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Lakers no shock, but 5-0 Atlanta!

Nov 11, 2008 5:01 PM

Bettin’ on B’ball by Andy Iskoe |

last week

Two weeks into the NBA season we have just one winless and two unbeaten teams remaining.

Washington, playing without injured star Gilbert Arenas, has lost its first five games. Of the two unbeaten teams the Los Angeles Lakers’ 5-0 start is not that surprising, although their average margin of more than 22 points per game is astounding.

The other unbeaten team is Atlanta. At 5-0 the Hawks are building on the momentum gained from last season’s playoff appearance in which they took the ultimate NBA champion Boston Celtics to the full seven games.

Atlanta has a nice blend of youth and experience. While this hot start is not sustainable, the Hawks should make for a winning point spread record over the next few weeks provided they can stay clear of key injuries.

Speaking of the Celtics their 6-1 start has been solid and they show signs of being the team to beat in the much improved Eastern Conference. Utah is the only other team to have lost just once (5-1) and appears to be the class of the weak Northwest Division.

Utah’s lone loss came this past Sunday to another early season surprise, the 4-2 New York Knicks. The long-beleaguered franchise is now coached by Mike D’Antoni, who has brought his up-tempo pace from Phoenix. It’s still early, but his Knicks have been entertaining despite a somewhat poorly constructed roster.

Through Sunday 92 games have been played and the breakdown of home vs. road point spread results has been almost identical with home teams having a slight 46-45-1 edge ATS (Against The Spread). Home favorites are 30-33 ATS while home dogs are 15-12-1. The home team has won the only game that closed pick’em.

There have been considerably more unders (52) than overs (40) through the first two weeks.

Scoring is down roughly three points per game versus the same period last season with slightly more than 193 total points being scored on average.

Here’s a look at three games this weekend:

Pistons at Lakers (Fri): The Lakers have been the most dominant team in the NBA thus far and figure to be heavily favored. Detroit recently acquired veteran Allen Iverson from Denver via trade and is considered the second best team in the East behind Boston. The Pistons are an aging team and did play Thursday night at Golden State. The Lakers seem intent upon sending a message to the rest of the league that this is going be the their season. Until they show signs of slowing down, play against them at your own peril. LAKERS.

Hornets at Rockets (Sat): Both have played well in the early going but neither has been outstanding thus far. The teams split four games last season with three staying under the total. Houston’s trade for Ron Artest in the offseason strengthened the roster and upgraded the overall defense. Although both teams are led by offensive stars Tracy McGrady of Houston and Chris Paul of New Orleans, this game figures to be decided at the defensive end of the court. UNDER.

Spurs at Kings (Sun): San Antonio is off to their worst start in years and started the season without Manu Ginobili. Now PG Tony Parker is out for as much as a month. Sacramento is in a rebuilding season and started off losing the first four games – but all were on the road. Upon returning home, where they have historically enjoyed a huge edge, the Kings reeled off three straight wins. Sacramento is in position to take advantage of the injury depleted Spurs, perhaps as a short underdog. KINGS.