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NBA: West Finals Game 5 – Phoenix at Los Angeles

The Phoenix Suns, left for dead after Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, returned home and found life, winning both games over the Lakers to even the series at 2-2. The critical Game 5 contest is set for Thursday night in Los Angeles, and the winner will get a huge leg up. Oddsmakers at figure that team to be the host Lakers, as they are installed as 7.5-point favorites.

Los Angeles returns to the Staples Center where they are 41-7 (21-26-1 ATS) this season and need to reestablish control of the series. The Lakers are 12-3 ATS after three or more consecutive Over’s this year.

Kobe Bryant has been critical of his team’s defensive effort, however, others wonder if the Suns zone defense has gotten into the heads of L.A. players.

"It's the zone," Lakers center Andrew Bynum admitted. "We're settling for outside jump shots. They were out there moving that ball, they were confident playing at home and they really just shot the ball well. They had everybody spaced out so everybody's running around."

Though, as coach Phil Jackson pointed out, his team has shot 48.3 and 49.5 percent in the last two losses while averaging 107.5 points per game, but does some of the hesitation on the Lakers offense carry over unto the defensive end, causing lapses in concentration for a club not known for “Terminator” single-mindedness.

What the Lakers zone offense has also lacked is getting the ball into high post consistently, with cutters running baseline or weakside cutters slashing to the rim. While Ron Artest is still a fine defensive player, the loss of Trevor Ariza hurts the Lakers in this situation, since he has greater quickness, understands how to cut more effectively to the basket and is a more consistent three-point shooter than Artest.

Phoenix is bubbling with confidence and is 14-6 ATS in road encounters after a combined score of 205 points or more in a trio of tilts this season.

Channing Frye found his misplaced jump shot and the Suns reserves lambasted the Lakers bench 54-20 after being mildly ineffective for the first three games. "The bench played fantastic," the Suns' Steve Nash said.

Coach Alvin Gentry is earning his coaching “onions” as he left his bench players in the game for almost nine minutes of the final quarter, since they had produced 18-3 run, essentially putting Los Angeles away.

"We believe in those guys and they really believe in themselves," Gentry said. "I thought they were much better defensively than they were offensively, and they were great offensively."

Though no Phoenix player would publicly admit this, they know a Game 5 upset gives them best chance to win the series with Saturday’s conflict back at Planet Orange. A Game 7 win in L.A. would be a monumental task to pull off for Phoenix. has the Lakers as 7.5-point pick, with total of 217.5. Pau Gasol and the rest of his teammates have to play like they did during eight-game postseason winning streak (7-1 ATS) and they are 18-5 ATS when tied in a playoff series since 1996. The Suns are 33-14 ATS after allowing 105 points or more and will have to solve the Los Angeles team in the yellow uniforms since they are 1-7 and 2-6 ATS in L.A.

TNT continues with the series at 9:00 Eastern and the Lake Show is 8-0 OVER after two straight games where both teams scored 100 points or more this season.

The StatFox Power Line shows a Pick em’, indicating there is still plenty of value on Phoenix.

NBA: Top NBA Weekend Power Trends 3/5-3/7

I know it…it’s easy to nfl football betting Online Bingo Play Slots Online in US NFL Lines forget about the NBA at this time of the year. March is about college basketball, right? Well, the savvy bettor acknowledges every opportunity he is given and takes advantage if the situation warrants. With that in mind, the NBA board is loaded with 26 games this weekend, at least six each day. This weekend’s Top StatFox Betting Trends piece should help you separate some of the strong plays from the weak. Read on for a look at some of the featured action over the next three days, plus the list of the top trends you’ll want to consider as you build your wagering lineup.

On Friday, the weekend is kicked off with 11 different games, two of which will make up the ESPN doubleheader. In the first one, the Cavaliers will host division rival, Detroit. For whatever reason, Cleveland was strangely NOT on TNT Thursday night so this won’t be a back-to-back situation. LeBron & Co. have won four straight games, both SU & ATS, as they begin consecutive games against Central Division foes. For the record, they are 6-1 SU & 5-2 ATS in division play this season. The Pistons are 2-8 SU & 2-7-1 ATS in that scenario. In the late game, New Orleans and San Antonio will get together for the second time in five days, with the Hornets looking to avenge a 106-92 loss on Monday at home. The Spurs are still trying to figure things out this season and despite being 10-games over .500, are just 7-14 ATS in their L21 games. Elsewhere, the red-hot Bucks will be in Washington, sporting an 18-3-1 ATS mark in their L22 games, including a 100-87 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Also, watch for the Lakers in Charlotte, and the Mavericks, winners of their last nine games, hosting Sacramento.

On Saturday, there are nine games to choose from, including several with teams in back-to-back scenarios. Two that I mentioned earlier, the Bucks and Cavaliers, will go head-to-head in Milwaukee. HC Scott Skiles’ team boasts a 10-6 SU & 12-3-1 ATS mark on zero days rest while the Cavs are just 6-9 ATS. Also on Saturday, Atlanta will visit Miami. The Heat are scuffling a bit again, having lost four straight ATS. They are also just 12-17 ATS at home, plus 4-10 SU & 5-9 ATS on the back end of back-to-back’s. In Memphis, the Spurs will come calling, with the Grizzlies trailing San Antonio by four games in the Western Conference standings.

Sunday is once again national TV day in the NBA, with three games set for the tube. On ABC at 2:30 PM ET, the Lakers will take on the Magic in Orlando. Obviously, the Lakers are in good shape in the West, leading the conference standings by 5-1/2 games entering the weekend over Dallas. However, HC Phil Jackson has to be concerned about this trend going forward: LA LAKERS are 3-11 ATS (-9.1 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record this season. The average score was LA LAKERS 94.9, OPPONENT 98.1 - (Rating = 1*). The Magic are playing well again and have lost just six times at home this season. A bit later on ESPN, Boston will host Washington. The Celtics are not playing well of late but did turn back Charlotte by 24 points on Wednesday and could be ready to turn the corner. Wrapping up the night are Portland and Denver. The Blazers boast a 4-1/2 game lead for the 8th and final playoff spot out West and have come alive by winning five of six games. They will have been off since Wednesday and boast a 3-0 SU & 2-1 ATS mark when playing on 3+ days rest.

Now, here’s a look at those top StatFox Power Trends you’ll want to consider in your wagering action this weekend:

Friday, 3/5/2010
(807) NEW YORK vs. (808) TORONTO
NEW YORK is 29-13 ATS (+14.7 Units) revenging 2 straight losses where opp. scored >=100 points over last 2 seasons. The average score was NEW YORK 105.4, OPPONENT 105.8 - (Rating = 2*)

PHILADELPHIA is 0-10 ATS (-11 Units) at home vs. good passing teams, averaging >=23 assists/g over the L3 seasons. The average score was PHILADELPHIA 95.7, OPPONENT 106.1 - (Rating = 2*)

(813) ORLANDO vs. (814) NEW JERSEY
ORLANDO is 16-3 ATS (+12.7 Units) when playing against a terrible team (Win Pct. <=25%) over the last 2 seasons. The average score was ORLANDO 106.5, OPPONENT 92.4 - (Rating = 3*)

(813) ORLANDO vs. (814) NEW JERSEY
ORLANDO is 12-1 UNDER (+10.9 Units) on Friday nights this season. The average score was ORLANDO 93.5, OPPONENT 92.4 - (Rating = 3*)

(815) SACRAMENTO vs. (816) DALLAS
DALLAS is 1-10 ATS (-10 Units) in home games when playing against a team with a losing record this season. The average score was DALLAS 101.5, OPPONENT 98.7 - (Rating = 2*)

Saturday, 3/6/2010
(503) ATLANTA vs. (504) MIAMI
ATLANTA is 27-8 UNDER (+18.2 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent of 10 points or more over the last 2 seasons. The average score was ATLANTA 91.6, OPPONENT 93.3 - (Rating = 3*)

(505) NEW JERSEY vs. (506) NEW YORK
NEW JERSEY is 3-17 ATS (-15.7 Units) versus up-tempo teams averaging 83 or more shots/game this season. The average score was NEW JERSEY 92.3, OPPONENT 107 - (Rating = 4*)

MILWAUKEE is 5-16 ATS (-12.6 Units) revenging a close loss vs opponent of 3 points or less over the last 3 seasons. The average score was MILWAUKEE 95.3, OPPONENT 102 - (Rating = 1*)

(517) INDIANA vs. (518) PHOENIX
PHOENIX is 16-4 ATS (+11.6 Units) vs. poor teams outscored by 3+ PPG in 2nd half of the last 2 seasons. The average score was PHOENIX 121.9, OPPONENT 106.7 - (Rating = 2*)

Sunday, 3/7/2010
(803) LA LAKERS vs. (804) ORLANDO
LA LAKERS are 23-8 UNDER (+14.2 Units) on Sunday games over the last 2 seasons. The average score was LA LAKERS 103.1, OPPONENT 93.1 - (Rating = 2*)

(807) WASHINGTON vs. (808) BOSTON
BOSTON is 4-15 ATS (-12.5 Units) versus poor teams - outscored by their opponents by 3+ PPG this season. The average score was BOSTON 99.7, OPPONENT 95.1 - (Rating = 2*)

(807) WASHINGTON vs. (808) BOSTON
WASHINGTON is 10-0 UNDER (+10 Units) when playing against a good team (Win Pct. 60% to 70%) this season. The average score was WASHINGTON 93.8, OPPONENT 96.6 - (Rating = 4*)

(811) PORTLAND vs. (812) DENVER
DENVER is 23-11 ATS (+10.9 Units) revenging a same season loss vs opponent over the last 2 seasons. The average score was DENVER 107.6, OPPONENT 98.7 - (Rating = 1*)