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NBA Boston at New Orleans

March 19, 2007

NBA Basketball - Boston Celtics at New Orleans Hornets (-4Ĺ, 192) 8:00 PM ET

Chris Paul of the HornetsThe Celtics have the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 20-46 and earlier was likely one win over Milwaukee from having the longest losing streak in NBA history.

Bostonís best player Paul Pierce returned from a stress fracture in his foot during the gruesome streak and helped his team back to respectability. In the Celtics last 11 games they are 7-4 against unsuspecting foes.

One area that has been persistent all season is Bostonís spread record on the road. The Celtics have only managed 11 wins the green uniforms, yet are far and away the best bet on the road with 24-8-2 ATS record, good for a mind-boggling 75 percent. In fact the boys from Beantown are making more money for backers then a Warren Buffet tip with 16-3-1 ATS mark in last 20 road sojourns.

The explanations are as varied as cures for post St. Patrickís Day remedies. Opponents have no respect for Boston and put in less the stellar efforts allowing the Celtics to crawl under linemakers numbers. Another is the pressure of the losing streak was so mentally crushing and now the weight is off there shoulders, making them play looser and just enjoying themselves. Whatever the reason, oddsmakers have not been able to get a read on this baffling Boston team.

After hanging with Dallas in Big D and jarring the Spurs in San Antonio 91-85 as massive 13-point underdogs, Boston makes the trip to Oklahoma City to take on New Orleans.

For the second straight year, the Hornets have lost their sting in March, coming in like a lion and turning into a docile lamb. Last season New Orleans was presumed playoff bound and went 3-11 in March (3-11 ATS) to fall out of contention. This year after a rock solid 9-4 February, coach Byron Scott was convinced his team had grown from last yearís failures and would be ready for the rigors of crunch time basketball. Instead, New Orleans has been chewed like Captain Crunch with 1-7 (3-5 ATS) mark in the yearís third month.

After losing by 22 points at Washington and allowing 125, Hornets forward David West had this to say. "I don't know if we need another wake-up call, we are fighting for our lives, and we really don't have any room for error. We can't come out and give an effort like we did tonight. We just got outplayed." Gee you think!

New Orleans is posted as a 6-point home favorite at Bookmaker.com, with a total of 190.5. The Hornets lack of defensive intensity could prove to be profitable with 17-5 ATS mark after five straight games forcing opponent to commit 14 or less turnovers. Chris Paul is playing with stress fracture in his foot and is trying to help team improve on 19-13 SU and ATS home record.

It makes sense to take into consideration New Orleans is 19-6 ATS after a non-conference game this season. Yet if one believes in riding a hot or cold team until proven otherwise, it is nearly impossible to play against Boston on the road. The Celtics are 13-3 ATS in road games after playing two consecutive games as an underdog and 16-5 ATS revenging a home loss vs. opponent losing by less then four points a game.

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