Steve Merril's NBA Fullcourt Report (Jan 8)


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Monday, Jan. 8

There are five games on the NBA card for Monday night and four of the five contests involve non-conference matchups. Below is a detailed look at each game tonight.


The Sonics are playing without rest after losing 120-116 yesterday at New York. Seattle blew a 12-point lead in the game and now they stand just 1-2 SU/ATS since head coach Bob Weiss was fired on Tuesday.

The Sonics were led by Ray Allen (33 points) and Vladimir Radmanovic (30 ppg) yesterday, but they could not overcome a poor defense that allowed 120 points and 52% FG shooting. Seattle remains the worst defensive team in the league, allowing 105 ppg and 49% FG on average.

Philadelphia has been stronger at home this season (10-5 SU) compared to on the road (6-12 SU) and they are finally returning back to the East Coast after a season long seven game road trip. Philadelphia went just 2-5 SU/ATS during the trip and they enter this game off 20 and 26 point losses.

The road team has dominated this series the past four seasons, standing a perfect 8-0 SU/ATS with all eight wins incredibly coming outright by the underdog.

UTAH at WASHINGTON (-3, 191 ½)

This was an extremely competitive series last season as Washington won both meetings by a single point. The Wizards are struggling this season and stand just 13-18 SU and a money-burning 9-20 ATS. Washington has been particularly bad over their past fifteen games, going 5-10 SU and 4-11 ATS.

Utah has begun to play solid basketball since their best player, Andrei Kirilenko, returned to the lineup. The Jazz are 6-1 SU/ATS the past seven games, including a huge upset of the Detroit Pistons in overtime on Saturday night as an 11 ½-point road underdog.

Kirilenko is perhaps the best all-around player in the league as he is averaging 14.1 points per game, 8.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 3.3 blocks, and 1.5 steals. All five categories ranked either first or second best on his team.

DALLAS (-3 ½, 206) at BOSTON

The Dallas Maverick’s recent run of low scoring games will be tested tonight against the high octane Boston Celtics. The Under is 4-1 in the Maverick’s past five games and Dallas has scored 95 points or less in four of those five contests. Despite holding four of those recent opponents to 91 points or less, the Maverick’s defense still remains a question mark as Dallas has allowed at least 46% FG or higher in four of their past six games.

Boston is one is coming off back-to-back Unders; however the Celtics are still 9-2 Over their past eleven games. The main reason is incredible shooting as the Celtics have shot at least 48% FG or higher in ten straight games.

TORONTO at CHICAGO (-6, 202)

The Toronto Raptors had their five-game winning streak snapped on Sunday afternoon with a close 105-104 home loss versus New Jersey. Toronto blew a 12-point lead in the game, but still covered as a 4-point home underdog. Toronto is on a perfect 10-0 ATS run, but now must travel and play without rest.

Chicago is starting to turn things around after their 0-8 SU/ATS run and the Bulls are coming off back-to-back SU underdog wins over Milwaukee and Memphis. Chicago dominated the Grizzlies on Saturday night, 111-82, and shot an incredible 62% FG on offense.

The early overnight money came in on Chicago, moving this line from -5 ½ up to -6. It is no surprise as the Bulls are a perfect 10-0 SU/ATS in the past ten head-to-head meetings in this series.

INDIANA at L. A. LAKERS (no line)

The Pacers are coming off back-to-back double-digit road wins, including an easy 108-83 victory at Sacramento last night. Indiana regained the services of Jermaine O’Neal who leads the team in scoring (21.9 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg). He had missed the previous three games due to pneumonia. O’Neal was limited to just 22 minutes of action and scored just 12 points last night.

The Pacers have also been without their top point guard as Jamaal Tinsley has missed the past five games due to a bicep injury and is listed as questionable tonight. Tinsley leads the team in assists (5.4 apg) and is fourth in scoring (11.5 ppg).

The Lakers snapped their five game losing streak with a pair of wins on Friday and Saturday night. The victories coincided with the return of Kobe Bryant from his two-game suspension and Bryant has been unstoppable, scoring 48 and 50 points since returning.

The home team is a perfect 4-0 SU/ATS in this series the past two seasons.

Steve Merril is a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at


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