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Just over two fifths of the shortened NBA regular season has been played and there are several storylines that have come to define the first seven weeks of play.

First and foremost, the effects of the lockout have been evident in some very sloppy play, marked by poor shooting and scoring. There have already been 37 instances of teams scoring fewer than 75 points in a game. In all of last season, including the playoffs, such futility occurred just 36 times.

The percentage of “blowout” wins is also up considerably. Through the first 413 games this season just over one half of them (207) have been decided by double digits with 70 games (17 percent) decided by 20 points or more. Compare those figures to last season when 45 percent of all games were decided by 10 points or more and just 12 percent by 20 points or more.

Fewer than half of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference (seven) have winning records with the team currently seeded eighth, New York, two games below .500.

In the West the two teams tied for eighth, Portland and Utah, each are two games above break even. Nine teams have winning records with another, Memphis, starting the week at 14-14.

Charlotte has assumed the moniker of “worst team in the league.” At 3-24 the Bobcats have half as many wins as the next weakest team and start the week having lost 14 straight games.

After covering in two of the first three losses of this streak Charlotte then proceeded to lose seven straight ATS. They are 4-10 ATS during this losing skein – 0-5 as single digit underdogs and 4-4 as double digits dogs. They were actually small favorites in the game that started this streak, a 102-94 home loss to Cleveland.

Every so often the NBA produces a story that generates an unusual amount of attention, but less often than not, in a positive way.

Such has been the case over the past week or so with Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks. His play has been both inspirational and surprising considering he was undrafted out of Harvard and had previously been cut by both Golden State and Houston.

But given the opportunity with the injury riddled Knicks, Lin has displayed keen basketball smarts (as one would expect of a Harvard grad) with polished hoops skills (something not associated with Harvard grads). The Knicks have been sorely lacking at point guard and Lin has made the most of his opportunity.

Through Sunday the Knicks had won five straight games, the second longest current such streak entering this week.

More importantly here in Nevada, the Knicks had covered eight straight games as they prepared to play in Toronto on Tuesday. Of interest will be whether the newfound chemistry of this biggest market franchise, poorly managed for the better part of the past two decades, will be sustainable when their key injured high profile players return.

Amar’e Stoudemire is expected back on Tuesday and Carmelo Anthony is expected back within the next week or so.

The current hot streak has put on hold calls for the dismissal of Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni. It remains to be seen how D’Antoni will handle the return of both stars and what impact it will have on Lin, who, in the absence of the two stars, has, through his play, assumed a leadership role on the Knicks.

Will “Linsanity” propel the Knicks to the Playoffs? Or will it be just another passing fad? It’s a most unusual situation, developing virtually out of nowhere, but it could be the spark the long forlorn Knicks franchise has hoping for and has needed for a long time.

Here’s a preview of three games to be played this weekend.


Mavs at Sixers: Dallas has won five of its last six road games. Much of Philly’s early season success had come against lower echelon teams. But the Sixers may have gotten some converts who had questioned their legitimacy after playing seven straight games against winning teams, winning four. Both teams are rested and neither team plays on Saturday. This game should be close to a pick ‘em with the hosts more likely to bring the greater intensity. SIXERS.


Spurs at Clippers: The Clippers are a solid 10-3 as hosts while the Spurs have a losing 6-8 record on the road. However the Spurs have just embarked on their annual rodeo road trip and have won the first three of a nine game trek. These teams met back on Dec. 28th with San Antonio rolling 115-90. Fan interest and enthusiasm is at its highest level ever for the Clippers. A prime spot for the hosts, who recently signed veteran free agent forward Kenyon Martin. CLIPPERS.


Nuggets at Thunder: Despite Denver’s depth, injuries have started to take a toll. We may see a further decline as they’ve not had much success against winning teams in general. This is the first game of a back to back and four in five nights stretch for Denver. OKC is the better all around team with the two best players on the court. THUNDER.


About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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