Can change cure worst losing streak?
The NBA season is a month old and we’ve just had our second coaching casualty. Hours before taking the court against the Lakers, New Jersey fired coach Lawrence Frank. That humane gesture prevented Frank from presiding over the Nets’ record tying 17th straight loss to open the season.
Frank joins ex-Hornets coach (and Franks’ predecessor as Nets coach) Byron Scott as the first two coaches to be relieved of their duties thus far. They are likely not the last coaches to be pink slipped as the NBA seems to experience more in-season coaching turnover than the other major sports.
On the court we are starting to see some elite teams surface. Nine teams have already won at least 10 games and it’s no surprise that the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston, Cleveland and Orlando are among that group. Portland, Dallas and Denver are also in this group and none of them comes as much of a surprise.
Atlanta’s 12-5 start is somewhat of a surprise but the biggest surprise continues to be the play of the Phoenix Suns. At 14-3 they have the league’s best record, a half game better than the Lakers. They are the lone remaining unbeaten team at home (6-0) and are getting balanced scoring with six players averaging in double figures, led by Amar’e Stoudemire’s 29.8 ppg. Steve Nash is dishing out a dozen assists per game and a healthy Grant Hill is playing a significant role and seeing nearly 30 minutes of action per game.
There have been just a few more UNDERs (127) than OVERs (120) with one Total ending in a PUSH.
Of course within these overall results are teams at both extremes and that information can be helpful in putting you on or keeping you off certain wagers.
Here’s a look at three games to be played this weekend.
Boston at Oklahoma City (Friday): Boston is likely to be favored by a decent number and deservedly so. They are the more talented and experienced team and arguably the team to beat in the East. Kevin Durant is an emerging star and his supporting cast has played well. Boston is off of a game Thursday night in San Antonio that was likely physically draining. The Thunder will be pumped for a strong effort against one of the league’s elite teams and while an outright upset would not be the shock you may think, taking the points is a very attractive option. OKLAHOMA CITY.
Houston at Portland (Saturday): These teams met twice during the opening week of the season with the host winning and covering both games. Portland has a few extra days of rest after having hosted Miami on Tuesday. They head east following this game. Although they did win at the Lakers Houston has generally struggled against the better teams they’ve faced this season. The Blazers are a young team with great upside potential and more often than not play to the level of their competition. They should be properly prepared for the Rockets and are well situated to cover the modest points they’ll be laying. PORTLAND.
Phoenix at L A Lakers (Sunday): Considering the strong starts by both teams this is the most attractive matchup of the weekend. The Lakers also took 3 of 4 from the Suns last season so the Suns have reason to be motivated for a strong effort here. Whether they can pull off the upset or not is debatable. But they are gaining confidence with each win and they are 8-3 away from home even with one of the losses on this court. The Lakers should again be solid favorites as Phoenix played in Sacramento on Saturday. The Lakers have shown a tendency of building big leads only to see them dwindle and the Suns figure to be playing hard in the fourth quarter even if they are trailing. PHOENIX.
Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Andy Iskoe