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SAN ANTONIO SPURS (53-26) at HOUSTON ROCKETS (53-25)
The Spurs and Rockets meet in Houston Friday and these teams will be battling one another for their postseason positioning in this one.
These two teams met on Wednesday and San Antonio came away with a 110-98 home victory as a 6.5-point favorite. The Spurs picked up their ninth straight win-and-cover in that game and the Rockets loss snapped a three-game SU winning streak. In three meetings between these teams this season, the Spurs are 2-1 both SU and ATS but it has been the home team that has won-and-covered in every game. Over the past three seasons, the Rockets are 6-5 SU and 7-4 ATS versus the Spurs. Houston is also 4-1 both SU and ATS when hosting San Antonio over the past three seasons. San Antonio is 13-3 ATS after covering in eight or more of its past 10 games over the past two seasons. The team is also 14-4 ATS after eight or more consecutive wins over the past two seasons. Houston, however, is 11-2 ATS after a loss by 10 points or more this season and 32-16 ATS when revenging a loss where an opponent scored 110 points or more over the past three seasons. SG Marco Belinelli (Groin) and C Tiago Splitter (Calf) are questionable for the Spurs and the Rockets are without PF Donatas Motiejunas (Back) and PG Patrick Beverley (Wrist) for the season.
The Spurs are the hottest team in the league and PG Tony Parker (14.5 PPG, 4.9 APG) had one of his best games of the season against the Rockets on Wednesday. Parker had been the lone player on this team that wasnt playing up to his potential and he poured in 27 points in 26 minutes against Houston in that game. With Patrick Beverley out for the Rockets, Parker should be able to dominate whoever is guarding him on Friday. SF Kawhi Leonard (16.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.3 SPG) continues to play at a high level offensively and is now averaging 23.0 PPG over his past four contests. He has also come away with 14 steals over the past three games and should see some time guarding James Harden in this one. PF Tim Duncan (13.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.9 APG, 2.0 BPG) has been a monster defensively over the past two games, averaging 9.5 RPG and 4.0 BPG in just 25.5 MPG in those contests. Duncan is, however, averaging just 9.0 PPG in those contests and has taken just 5.4 shots per game over the past five contests. The Spurs are going to need to start getting Duncan some touches towards the end of the season, as they do not want him to be rusty when the postseason comes around. Hell need to be really active defensively on Friday if he spends some time guarding Dwight Howard.
The Rockets were unable to beat this same Spurs team on Wednesday and SG James Harden (27.6 PPG, 6.9 APG, 5.7 RPG, 1.9 SPG) had an inefficient shooting game, finishing with 22 points (6-for-15 FG) in 35 minutes. Harden will need to be better in this game or his team will not have much of a chance of beating San Antonio. C Dwight Howard (15.8 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 1.2 BPG) is starting to look like himself recently, averaging 19.0 PPG and 9.5 RPG in 22.5 MPG over the past two games. His minutes should start to increase moving forward and hell need to protect the rim against the Spurs on Friday. SF Trevor Ariza (12.9 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.9 SPG) had 19 points against the Spurs on Wednedsay and shot the ball extremely well, going 5-for-6 from the outside. Ariza will need to knock down some outside shots in this one as well. SF Josh Smith (12.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.1 SPG) will need to be on his game on Friday as well. Smith is a huge player off the bench for this team and can help on both ends of the floor. He had 13 points, five assists and three rebounds in 27 minutes of action on Wednesday and will need to make things difficult on whomever he is guarding in this rematch.
New NBA Age Rule: It's Not Okay If It's A Three-Way
This is because Commissioner Silver Football Live Betting Lines nfl football betting Online Bingo NFL Lines believes it is okay for him to negotiate the new age rule as a three-way conversation among NBA team owners, the players union, and the leaders of college basketball.
Antitrust law, however, would likely disagree. Under antitrust law, the new NBA age rule would not be okay if its a three-way.
The new rule wont stay if its a three-way.
Put Mark Emmert in the middle and theres no leeway. The NBA cant collude with the NCAA.
The federal statute that prevents the NBA from entering into a three-way conversation over the leagues minimum age rule is Section One of the Sherman Antitrust Act. That statute, in pertinent part, states that [e]very contract, combination or conspiracy, in the restraint of trade or commerce is declared to be illegal.
Based on this statutory language, courts have long prohibited any sports league with market power from unilaterally implementing a league-wide age requirement. For instance, in the early 1970s California federal courts struck down an NBA rule that had attempted to require high school basketball players to wait four full years after their graduation before entering the league.
Over time, courts have come to recognize the need for a narrow exemption from Section One of the Sherman Act to protect collectively bargained agreements between employers and their unions if reached through the proper workings of collective bargaining. Many courts have further limited this exemption from antitrust law to aspects of those agreements that primarily affect only the parties to the collective bargaining relationship.
Many of todays sports leagues age requirements seem to fall under this exemption.
Nevertheless, the three-way negotiation proposed by Adam Silver to the NCAA and its players union does not fit as neatly into the non-statutory labor exemption. Reason being, there is no labor law duty for the NCAA to negotiate with the NBA players over terms for entering the NBA.
To the contrary, the NCAA is a potential competitor of the NBA for the limited purposes of securing the services of college-age athletes. Thus, the NCAAs involvement in a bargaining negotiation with the NBA over a new league age rule seems a lot more like an illegal market allocation than a permissible form of labor cooperation.
Indeed, even under antitrust law, the suggestion of a three-way is generally a bad idea.
Marc Edelman is an Associate Professor of Law at the City University of New Yorks Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business, where he has published more than 25 law review articles on sports law matters. His most recent articles include A Short Treatise on Amateurism and Antitrust Law and The Future of Amateurism after Antitrust Scrutiny.