NBA books elite Christmas matchups

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As football winds down the NBA will attract more attention from both the media and the public with much of that attention accelerating on Christmas Day.

There are no football games that day and the NBA will present a quintet of games all televised on either ABC or ESPN and spread out over nearly 13 hours, evenly spaced.

The day begins with a 9 a.m. Pacific start for Boston at Brooklyn and concludes with the Los Angeles Clippers hosting Denver.

The middle matchup features a rematch of last season’s NBA championship as Miami hosts Oklahoma City. As we approach the Holiday season and the end of the calendar year the New York Knicks remain the biggest early season story. New York is the lone unbeaten team at home (10-0) and their overall 18-5 record has them atop the Eastern Conference by two games over Miami.

Oklahoma City has the NBA’s best record (19-4) but the Thunder are just one game ahead of San Antonio. The Clippers are just two games back and Memphis three behind. 

Another early season surprise is Golden State, just 3½ games back in the West. Their 16-8 record is good enough for only the fifth spot in the very deep Western Conference. The group is also a combined 36-20-2 ATS on the road and only the Clippers, at 5-5, does not have a winning ATS mark away from home.

Teams that can win close 60 percent of their road games while also maintaining around a 75 percent clip at home generally earn a top 3 seed and thus have an easier path to the Conference Finals.

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

Chicago at NY (Fri): Both teams are rested but each played a tough foe in its last game. Chicago also has a game Saturday night in Atlanta. After struggling for the first few weeks the Bulls have played well recently and start this week as winners of 5 of their last 6 and 7 of their last 9 games, including 3 straight road wins in this stretch. 

The Knicks are unbeaten at home and 8-2 ATS at the Garden, although just 2-2 recently. Even without Derrick Rose, the Bulls remain a formidable foe, especially because they play defense. The first 6 Knicks home wins were by double digits. The most recent 4 have all been by less. New York backers will be paying a premium because of their great home success. CHICAGO.

LA Lakers at GS (Sat): The Lakers continue to struggle whereas the Warriors continue to be a pleasant surprise. Even after winning the final two games on their recent road trip, at Washington and Philadelphia, the Lakers continue to struggle at 11-14. They have had trouble adapting to new coach Mike D’Antoni, especially at the defensive end of the court. 

The Lakers routed Golden State 101-77 at home in November. The Warriors will relish a chance to return the favor and prove to themselves that they are capable of competing with their down state rivals. There may be some value in the line as the Lakers are rested after having last played on Tuesday while the Warriors just played the night before, also at home, against Charlotte. GOLDEN ST.

Dallas at SA (Sun): Both teams last played on Friday they will be rested and should be prepared for a true effort. This is their first meeting after the home team won all 4 last season, although the Spurs did cover in 3. San Antonio has pretty much continued on its pace from a season ago with a 19-6 record. It’s been a different story for Dallas as they continue to be without star Dirk Nowitzki, who remains out indefinitely. After going 36-30 last season the Mavs are just 11-13 thus far. 

The Mavericks have not fared well against the few top teams they’ve faced and have a losing ATS record as underdogs. The Spurs are all business, especially in division games. SAN ANTONIO.

Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]

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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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