LA Lakers Visit Dirk And Dallas Mavericks

By: Adam Markowitz | Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Matters in the Atlantic Division have gotten a bit tighter over the course of the last few weeks. The Philadelphia 76ers once looked to be running away from this division, but thanks to the emergence of the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks, there are three teams in the thick of the fight as we head down the stretch.

New York and Philadelphia are going to be involved in one of the top NBA betting battles on Wednesday when the two meet in the City of Brotherly Love for a 7:00 p.m. (ET) tip on ESPN.

The Knicks have won and covered three straight games since Mike D'Antoni left the team, with Tuesday's home game vs. Toronto still pending. New coach Mike Woodson has his squad playing team basketball, and all of the big time scorers are getting the job done. The proof is on the scoreboard, where New York has averaged 112.7 PPG since Woodson has taken over.

The ATS trends all point towards the Knicks in Wednesday's contest. The road team is 10-3 ATS in the last 13 meetings, and prior to losing to the Sixers in March, New York had covered seven out of eight against them.

The second half of the ESPN doubleheader (9:30 p.m. ET) pits the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks against each other in a rematch of the Western Conference playoffs last year. Los Angeles still has to be seething over getting swept in that series, and it has shown with a pair of wins over the Mavs already this year.

This time around though, the Lakers are in quite the tough scheduling spot. They have to take on the Houston Rockets on Tuesday and then turn around and get to Dallas pronto for Wednesday night's clash.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks are on fire, having won four straight games, three of the four by at least seven points. In all four, the Mavericks have scored at least 101, and they haven't allowed any of their four foes to get to triple digits.

This could be the first time that Jordan Hill suits up as a Laker. He hasn't played since being acquired from the Rockets. Getting Hill into the fold would help LA's depth, especially if the hip injury to Metta World Peace is bad enough to keep him out of the lineup for this road trip.

Dallas will be without Delonte West and Brendan Haywood, while Shawn Marion is listed as questionable with a knee injury.

If you thought the scheduling spot for the Lakers was bad though, the situation that Phoenix is in on Wednesday is even worse. The Suns have to take on the Miami Heat on Tuesday, and then go to Amway Center to meet the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

The Magic were blown out of the water in arguably their worst showing of the season against the Chicago Bulls on Monday. After shooting 35.3 percent from the floor, you know that Orlando is going to come up with a much better effort than the 59 points that it scored against Chicago.

Tip time from Orlando is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET).

The Bulls improved to 13-2 SU and 10-5 ATS in their last 15 games with the win in Orlando, and they'll hope to keep that going Wednesday when they face the Toronto Raptors in a 7:00 p.m. (ET) tip at Air Canada Centre.

There are two other 7:30 (ET) tips on Wednesday night. The New Jersey Nets will take on the Washington Wizards, while the Atlanta Hawks entertain the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Hornets will get it on in the Crescent City in an 8:00 p.m. (ET) start time. The Oklahoma City Thunder and their 19-4 home record will host the Los Angeles Clippers at 8:00 (ET) as well.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, who just snapped their three-game skid on Monday night, will take on the San Antonio Spurs in the sixth game of a 7-game road trip (8:30 p.m. ET) and the Detroit Pistons square off with the Denver Nuggets at 9:00 (ET) in the Mile High City.

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