Jeff Hornacek is the latest NBA coaching casualty. The former NBA player was fired following Sunday night’s loss at Dallas, a game in which the Suns scored just 9 points in the fourth quarter.
The loss gave Phoenix a 3-21 record since the middle of December. After making the Playoffs with a 48-34 record in his first season the Suns went 39-43 last season and were 14-35 after the loss to Dallas.
Reports were that Hornacek had lost the locker room which, combined with injuries, suggested that a change was going to be made. Just over a month ago two assistant coaches were fired.
Often when a coaching change is made there is a brief positive impact that is also priced into the line.
The Phoenix situation, however, might not follow that pattern considering the injury situation. Thus this might be a situation in which fading the Suns in the short term could prove profitable until the line catches up to a team that will likely be eager for the season to end with no hopes of making the Playoffs.
As we get closer to the Playoffs coaches will more and more rest players. This usually starts following the All Star break but some coaches, most notably San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, employ this technique from the start of the season.
The Spurs begin an extended 8 game road trip next Tuesday in Miami. They will play their next home game on March 2. Keep an eye on spots to play against the Spurs during this road trip which will include 3 separate occurrences of playing on back to back nights, although one of them will involve 2 games in Los Angeles, the first against the Clippers followed the next night against the Lakers.
Despite the outstanding records held by the top two teams in the league, Golden State and San Antonio, both teams have covered in more than 60 percent of their games, ignoring pushes.
The Spurs started this week with a 31-16 ATS record (66.0 percent) and the Warriors were 28-18-2 ATS (60.9 percent). Dallas was third best at 29-21 ATS (58.0 percent).
Three teams began the week covering less than 40 percent of the time, led by Phoenix’ 18-31 ATS mark (36.7 percent). Also burning money have been Oklahoma City (19-30 ATS, 38.8 percent) and Chicago (18-28 ATS, 39.1 percent).
Although no teams have had at least 60 percent of their Totals decisions going OVER, two teams have seen at least 60 percent of the Totals stay UNDER. Miami has been the strongest UNDER team this season at 32-15-1. Dallas has played 29 UNDERS, 19 OVERS with 2 pushes (60.4 percent).
Here’s a look at three games for this weekend.
Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks: These teams are meeting for the third time since the end of December. Indiana won the first two meetings, both of which were at home. Both are in the middle of a tightly bunched field contending for the third through eighth Playoff seeds in the East.
Atlanta is in a better scheduling situation as the Pacers have a game on Saturday and the Hawks next play on Sunday. The Hawks are slumping, having gone 1-5 both SU and ATS through Sunday. The Pacers had also been in a slump before winning their last two games.
This game could have implications come the Playoffs and with the Hawks having already lost twice to the Pacers they may place more emphasis than usual on this third meeting. ATLANTA.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors: These teams are meeting for the first time this season. Golden State continues to dominate the NBA with its 44-4 record. Oklahoma City started the week 36-13 which has them seeded third in the West.
Both teams enjoy a wide open, uptempo game with plenty of scoring options which sets the stage for this being one of the more entertaining games of the regular season. It has been a losing proposition all season in going against the Warriors with the best strategy to either play on the Warriors or pass the game.
Both teams are rested after having last played on Wednesday and neither team plays Sunday. OVER.
LA Clippers at Miami Heat: These teams met in LA in mid-January with the Clippers winning 104-90 in what turned out to be the final win in their 10 game winning streak. After dropping three of their next five, the Clippers started this week having won four in a row.
Miami is again battling injuries yet still are 27-21 and seeded fourth in the East. The Heat have been living up to their nickname, starting the week with four straight wins and covers.
Much of the interest surrounding this game will involve props involving the Super Bowl. The Clippers have played well with star Blake Griffin sidelined by injury and should be short underdogs in this spot.
Although they do play again on Monday that game is in Philadelphia which suggests they might go all out in attempting to win here with the Sixers game likely to require much less of an effort to get the SU win. LA CLIPPERS.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to GamingToday readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Email: [email protected]