Allen Iverson scored 51 points last night in a Nuggets loss. I wonder how much he would attribute that great night of his to his practice routine.

Do you think he practices those wild fall away, tear drop, floaters off the glass? How about the ones where a defender is landing on him as he shoots?

Do you think Iverson was frustrated in scoring 51 and still losing that game? They didn't lose because they played a better team in the Lakers. They lost because they simply played horrible defense.

If The Nuggets play that kind of defense against the Mavericks tonight, they will lose horribly.

The Mavericks have not been playing well all season. In fact, it is their normally stellar defense that has been letting them down. Usually Avery Johnson has his team hustling and really getting in the face of every opposing shooter. Lately, they look a little lazy out there.

One commentator I heard recently said the Mavericks were taking a new approach to their season this year. He said they realized after last season that the regular season is not so important after all, that they can take it easy in the regular season in anticipation of playing all out in the playoffs. While there may be some truth to that mentality, it appears the Mavericks are taking it a little too easy.

The Mavericks are eight point favorites tonight and they are the best bet in this game. They are without a doubt the better overall team. The difference maker in this game will be defense. It is more likely that Johnson will have the Mavericks whipped into shape for tonights game than it is the Nuggets will play good defense.

The Miami Heat are looking pretty bad lately.

Between Dwyane Wade looking tired and out of shape coming off surgery, to Shaq just looking old and tired, they are lacking any spark that would get you too excited about betting on them.

Still, the Heat are the good bet tonight as a three point favorite.

The Porland Trail Blazers are the home underdog. Would it be a shock if they won this game? No, but I would not want my money resting solely on the shoulders of Brandon Roy.

He may be a good, young player, but he is not good enough to carry a team against the likes of D-Wade and Shaq, even if they are not at top form.

The point to keep in mind here if you wanted to wager on this one is: Will the Heat win? we don't know that. We do know, however, that all they have to do to win is play half way decent; just show a little bit of that old championship spark. For Portland to win, they really have to play a great game. I think the championship experience of Shaq and D-Wade will prevail in this one tonight.


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