NBA basketball - Washington Wizards at New Jersey Nets (-5, 205) 7:30 PM EST
New Jersey is exactly a half a game in back of Miami for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and is tied in the loss column with the Heat. The Nets are looking to make it three straight wins for just the fourth time all season against one of their favorite teams to lie a whuppin' to, division leading Washington.
Since the beginning of the new millennium, New Jersey has defrocked the Wizards as nothing more then meager illusionists with 10-1 record at home. During this time the Nets have formulated a little magic of their own for backers with 9-1-1 against the spread record.
Vince Carter has not been known for strong leadership qualities and has taken it upon himself in recent games to carry his team. "Vincanity" has scored 40+ plus in two of last three games trying to help Jason Kidd who is playing with a cracked rib. Carter, who will become enamored with the long shot, has been making the three ball lately. "It was sending a message like, 'I'm here,'" Nets coach Lawrence Frank said of Carter's 3s. "We feed off Vince and they were big rhythm shots. He's definitely playing at a higher level right now on both ends of the floor. Vince understands his responsibility and sets the tone for everything we do."
Washington is playing as a one man team, with Antawn Jamison out with a bum knee and Caron Butler suffering from back spasms, making him a game time decision tonight. Gilbert Arenas is pressing in order to help and in turn is not shooting as well as his last game proved with 4-of-22 and 1-of-11 from beyond the arc in Sunday loss at Minnesota 98-94. No team is going to be successful with two of three leading scorers on the bench.
The Nets open as a 5-point favorite at sportsbook.com with a total posted at 205. Besides making a mockery of this series at the Meadowlands, New Jersey is 8-2 ATS at home against teams with losing road records like Washington. (10-16, 13-12-1 ATS)
The Wizards are going to have to dig down a little deeper with the players on hand and try to improve upon 14-5 spread record as a road underdog of five to ten points.
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