NBA perfect

Nov 9, 2010 7:01 AM

last week                   season                         PCT

2-1                              2-1                             66.7

The NBA season is but two weeks old yet the Goose Egg Group has just two remaining members. The last of the NBA’s winless teams, Houston, broke its maiden this past Sunday. But there remain a pair of teams with zeros in the right hand column of the standings as New Orleans remains unbeaten through 6 games and the Los Angeles Lakers have gone one better with their 7-0 start.

Meanwhile the Miami Heat have lost 2 of their first 7 games and are behind a pair of one loss teams, Atlanta and Orlando, in the Southeast division. Atlanta’s first loss came this past Sunday, falling at home to Phoenix after the Hawks had won their first games.

As is often the case in the early season, road underdogs have performed well against the pointspread, compiling a 39-28 record ATS (Against the Spread) through nearly two weeks.

Totals have been exactly even through Sunday with 46 OVERs and the same number of UNDERs in addition to a lone PUSH.

It’s still early and many teams continue to seek an identity that will define their on court performance and pointspread personality as the season unfolds.

Early season records can often be misleading although some formerly downtrodden teams off to good starts can sustain that momentum well into mid season, until depth, injuries and overall talent level takes their toll.

Golden State, for example, is off to a nice 4-2 start but few observers expect the Warriors to contend for making the playoffs despite having what appears to be a team on the improve.

And then again there are teams that quickly dash what are often repetitive yet questionably justifiable optimistic expectations. The Los Angeles Clippers are off to a 1-6 start.

Here’s a look at three games to be played this weekend.

Portland at Okla City (Fri): Often when teams overachieve in one season there is a fall off the next. Such may be the case with Oklahoma City this season. After winning just 23 games a season earlier, the Thunder more than doubled that win total with 50 victories last year. Portland is familiar with that scenario. After improving from 41 to 54 wins, the Trailblazers dropped back a bit last season, albeit to a still impressive 50, tying the Thunder in the standings.

Part of the reason for the decline comes with increased expectations held by fans, management and the players themselves. This is an early season revenge game for Portland who lost at home to Oklahoma City by a single point last Thursday after returning from a four game road trip. Portland is one of the most talented and deepest teams in the league that has played excellent fourth quarter basketball. PORTLAND.

Boston at Memphis (Sat): Boston remains an elite team likely to again contend for the NBA title despite an aging roster. Memphis is a young team on the rise, looking to improve on last season’s 40 wins, an increase from 24 a season earlier. Boston coach Doc Rivers used a wise philosophy over the second half of last season, regularly resting his regulars to have them in peak condition for the playoffs.

It’s still early in the season for that not to be an issue but by extension it would hold that Boston is likely to give its best effort when rested and will be a solid ‘go against’ candidate when playing the second of back-to-back nights. Boston has already won at Oklahoma City this season and will be rested following the game at Miami on Thursday. This should be very competitive and Boston has the talent to extend late against a Memphis team that has struggled out of the gate. BOSTON.

Phoenix at L.A. Lakers (Sun): The Lakers won and covered their first meeting which was played in Phoenix on the first Friday of the season. As of Monday morning, the Lakers remain unbeaten at 7-0 with four wins by 12 points or more. Despite changes in personnel, Phoenix is still playing at an up tempo pace and after a pair of "unders" to start the season, their next four games have all gone "over" the Total, each by at least a dozen points.

The Lakers have also been involved in more "over" (5) than "under" (2). The first went "over" by 8 and we should see an adjustment upwards from the 208 total posted for that contest that produced 220. Still, both teams’ personalities are such that with neither team having played on Saturday, enough room exists for this contest to continue the tendency of high scoring games. OVER.