Tuesday Teaser

March 12, 2024

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are in a slump; there’s no other way to slice it. Since improving to 32-17 back on Feb. 1, they’re just 5-10 over their last 15 games. And things may have hit rock bottom on Sunday when they lost to the 76ers by a score of 79-73.

No, that wasn’t the outcome at the end of the third quarter. That was the final score of the entire game. A measly 73 points was the fewest amount scored by any team in the NBA this season.

New York shot just 32.5% from the field and 22.5% from three in the loss. They scored 17 or fewer points in three of the four quarters. It truly was the ugliest offensive display fans may see all year.

The good news? They get a rematch on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. The 76ers stayed in town and the two teams will play a back-to-back on the same court. 

Philadelphia, still missing Joel Embiid, got a huge lift on Monday when they found out Tyrese Maxey had cleared concussion protocol. He will be available for the first time since March 3 against Dallas.

As Embiid still recovers from a knee injury and tries to get back this season, Maxey remains the team’s best offensive threat. In 55 games, he’s averaging 26.0 points per night and 6.3 assists. They obviously missed him in the first contest against New York, putting up just 79 points of their own.

Kelly Oubre Jr. led the way with 18 points and Buddy Hield had 16 off the bench, but that’s not a formula to win most games. Three of Philly’s five starters scored eight points or fewer. It was gritty defense that got it done, and certainly not anything on offense. Maxey should provide an immediate boost in that department. 

The Sixers are 3-3 over their last six games, as they continue to adjust to life without Embiid and try to avoid the play-in tournament in the Eastern Conference. They’re currently at 36-28, holding off the Pacers and Heat by just a single game in the loss column and sitting at the No. 6 seed. Every outcome from here on out is critical.

If fans want to look at it glass half empty, they could easily tumble all the way to the No. 8 seed before the year is over. That’d be a huge drop for a squad that many thought was a title contender.

On the glass half full side of things, another win against the Knicks on Tuesday would have both teams at 28 losses and New York just a half game ahead in the standings. With Orlando also in the mix at 37-28, there’s still a chance that Philadelphia could get to the No. 4 seed and have homecourt advantage in Round 1. This game could go a long way toward deciding which direction everything goes the rest of the regular season. 

Jason Schlefsky’s Pick: Philadelphia +6.0 (-110)

Getting Maxey back out there will be a big boost for the 76ers both emotionally and allowing their offense to look significantly more fluid. Scoring 79 points isn’t going to win you a ton of games, so they’ll need to play better than that to sweep this mini-two-game set. On the other side, the Knicks have hit some sort of wall. They made several tweaks around the trade deadline, but they can’t get healthy or find their chemistry as of late. OG Anunoby could play for the first time since Jan. 27 with an elbow injury, but it’s hard to expect much out of him in his first time back on the court in six weeks. Coming off one of the ugliest games of the year, New York might be pressing. That never works well in the NBA and could lead to another tight and low scoring game. In that case, you have to take the points, as Philly could win outright but will at least cover if they don’t in another close contest.


NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado made four deals at the NHL trade deadline, but perhaps their biggest move was the return of forward Valeri Nichushkin. After missing a couple of months while getting help in the Player Assistance Program, Nichushkin returned on Friday night against the Wild and scored the game-winning goal in overtime.

It marked a third straight win for the Avalanche, as they try to chase down yet another Central Division title. They’re currently four points behind the Dallas Stars, with the pesky Jets in the mix, as well. Colorado needs every win it can get if it wants home-ice advantage in the first-round and beyond. After a rough stretch post All-Star break, the Avs are now 5-1 over their last six games and 8-3-1 during their last 12 contests. 

Meanwhile, the Flames would need a miracle run to make it to the playoffs. With just 67 points not only are they eight back of Vegas for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference, but they’d have to jump the Kraken and Wild in the standings and also have the Blues to contend with. It’s a lot of points to make up, and a lot of teams battling for a seat at the table.

It doesn’t help that Calgary has lost two games in a row and three of their last four, including a couple in ugly fashion. A three-game road trip to the Southeast didn’t finish up the way anyone would’ve liked.

The Flames got toasted by the Panthers by a score of 5-1 before getting blasted by the Hurricanes 7-2. Those are two legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, showing just how far away Calgary might be. A four-game homestand starting with the Avalanche is their only chance to salvage the season.

In two previous meetings this season, the Avs have bested the Flames both times, although each of those were in Denver at Ball Arena. Back on Nov. 25, it was Colorado earning a 3-1 victory thanks to a goal and an assist from Nathan MacKinnon, who continues to look like the favorite for the Hart Trophy. On Dec. 11, the Avalanche erased a 5-3 Flames lead in the third period by scoring three-straight goals to win it 6-5. It was MacKinnon with the game-winner after Mikko Rantanen tied things up 5-5.

That’s the stars showing up in a big way, something Colorado has and Calgary lacks. Mackinnon leads the Avs with 111 points on the season. For perspective, the Flames are paced by Nazem Kadri with 55 points, or less than half that total. Kadri’s a darn good player in his own right, but it shows the difference of who will be chasing the Cup this spring and who will be playing golf. 

Norm LaChatlier’s Pick: Colorado ML (-170)

The Avalanche look rejuvenated after a flurry of deadline activity, the return of Nichushkin and knowing the regular season has a little more than a month left. They also haven’t played since Friday, giving their legs a nice chance to rest with a rare three full days in between games during the NHL season. The Flames know deep down they’re not going to make the playoffs, and the two blowout losses before a long flight home on Sunday night were a cruel reminder. One team has a lot on the line and the other is quietly counting down until vacation. Colorado takes it by a score of 5-2, and MacKinnon lights the lamp at least once.

And Keep an Eye On…

NCAAMB: Conference Tournaments (starting today)


Conference Tournaments within the Power 5 start up today. We don’t know the full details of the slate, but we do know some of the teams that will play on Wednesday, including No. 20 BYU and No. 16 Kansas. No. 2 UConn and No. 4 North Carolina are set to tip-off on Thursday, along with No. 1 Houston, No. 6 Arizona, No. 7 Iowa State, and No. 11 Duke among a load of other ranked teams as conference tournaments kick into gear. This is one of the best times of the year for sports bettors, as conference tournaments represent the last opportunities to get a read on teams ahead of the big dance. Make sure to stay locked in on the SuperBook app as lines and prices change leading up to tip-off and during games.


NBA: Denver Nuggets at Miami Heat (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The best game of the week in the NBA comes in the form of an NBA Finals rematch as the Denver Nuggets travel to South Beach to face the Miami Heat. The Nuggets beat the Heat on March 1, 103-97. Now, Miami will have a chance to even the season series at 1-1 when they play on Wednesday night. Despite being well over .500, the Heat enter the week penciled in as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, although they are within two games of the No. 4 slot. Every game matters for Miami down the stretch, and they will take on a Nuggets team that appears to be rounding into championship form. Denver has won the last seven consecutive head-to-head regular season matchups versus the Heat.


NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Vancouver Canucks (Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET)

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best games on the ice is on Wednesday night as the Colorado Avalanche travel to Vancouver to take on the Canucks. The Canucks sit atop the Pacific Division with 91 points, 10 points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers for the second spot. Vancouver enters this game riding a four-game winning streak, including a 5-0 bludgeoning of the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. Vancouver will have two full days of rest heading into this game. The same cannot be said for the Avalanche, who will be playing during primetime on the second night of a back-to-back. Colorado has won three straight games and will look to match Vancouver with four wins in a row as they take not the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.