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Latest NBA NewsDALLAS MAVERICKS (51-35) at HOUSTON ROCKETS (59-27)
The Mavericks look to extend this series with a win over the Rockets in Houston in Game 5 on Tuesday.
The Mavs were facing elimination on Sunday and came away with a 121-109 victory as 2.5-point home favorites. Dallas shot the ball extremely well, hitting 54.3percent of its shots and 35.7percent from the outside. In the series, Houston has now won-and-covered in three of the four games. The Rockets are 6-2 both SU and ATS when hosting the Mavericks over the past three seasons. They are also 9-7 both SU and ATS versus the Mavs overall in that time. Dallas is 19-9 ATS in road games after failing to cover four or five of its past six over the past two seasons. The Mavericks are, however, just 5-13 ATS after a combined score of 205 points or more in three straight games this season. Theyre also up against a Rockets team that is 11-1 ATS off an upset loss as a favorite this season. PG Rajon Rondo (Back) and SF Chandler Parsons (Knee) are both out for the playoffs for Dallas and PG Patrick Beverley (Wrist), PF Donatas Motiejunas (Back) and SF K.J. McDaniels (Elbow) are all out indefinitely for the Rockets.
The Mavs pulled out a gutsy win in Game 4 and will now look to force the Rockets to travel back to Dallas for Game 6 by winning on Tuesday. PF Dirk Nowitzki (21.0 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 3.0 APG in playoffs) had 16 points, eight boards, four assists and a block in Game 4. Nowitzki has been hitting timely shots and will need to continue to provide leadership and a sturdy scoring presence for this team. SG Monta Ellis (26.3 PPG, 4.8 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.5 SPG in playoffs) is averaging 32.5 PPG, 6.0 APG and 2.0 SPG over the past two contests for Dallas. He is holding his own against James Harden and as long as he can do that, the Mavericks have a chance of winning come the end of the game. SF Al-Farouq Aminu (10.5 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.0 BPG, 1.3 SPG in playoffs) had 16 points, 12 rebounds and a block in 38 minutes of action in Game 4. He is playing very well as Chandler Parsons replacement and will need to continue to play well on both ends in his matchup with a very talented group of Rockets small forwards. PG J.J. Barea (13.3 PPG, 7.0 APG, 4.5 RPG in playoffs) has scored in double digits in four straight games. He had 17 points, 13 assists and a steal in 36 minutes on Sunday and is giving the Mavericks a huge edge at the point guard position.
The Rockets had a chance to close out the series in Dallas in Game 4, but they could not get stops when they needed to. Theyll now look to advance to the next round with a win in Houston in Game 5. SG James Harden (28.5 PPG, 7.8 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.3 SPG in playoffs) has not skipped a beat in this postseason. Harden had 24 points, five rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes last game, but he has not played well defensively against Monta Ellis. Hell need to slow him down in Game 5 and also be more efficient as a shooter, as he was 1-for-7 from behind the arc last game. SF Josh Smith (16.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.0 BPG in playoffs) caught fire in Game 4, pouring in 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting from the field and 4-for-5 shooting from behind the arc. Smith played some solid defense as well and will need to bring some of that scoring on Tuesday. C Dwight Howard (16.3 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 2.8 BPG in playoffs) had 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 36 minutes on Sunday. He was, however, a liability at the end of the game because of his poor free-throw shooting. He was 3-for-13 from the line and the Mavericks exploited that with the Hack-a-Shaq.
NBA: DeRozan scores 30 points and Raptors beat Nets, 100-95, to even up series
The best-of-seven Eastern Conference series is tied at one game apiece.
Amir Johnson had 16 points and nine rebounds, Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 14 boards for his second double-double of the series, while Kyle Lowry had 14 points, nine boards and six assists. Patrick Patterson added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Atlantic Division champions.
Joe Johnson topped the Nets with 18 points, while Deron Williams had 15, Mirza Teletovic added 14, and Kevin Garnett finished with 13.
Toronto outrebounded Brooklyn 52-30.
The series shifts to Brooklyn for Game 3 on Friday and Game 4 on Sunday.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey predicted a completely different group of players especially DeRozan would show up for Game 2 after the majority of them looked overwhelmed by the bright lights of the playoffs in Game 1.
The Raptors led by as much as 11 in the second quarter but the Nets got hot in the third and took a 66-64 advantage into the fourth.
DeRozan poured in seven points early in the fourth including a massive left-handed dunk that had capacity crowd of 20,382 fans at the Air Canada Centre that included Mayor Rob Ford, Drake and multimillionaire NBA superfan Jimmy Goldstein, roaring.
DeRozan had to take a seat with seven minutes to go after picking up his fifth foul, and looked frustrated when the television cameras showed him sitting alone at the end of the bench during a timeout.
The 24-year-old all-star returned with about three minutes to play and promptly knocked down two huge shots, his second a fadeaway jumper from 18 feet that had him flexing his chest and growling in celebration.
Lowry had a basket and a steal that led to a Patterson free throw that put Toronto up by five with 1:10 to play, and the Raptors point guard raised his hands to the crowd like a conductor directs an orchestra.
Paul Pierce, who scorched the Raptors down the stretch in Game 1, missed on a shot that would have tied the game with about 30 seconds to play, and then DeRozan drained two free throws with 20.6 seconds left to seal the victory for Toronto.
Johnson took flight for a massive dunk to the delight of the delirious fans the perfect punctuation mark on a solid game by the entire Raptors team.
If there was one glaring negative, it was turnovers again. The Raptors coughed up 17 points on 21 turnovers. Saturday, they gave up 17 points on 19 turnovers and vowed to clean up the giveaways.
The players at least didn't have to put up with the distraction of Saturday's shot-clock fiasco. The power sources to the clocks were replaced after they were fried in the third quarter of Game 1, leaving announcer Herbie Kuhn to count down the 24 seconds on each possession.
As in Game 1, hundreds of fans jammed Maple Leaf Square outside the ACC to watch the game on the giant screen.
Valanciunas led the way with eight points in the first quarter punctuated by a circus play that led to a Ross basket Valanciunas took a shot and missed while falling down, and grabbed his own rebound while still on his backside, chucking a pass from the seated position. The play was part of a 15-3 run that put the Raptors up by five with about three minutes left in the quarter. The Raptors took a 21-19 lead into the second.
A Raptors opened the second with a 14-7 run to take an 11-point lead but the Nets fought back to cut Toronto's lead to 45-39 heading into the dressing room at halftime.
Johnson ran amok for 12 points in the third, and the Nets outscored the Raptors 27-19 in the quarter to lead by two points with a quarter left to play.
NOTES: Casey finished fifth in voting for NBA coach of the year announced earlier Tuesday. He received five first-place votes.
The Canadian Press
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UTAH JAZZ at NEW YORK KNICKS
Tip-off: Monday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: New York -3, Total: 194
Due to a fatal car crash involving his brother Monday morning, Amar’e Stoudemire will not play in New York’s game on Monday night when it hosts Utah.
The loss is obviously a big one for the Knicks, especially based on Stoudemire’s 26.9 PPG on 61% FG against Utah over the past three seasons. But the Jazz have been terrible in this series, losing 13 straight meetings ATS. Utah is also 2-5 (SU and ATS) on the road, allowing a league-worst 105.0 PPG and 42% 3-pt FG Pct. away from home. The pick here is NEW YORK to win and cover.
The Jazz dropped their past two road games by scores of 116-101 at Dallas and 119-101 at Golden State, allowing these two opponents to shoot a combined 51% FG. Despite the road woes, Utah is coming off an impressive home win on Saturday, taking down the Lakers 96-87, and holding them to just 38.7% FG. Al Jefferson scored 18 points and matched a season high with 13 boards against Los Angeles. Jefferson has owned the Knicks in his past three meetings with them, pumping in 25.7 PPG and 9.7 RPG. This included a 36-point, 12-rebound effort in last season’s visit to Manhattan. Earl Watson returned to action Saturday after missing Thursday’s loss to the Warriors with a sprained left ankle. He didn’t look injured at all, with eight points and season-high 11 assists against the Lakers.
The Knicks are trying to build upon a 99-92 home win over New Jersey when seldom-used reserve Jeremy Lin sparked the team with a career-high 25 points, while adding seven assists and five rebounds. Lin will likely start on Monday, as will Jared Jeffries, who is replacing Stoudemire whose 35-year-old brother was killed in the accident. Despite Stoudemire being out, Carmelo Anthony can probably handle the majority of the scoring load. He has averaged a whopping 31.0 PPG (52% FG) versus Utah in the past two seasons. Anthony had a tough night against the Nets (11 points on 3-of-15 FG), which ended a streak of scoring 25+ points in three straight contests. Anthony’s 39.8% FG clip this season is well below his 45.7% FG rate for his career.
NBA: Dallas and Portland in Survival Mode
The Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trailblazers enter their respective contests Thursday with a singular thought, force a Game 7. Dallas passed its first test, routing San Antonio at home, now will have to stave off elimination as the No. 2 seed in the West by winning as the underdog. Portland suffered its third pasting by Phoenix Monday night and will try to extend the series by eclipsing the Suns as a 1-point favorite according to Sportsbook.com. Read on for a look at both games then head over to the LIVE ODDS page to get your money down.
Coaching could be the key
Forget the players from Dallas and San Antonio for a second and think about the two coaches. No coach is going to win unless he has the players, however when the talent is fairly equally distributed, the ability to make adjustments is tantamount.
Rick Carlisle is a good NBA coach, seemingly well-liked but has never won a thing. Greg Popovich is abrasive, a smart-aleck at times and has won four NBA championships. While this might not be Avery Johnson vs. Pat Riley in the 2006 NBA Finals in terms of mismatches it certainly in the neighborhood.
Carlisle and his staff deserve props for making adjustments and better utilizing the talent owner Mark Cuban traded for. Brendan Haywood was inserted into the starting lineup Tuesday evening and the offense frequently went thru him and having played with Caron Butler in Washington, the two clicked as Butler scored a career playoff-high of 35 points in 103-81 blowout.
“That was fun,” Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki said and his team is 26-16-1 ATS in road games this season.
Coach Popovich was displeased with what he saw from his squad and said so, “Mostly it was the case of they came with the mental and physical toughness, and our starting group wasn’t very good in either category”
San Antonio is 16-5 ATS at home after a loss by 20 points and Popovich must first get his team back in the proper frame of mind.
The Spurs are 3.5-point favorites with total of 191 at Sportsbook.com and are on a 9-2-1 ATS roll. Dallas will attempt to counter being 4-0-1 ATS after a double digit.
Maybe the Spurs just had better players, but since Tim Duncan arrived in San Antonio, he and Popovich are 5-0 in seven-game series after building 3-1 lead. This isn’t Carlisle’s fault, but Dallas has never rallied from down 3-1 in a series.
It’s about wins not point differential
Fifty years ago this fall, the New York Yankees outscored the Pittsburgh Pirates by 28 runs in the World Series and lost in seven games. Portland coach Nate McMillian might be wise to remind his team that history can be repeated, just on the hardwood instead of grass.
The Trailblazers have been blitzed three times by 29, 19 and 19 points, the latter two could have been much worse. Their triumphs have been by five and nine points respectively. “This series is crazy," Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge said. "We win; they win by 30."
Portland will try to force a sevent game playing at the Rose Garden and is 13-3 ATS having lost three of its last four contests. "We'll be fine," point guard Andre Miller said after Monday's spanking. "We just have to think about one game. It's time to go home and take care of business."
Phoenix raised its record to 28-13 ATS against defensive teams that allow 46 percent or higher shooting percentage this season. Yes, Portland yields 46.5%.
The Suns are catching one point and are 7-3-1 ATS as Pick or road underdog since Jan. 31. This 3 vs. 6 matchup has seen the number fall below the total three times in a row and Portland is 8-0 ATS after three or more consecutive Under’s this year.
With the total at 201.5, Phoenix is 8-2-1 UNDER after a 10 or more point conquest and the Trailblazers are 7-0-1 UNDER after losing by double digits. TNT has both battles with the first game at 8:00 Eastern.
The StatFox Power Lines for these contests show San Antonio by 2, Phoenix by 7.