.5 percent as a team behind the arc, which is the second-best percentage in the NBA.

The Iona Gaels were a tremendous oddity in 2011-12, as they made it to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid out of the Metro Atlantic. There won’t be an at large this year from this conference, as there will be just one ticket to the dance, and the Gaels and the Marist Red Foxes try to improve their positioning in conference play when they meet on Thursday night.

Marist is likely the worst team this year in the MAAC at just 5-18, and the club hasn’t won a game since January 19th. Since that point, the Red Foxes are just 1-3 ATS and 0-4 SU, and they have averaged just 59.5 points per game. The team isn’t particularly deep, as five players played all but a total of 10 minutes against the Rider Broncs on Sunday. However, the club only has two legitimate scorers in G Chavaughn Lewis (15.4 PPG) and G Devin Price (14.0 PPG).

As a result, it’s a lot easier to make free college basketball picks on the Gaels. Yes, they have lost two in a row, but both defeats at the hands of the Niagara Purple Eagles and Canisius Golden Griffins came on the road in crushing fashion, as the two losses came by a total of just six points. Prior to that, Iona had covered four out of five.

The Gaels are led by G Lamont Jones, who is good for 21.9 points per game. He is one of the top scorers in the country, and he is the man that is responsible for this 5-1 ATS mark that Iona has this year while playing in New Rochelle.

Iona is set to run up and down the floor in this one once again, as it is averaging 81.8 points per game.

Earlier this year, the Red Foxes gave the Gaels everything they could handle in an 86-82 defeat. Marist was a 9 ½-point underdog in that game that stuck in front of the spread.