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NBA Utah at New Orleans

February 29, 2008

NBA Basketball Betting - Utah Jazz at New Orleans Hornets 8:00 PM EST

Every night presents an important game in the tight Western Conference playoff race. Tonight is no different with Utah (+4.5) at New Orleans. So far, 71% of the early bettors favor the Hornets at  

Chris Paul of the HornetsNew Orleans is living proof that the NBA is all about matchups. They ended a three-game losing skid at home against Phoenix on Wednesday, beating Steve Nash and the Suns for a fourth straight time, completing the season sweep.

Now it's on to face Utah, who has pounded them by 28 and 22 points respectively this season and has whipped the Hornets four straight.

New Orleans is 10-1 ATS avenging a loss where an opponent scored 100 or more points this season.

"We're just going to watch the tape of the last two games to show them how physical a basketball team Utah is, even though they should have understood that after the first meeting," Coach Scott said.

"Hopefully we'll have a better idea of how to play them the third time. We have to understand that if they are going to play physical, we have to play physical as well."

Morris Peterson, Peja Stojakovic and Tyson Chandler all played well against Phoenix after struggling in prior games, and they need to deliver again if the Hornets are to sting Utah. New Orleans is 18-13-1 ATS coming off a cover.

Utah (37-21) is in first place in the Northwest Division and trails New Orleans (38-18) by three games in the loss column. Among the reasons for their success against the Hornets is the play of point guard Deron Williams, who has controlled and occasionally dominated his counterpart Chris Paul.

These two will forever be linked by the 2005 draft. Paul is a dynamic player who brings scoring and playmaking ability to New Orleans and has gone to the All-Star game the last two seasons.

While Williams has not been invited to the affair, his value and stock rise month by month in Salt Lake City. Though the two are considered friends off the court, Williams has used what he feels is a lack of respect to negate Paul when they have matched up.

The Jazz have hit a few bad notes of late, losing at the crummy Clippers and the terrible Timberwolves, before motoring past Detroit at home two nights ago. This is how Utah has played all season. Against teams with winning records, they are 17-9 straight-up and ATS.

When playing teams below .500, the Jazz are 19-12 straight up and 13-18 ATS. "That is something that we need to realize," Boozer said, "that we can be one of the best in the league, but we have to be one of the best in the league on a night to night basis."

The Jazz are 12-3 ATS when playing against a good team (Win percentage 60% to 70%) in the second half of the year over the last two seasons.

New Orleans enters this encounter with a 12-2 ATS record after two straight games committing 11 or less turnovers this season.

Check out the NBA basketball betting forum for picks and predictions for Friday's NBA games.

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