NBA Full Court Report (Thursday, Nov. 30)

We have a couple of strong national TV matchups for Thursday night that could well be teasers for the next playoff series this spring. Below is a look at each game on TNT tonight.


This is a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals and the Pistons will have the rematch on their minds after losing in six games. The Pistons were just 1-5 ATS in all six playoff games last year after going 3-1 SU (2-2 ATS) in all four regular season games.

The overnight money has been in Detroit and the Over, as the opening line has risen from -2½ to -3 and the opening total has increased from 193 to 193½ at most locations.

Both teams started the season slowly, but it seems like each club is starting to turn things around. The Pistons started with a 3-5 SU (4-4 ATS) record, but have since had a perfect 6-0 SU (5-1 ATS). Miami started the season 4-8 SU (3-9 ATS) but has since won back-to-back games in which they have shot 55% and 59% from the field.

Detroit has shown some defensive weakness in its last two wins as they allowed Charlotte and Washington to shoot 48% and 49% from the field and the Pistons overall allowed 101.3 points per game over the past week.

Miami does not yet have Shaquille O’Neal, who recently underwent knee surgery and is expected to miss another month. Dwyane Wade has been a one-man team and leads the team in scoring (28.1 points per game) and assists (8.4 points per game). Udonis Haslem has also stepped up his game and leads the team in rebounding (9.5 rpg) and is third in scoring (13.2 ppg) behind Wade and O’Neal.

UTAH at LA LAKERS (-4, 201½) (TNT)

A couple of division leaders fight tonight in this Western Conference showdown. The Jazz improved their league-best record to 13-3 SU last night with an 83-75 home win over the Spurs. Utah snapped a two-game losing streak with the win and overcame a 10-point deficit in the game. Both defenses dominated, with Utah shooting the Spurs 41-40% overall.

The Jazz are one of the best offensive teams in the league, averaging 100 points per game and 46% shooting from the field. Utah was shooting more than 50% from the field for the first two weeks of the season, but they’ve cooled down a bit and have shot 45% or less in five of their last six games.

Surprisingly, Utah’s offensive decline has coincided with the return of its best player, as Utah is just 2-2 SU / ATS in the last four games since Andrei Kirilenko returned from an ankle injury instead of 6-0. SU (4-2 ATS) in all six games Kirilenko missed or limited.

Utah’s offense should be successful tonight as they face a struggling Lakers defense that has allowed at least 48% shooting range or more in each of its last four games. Los Angeles fought Milwaukee Tuesday and allowed the Bucks to score 109 points and shoot 51% overall. After a brief 4-0 SU (3-1 ATS) run, the Lakers have had just 1-2 SU / ATS in their last three games.

This is a quick revenge game for the Lakers, as they just lost at Utah 114-108 last Friday night. The Lakers squandered a 6-point lead heading into the fourth quarter of that game, but couldn’t stop the Jazz who shot 54% overall and was led by 31 points from Carlos Boozer.

STEVE MERRIL is a professional sports handicapper and a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League. Get your Premium plays here.

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