Toronto at Orlando (-8 ½, 209)
Chris Bosh stole the show the last time these two clubs hooked up, dropping 40 points on 14-of-16 shooting from the floor to help the Raptors spank the Magic by 17 points. That won’t sit well with the Magic and this time the Raps won’t have Bosh to lean on. He’s out for about a week with a swollen knee. Toronto probably won’t shoot almost 59 percent like they did last time either.
Toronto has a lot of guys who can hit shots, but a lot depends on an inside scoring presence to open up those outside looks. Without Bosh, they don’t really have that - Orlando does.
Dwight Howard went for 37 points in Orlando’s latest losing effort against the Raps and has recorded six straight double-doubles including a 26-point, 22-rebound effort against the listless Knicks on Saturday.
Plus, if you’re in the market for look-ahead spots, Toronto might be thinking about tomorrow’s cupcake at Miami to end this mini road trip.
L.A. Lakers at Sacramento (+5 ½, 220)
It’s hard to go against the Lakers these days, especially when they’re favored by less than a touchdown. But they have dropped three of the last four against the number over a few hard-fought games. That slide likely ends tonight against a Sacramento club that had lost four straight before beating the Heat on Sunday.
The Lakers will be looking to make a statement here; they play Sacramento four times in L.A.’s last 22 games. L.A. has won and covered four of its last five meetings with the Kings.
"They're certainly a spoiler," Lakers coach Phil Jackson told the Los Angeles Times. "We are serious about how difficult it's going to be to go there and win."
In other news, Ron Artest was fined – again – for statements he made about Sacramento’s coaching staff following Sunday’s win over Miami.
Charlotte at Minnesota (-5, 196)
Things are looking up for the Bobcats, at least for the time being.
Charlotte hung tough with Boston over the weekend in an eight-point loss as huge 18-point underdogs and then pounded the Raptors in the battle of the boards to score a 110-98 upset at home to Toronto.
The Bobcats outscored the Raps 32-0 on second-chance points in a win that makes them feel a whole lot better about themselves considering they pulled it off without Gerald Wallace.
But defense is still a concern for Charlotte. The Bobcats are allowing 109 points a game over their last five, playing over the total in each of those. Minnesota isn’t much better in its own end, allowing about 102 points over its last five.
Check out yesterday's Pick 'n' Roll here.