Two full months into the NBA season and injuries continue to play a major role. Below is a look at three games on the Tuesday night card in which key players might be out of the lineup.
DETROIT (-3½) at PHILADELPHIA
The Pistons will most likely be without their starting point guard again tonight as Chauncey Billups is doubtful due to an ankle sprain. Billups has missed the past three games and Detroit is just 1-2 SU/ATS during that span. Billups leads the team in assists (8.1 apg) and steals (1.3 spg) and is second on the team in scoring (18.0 ppg).
The Sixers have begun to play better basketball since the Andre Miller and Joe Smith were acquired from Denver in the Allen Iverson trade. The Sixers are 5-2-1 ATS in the eight games with both Miller and Smith in the lineup (Smith missed the Lakers game on Dec. 31st).
Philadelphia returns home from a season-high seven-game road trip and will be well rested with three days off. The team will most likely be without forward Chris Webber who has missed the past five games with a foot injury. Webber leads the team in rebounding (8.3 rpg), but ranks only fourth on the team in scoring (11.0 ppg).
PORTLAND at SAN ANTONIO (-11)
The Spurs snapped their three-game losing streak with an easy 110-96 win at Memphis on Sunday, even though their starting point guard Tony Parker was out with a strained hip. Parker is questionable tonight and leads the team in assists (5.9 apg) and is second in scoring (19.7 ppg).
San Antonio has dominated this series, going 11-1 SU (9-3 ATS) during the past twelve meetings with many blowout victories. San Antonio won both home meetings by 20 and 21 point margins last year.
L. A. LAKERS (-2½, 225½) at MEMPHIS
Despite being without second leading scorer Lamar Odom for the past fourteen games, the Lakers are still a solid 11-3 ATS during that span including a 101-98 upset win versus Dallas on Sunday.
The Lakers frontcourt has been decimated by injuries this season as their top three big men are currently out with injuries. Lamar Odom leads the team in rebounding (8.7 rpg) and is second in scoring (17.5 ppg), while Kwame Brown is second on squad in rebounding (6.6 rpg) and fifth in scoring (8.7 ppg). Both starters are out for at least another week, along with center Chris Mihm who is out for the season.
The lack of depth in the frontcourt has led to more playing time for rookie Andrew Bynum who has recorded a double-double (points and rebounds) in two of his past three games.
STEVE MERRIL is a professional sports handicapper and a documented member of The Professional Handicappers League. Get his Premium plays here.
Steve Merril is a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at http://www.procappers.com/Steve_Merril.htm