NBA Odds: Thursday, April 3, 2014 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 4/2/2014
The TNT doubleheader is back this Thursday, and it's a good one featuring two potential Western Conference playoff matchups in Spurs-Thunder and Mavericks-Clippers. Dallas, however, still has some work to do to reach the postseason. Here's a look at the only two games on Thursday's schedule. No early lines on each with so much up in the air.
Spurs at Thunder (TBA)
The Spurs took an 18-game winning streak into Wednesday night's game against short-handed Golden State, so it's probably safe to say that San Antonio will be going for No. 20 in a row here. As of this writing, Coach Gregg Popovich hadn't planned to sit any of his Big 3 on Wednesday. Would he here in the second of a back-to-back? Oklahoma City has been off since blowing out the Jazz by 20 on Sunday. Kevin Durant looks for consecutive game No. 39 with at least 25 points in this one. OKC plays again Friday night in Houston. Russell Westbrook gets one game of a back-to-back off. I'd imagine that would be Friday. However, he has sat in the first game of the past three back-to-backs. TNT executives would throw a hissy fit if both the Spurs and Thunder rest stars here. It's possible OKC's Kendrick Perkins could return for this one.
San Antonio can just about shut things down for the rest of the regular season should it choose to if the Spurs can win this game. They are going to get the top overall seed for the NBA playoffs with a victory -- likely even if they don't win. The Thunder have had San Antonio's number, winning all three matchups this season. That said, the teams haven't played since Jan. 22. Durant has only been mortal in those three games, averaging 25.7 points and hitting 33.3 percent from long range. Westbrook has played in two of the games, averaging 18.5 points and hitting 39.5 percent from the field. The Spurs' Big 3 of Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have played all three games as well. Parker is averaging 25.3 points, Duncan 14.3 points and 10.3 rebounds and Ginobili 11.0 points.
Key trends: San Antonio is 0-6 ATS in its past six in OKC. The "under" is 5-2 in the past seven meetings.
Early lean: Wait and see who plays, but I think the Thunder end the streak if both are at full strength. Popovich doesn't care about winning streaks.
Mavericks at Clippers (TBA)
This TBA is because of L.A.'s Blake Griffin, who was considered doubtful to play Wednesday night in Phoenix. Jamal Crawford sat that one out as well. It would be semi-surprising for both to play Thursday because in some ways the Clippers have nothing to play for here. They are almost surely to be the West's No. 3 seed. The Mavericks have no such luxury of resting guys as they have to keep winning just to get into the postseason. They entered Wednesday a half-game out of the No. 8 spot and lost a crusher 122-120 at home in OT on Tuesday to Golden State. The Mavs are just 1-4 in OT this year.
Los Angeles leads the season series 3-0, and the games have all been pretty entertaining offensive basketball. The most recent was March 27 in Dallas where the Clippers rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to win 109-103. L.A. outscored Dallas 16-2 down the stretch to win by seven points in the first meeting on Jan. 5. Twelve days later, the Clips rallied from 17 points down to win by two. Griffin is averaging 22.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists against Dallas this season, so the Mavs would love to see him on the bench.
Key trends: The road team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The "over" has hit in all of them.
Early lean: If Griffin and Crawford sit I'd lean the desperate Mavericks.
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