Atlantic Division Preview (Feb. 24)

Things have started to get real tight in the Atlantic Division as New York’s lead has dwindled to just one game over Brooklyn.

Both sides will be in action Sunday, each knowing that wins are vital between now and April. They’ll both also know that wins will come at a premium from here on out. takes a look at this close race and those other games on tap in the Atlantic Division on Sunday.

Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks will look to improve Sunday night against Philadelphia after a poor run of form over recent weeks.

After four straight losses and five from the last six, New York (32-20, 19-8 home) is starting to look a little shaky at the top of the Atlantic Division standings. The Knicks are just one game ahead of the Nets entering play on Sunday.

This slump has also seen the Knicks fall into third place in the Eastern Conference, behind Miami and Indiana. Mike Woodson’s side must win if it’s to prevent any further damage.

Philadelphia (22-31, 6-17 road) is another team trending downwards. The Sixers have also lost four straight and five of six, and now sit just one-half game ahead of last-place Toronto in the division. The side is 3.5 games back in the race for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference, and only a struggling Milwaukee side – losers of eight of 10 – is keeping things interesting.

The Knicks and Sixers will square-off for the final time this season on Sunday. Previously, the Knicks took two games early in November while the Sixers came back and won 97-80 on Jan. 26 in Philly.

The Sixers’ woeful road record has seen the side lose seven straight away from the City of Brotherly Love. Doug Collins’ side last won on the road on Jan. 1 in Los Angeles (Lakers).

Philadelphia has gone 6-6 against Atlantic Division opposition, while New York trails with a divisional record of 5-6. That record includes a 100-98 loss in Toronto on Friday night. Philadelphia suffered a 114-90 loss at home to Miami on Saturday.

New York is the favorite entering this game with the spread at nine.

Philadelphia has struggled against the spread this season, compiling a 24-29-0 ATS record, including a 9-14-0 ATS tally on the road and a 12-18-0 ATS record as underdog.

New York has fared slightly better, compiling a 26-26 ATS record all told, and a 15-12-0 ATS record at home. However, the Knicks are 19-23-0 ATS when entering the game as favorite.

The total opened at 188.5. The Knicks (25-25-2) have split their games evenly between the over and under this season, with a pair of pushes, while Philadelphia (27-26-0) marginally favors the over.

Memphis Grizzlies at Brooklyn Nets

Late-game heroics from Joe Johnson had the Nets buzzing earlier this week, but a visit from the Memphis Grizzlies could put the shackles on Brooklyn on Sunday.

Brooklyn (33-23, 20-11 home) could erase that one-game gap at the top of the Atlantic Division with a win over the Grizzlies on Sunday evening. Of course, the Knicks will need to lose to Philadelphia as well.

A 106-96 loss to Houston on Friday night snapped the Nets’ four game winning streak, which had in turn snapped a period of four losses from six. The streaky Nets will look to score a win over a tough Memphis (36-18, 14-10 road) side at the Barclays Center.

So far this season, the Nets have not beaten a team from the Southwest Division, piling up five losses against that division’s representatives. This streak includes a 101-77 loss when these two sides met in Memphis (Jan. 25).

Memphis put together an 88-82 win over Orlando on Friday, running its current winning streak up to six games. The Grizzlies have won two straight on the road also, which could spell trouble for P.J. Carlesimo’s side.

At publication time, a line had yet to be released for this game. Check out the NBA Odds page to get news as soon as it is published.

For the record, Brooklyn is 25-29-2 ATS this season with a disappointing 12-17-2 ATS record at home. The Nets are 13-15-2 ATS when considered the favorite and 12-14-0 ATS as an underdog.

Memphis is 31-22-2 ATS this season, including 14-10-0 ATS on the road. The Grizzlies are 26-17-1 ATS as the favorite and 5-5-0 ATS when playing as the underdog.

Both Brooklyn (24-32-0) and Memphis (23-30-1) have favored the total going under this season.

Boston Celtics at Portland Trail Blazers

Jeff Green had a big night against Phoenix on Friday. Can he and the Celtics follow it up with a road win in Portland?

Boston (29-26, 9-17 road) scored a 113-88 victory over Phoenix on Friday night, despite Kevin Garnett resting for the game. The Celtics will hope for a similar result on Sunday in a third game of a four-in-five stint. A win might be hard to come by though.

The Celtics will need to improve on a horrible road record this season if the team is to continue to hold its position in the Eastern Conference standings.

Many believed the side wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace after Rajon Rondo suffered a season-ending injury, but seven straight wins suggested otherwise. However, that trend lied. Six of the seven wins came at TD Garden, where the Celtics have played well this season. Since, the side has gone 2-3 in a stint that has included four on the road. With six of the next eight on the road, the Celtics need to improve.

Playing Portland (25-30, 17-9 home) might give the side a good opportunity to do that.

The Celtics defeated the Blazers 96-78 on Nov. 30. The Celtics have also posted a 5-1 record against Northwest Division sides. Tellingly though, all five wins came in Boston.

Portland has lost seven straight and eight of the last 10, numbers that are sure to buoy the Celtics. However, like Boston, Portland is a much better side at home, and that 10 game streak included eight away from the Rose Garden.

The Blazers did lose the last time they played in Portland – a 102-98 loss to Phoenix – but prior to that the team had won four straight. The Blazers are also 2-0 against Atlantic Division opponents playing in the Pacific Northwest.

Portland is a marginal favorite with the spread opening at one point.

Boston is 24-28-3 ATS this season with a 9-15-2 ATS record on the road and a 9-11-2 ATS record as the underdog. Portland is 23-30-2 ATS this season with a 12-12-2 ATS record at home but a 7-13-1 ATS record as the favorite.

The total opened at 191. Boston (27-27-1) has split games evenly between the over and under with one push, while Portland (29-26-0) has favored the over slightly.

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