Ness Notes (February 11)

Under the lights of the Friday night NBA, a series of impressive streaks came to an end. Dallas had won 13 straight games (11-2) before their game at Denver, the longest winning streak of any team this season. The Mavs had held all 13 of their opponents to under 100 points in the process and in Denver they faced a team that had lost its previous NINE against point spread and would play without Marcus Camby. Naturally, the Nuggets never fell behind in the game and led by Kenyon Martin with a season-high 34 points, they beat the Mavericks 113-10!

By the way, my free game last night was Denver! For Saturday, it’s Colorado over Texas Tech in college hoops (4:00 ET). In Saturday’s NBA, I’m looking to continue my current streak of 71.4% with my 10* Blowout of the Month. In college hoops, I’m featuring an exclusive LEGEND Play, my 20th Situational Game of the Year* (expect a total blast!), and another Las Vegas Insider.

San Antonio also snapped the Nets’ (9-3 ATS) 12-game home winning streak last night, winning 83-73 at the Meadowlands. While Duncan battled the flu (34 minutes/12 points), Ginobili and Parker combined for 41 points for the Spurs. The Bobcats’ modest three-game winning streak (believe it or not, a franchise record!) also ended Friday, when Charlotte lost to Toronto, 88-73. The Celtics had lost six straight games, both SU and ATS, before Friday night’s game with Portland, but won easily, 115-83.

Let the pathetic Knicks keep a streak alive as they lost 111-100 in Oklahoma City to the Hornets. The Knicks have now lost EIGHT > games in a row and 14 of their last 15 (3-12 ATS). There is no doubt that Larry and Isiah have things under control in New York! What about the “homeless” Hornets? Unlike the Saints of the NFL, this New Orleans-based team has THRIVED in their “home away from home,” with a combined 17-8 record at Oklahoma City and Baton Rogue.

There’s only one short four-game card in Saturday night’s NBA, but if one believes in “revenge” games, there are three. The Cavs were defeated in Oakland by the Warriors on January 20, 99-79. Tonight, they host the Warriors in Cleveland (7:35 ET) where they are 18-6 SU and 14-9-1 ATS. The Warriors are 5-13 since Jan. 1 (the Cavs are 7 1/2-point favorites with a total of 198 1/2). The Rockets own the worst home record in the league at 6-16 (no other team has fewer than nine home wins!) and host the Jazz in Houston tonight at 8:35 ET (the Rockets are six favorites). points with a total of 171/12).

The Jazz beat the Rockets 82-74 in Houston in December, but Ming did not play in that game. Houston has both McGrady and Ming for this one (13-6 when both play). Speaking of returning injured players, Utah forward Carlos Boozer played just over six minutes in the team’s 94-80 victory last night at Minnesota. He marked his first action since Feb. 14, 2005 (he had missed the last 80 games!). Memphis has beaten the Lakers in the previous three meetings and looks to make it 4-0 tonight at Staples Center (10:35 ET).

However, the Grizzlies just lost last night in the same building to the Clippers (91-87) and have now lost seven of their last eight games. The Lakers will play at home for the first time since January 27. They just returned from a seven-game road trip (2-5) and are 4 1/2-point favorites with a total of 185 1/2. LA enters a six-game home winning streak.

Saturday is always a great day in college basketball and today is no different. The top four teams in the nation play away from home, while no fewer than 14 games will be televised by the ESPN family of networks or one of the major networks. Two of Saturday’s games feature top 25 opponents and both are on television.

George Washington brings the nation’s longest current winning streak into today’s action at 11-game winning streak, but just behind the Colonials at 10-game winning streak are Bucknell, Gonzaga, Memphis and U Conn. Gonzaga owns the nation’s longest current home win streak at 35 and will host Stanford tonight in a non-conference clash.

The Bulldogs remain one of SIX schools entering Saturday’s game still undefeated in conference play (Bucknell, Duke, GW, Memphis and Penn are the others), while FIVE schools enter this weekend still winless. at their respective conferences. That list includes Prairie View, St Bonaventure, South Florida, Texas State, and The Citadel. Four of the five play today, with the exception of St Bonaventure who play on Sunday.

ESPN kicks off at 12:00 ET with No. 18 Iowa at No. 24 Indiana. Steve Alford beat his alma mater on Jan. 24 in Iowa City (73-60), but finds his Hawkeyes four-point underdogs today (132 1/2). The other game involving ranked opponents is No. 13 UCLA at No. 21 Washington on ABC (regional) at 3:30 ET. The Huskies defeated the Bruins on January 14 at Pauley Pavilion, 69-65. Washington rallied from a 15-point deficit in that game and is 14-2 this year. The Huskies are favored by 3 1/2 points with a total of 146 1/2.

No. 1 U Conn visits Seton Hall at 8:00 ET. Seton Hall is 0-9 when facing the No. 1 team in the nation and that includes an embarrassing 93-40 loss earlier this year (Nov. 16), to then-No. 1 Duke. Although the Pirates (15-6) have won six in a row, they still find themselves as 7 1/2-point home dogs against the Huskies (total is 142). No. 2 Duke is in College Park to face Maryland at 1:00 ET on CBS. The Blue Devils beat Maryland by 24 points earlier this year and the Terps have played the last five games (going 2-3) without their leading scorer (Chris McCray), who has been suspended for a year due to poor ratings. Duke is favored by 5 1/2 points with a total of 159.

No. 3 Memphis is at Marshall (4:00 ET), where the Tigers are favored by 16 points with a total of 142. No. 4 Villanova plays on DePaul on ESPN at 2:00 ET. The Wildcats are favored by eight points with a total of 134 1/2. No. 8 George Washington is at St Joe’s on ESPN2 at 2:00 ET. The Colonials are favored by 3 1/2 points with a total of 143. Finally, Stanford visits Spokane at 9:00 ET, trying to end Gonzaga’s 35-game home winning streak. The Bulldogs are favored by 7 1/2 points with a total of 146.

Ness Notes is available at 1:00 ET Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday notes at 11:00 ET.

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