I don't write these stories Sunday for Monday -- hey, have to take one day off! -- but let's just say I'm expecting that night's game between the Clippers and Grizzlies to be really entertaining. Why? The teams don't love each other regardless, and now the Grizzlies are ticked off about a Tweet from the Clippers. It referenced Memphis' 50-point loss to the Warriors last Monday. Following L.A.'s near win over the Warriors on Wednesday, the Clippers' Twitter account posted the Memphis losing score followed by the hashtag #didntloseby50. That's classic, but the Clippers are gaining a reputation around the league as arrogant despite the fact they haven't won anything. They might be the most disliked team in the NBA. Some Grizzlies wanted that employee fired, but the Clippers didn't do that, although he/she was disciplined. Be on the lookout for some social media fun between these franchises before and after Monday's game. Probably some chippy play on the court as well.
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Timberwolves at Bulls (-8, 199.5)
Perhaps those reports of the demise of Derrick Rose were greatly exaggerated. Rose entered Thursday's game against Russell Westbrook and the Thunder having scored in single digits three straight games for the first time in his career. But Rose was terrific in the win over OKC with 29 points, seven assists and five rebounds, and he took over down the stretch. It looked like MVP Rose. I don't think he can play at that level nightly any longer, but he still has it in him at times. Minnesota lost a second straight Thursday, 96-84 at home to Miami. The Wolves' starters were outscored a crazy 81-29. Chicago has won three straight in this series.
Key trends: The Wolves are 8-3 ATS in their past 11 road games. The "over/under" has gone under in 10 of Chicago's past 11 after scoring 100 points or more in its previous game.
Early lean: This feels like a letdown game for Bulls. Take the points, go under.
Magic at 76ers (+5, 194.5)
Philadelphia was in Cleveland on Friday looking for its first win -- and that's obviously not going to happen. Orlando hosted Toronto on Friday. The Magic didn't have center Nikola Vucevic for that game due to a bruised knee and I doubt he plays in this one. Vucevic is averaging 15.8 points and eight rebounds per game this season. The Magic were 2-1 against the Sixers last season and have won 17 of the past 21 at home in the series. Orlando point guard Elfrid Payton was selected in the first round (10th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft by Philadelphia, but was traded to Orlando on draft night.
Key trends: The Magic are 10-2 ATS in their past 12 in Philly. The under is 8-2 in the past 10 meetings overall.
Early lean: Sixers and under.
Wizards at Hawks (-3.5, 205)
Second of a back-to-back for both as Washington was in Boston on Friday and Atlanta in New Orleans. Atlanta won the first three regular-season meetings with Washington last year, but the Wizards won the last near the end of the season when the Hawks rested all their starters. The two then met in the conference semifinals and the Hawks won in six -- Washington didn't have star point guard John Wall for Games 2-4 due to injury (Wizards lost two of those).
Key trends: Washington is 3-7-1 ATS in the past 11 meetings. The under is 6-1 in Atlanta's past seven at home.
Early lean: Wizards and under.
Pelicans at Mavericks (-5, 207)
New Orleans hosted Atlanta on Friday looking for its first win. The Mavs lost their second straight on Thursday, 108-94 at home vs. Charlotte. The Mavericks had run off 14 straight home wins over Charlotte's two NBA teams. Dallas held out Chandler Parsons, who is limited to about 15 minutes a game following offseason knee surgery, until the second half. He was 1-for-5 for two points. Don't think that will happen again. The Mavs on Thursday also extended Coach Rick Carlisle on a five-year, $35 million deal. Dallas won three of four vs. New Orleans last year and has won five straight in the series at home.
Key trends: Dallas is 8-3 ATS in the past 11 meetings. The over is 6-1 in the Mavs' past seven at home.
Early lean: Mavericks and over.
Nets at Bucks (-6.5, 198)
Brooklyn hosted the Lakers on Friday and Milwaukee was at the Knicks. The Bucks didn't get back injured guards Michael Carter-Williams and O.J. Mayo vs. New York but were expecting forward John Henson for that one. Of course Milwaukee is led by former Nets coach Jason Kidd. These teams played Monday in Brooklyn and the Bucks won 103-96 behind 26 points from Jerryd Bayless and 23 points and 13 rebounds from Greg Monroe. The Bucks didn't have Henson, Mayo or Jabari Parker then. Parker is back now, but since he's limited in his return from ACL surgery and was set to play Friday, he likely won't here.
Key trends: Brooklyn is 3-8 ATS in the past 11 in Milwaukee. The over is 6-1 in the past seven meetings overall.
Early lean: Bucks and under.
Hornets at Spurs (-11.5, 197.5)
Charlotte has woken up in a big way, winning its second straight Thursday in Dallas, 108-94. Al Jefferson dominated the paint with 31 points on 15-for-18 shooting. The Hornets outscored the Mavericks 58-36 on points in the paint. San Antonio has been off since a last-second loss in Washington on Wednesday. That was likely just a flat effort at the end of a road trip as the Spurs turned it over 21 times. San Antonio swept Charlotte last year and has won nine straight in the series overall.
Key trends: San Antonio is 7-1 ATS in its past eight on Saturday. The under is 13-6 in Charlotte's past 19 vs. the West. The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
Early lean: Spurs and over.
Grizzlies at Jazz (TBA)
This is the lone national TV game of the night, shown on NBA TV. Memphis was beaten 115-96 in Portland on Thursday. Marc Gasol was questionable to play with a neck issue but did. He had 15 points and five rebounds but was team-worst minus-21. Utah is off a 96-84 win in Denver on Thursday. Derrick Favors was questionable for that with flu-like symptoms. He played through it but not all that well with six points in 15 minutes and didn't play second half (I assume why TBA here). The Jazz and Grizzlies split four games last year, with the road team oddly winning all four.
Key trends: Memphis is 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 7-3 in the previous 10.
Early lean: Jazz and expect a very low-scoring game, Favors or not.
Warriors at Kings (+11.5, 218.5)
Golden State hosted Denver on Friday and Sacramento hosted Houston so I suppose slight edge to Kings in that they don't have to travel. Doubt it matters here. Kings star DeMarcus Cousins has been ruled out for the weekend with his Achilles' strain. The team was originally hoping just two games but that was always too optimistic. It's pretty simple regarding the Kings: bet against them SU every game he misses. They were routed the first two games he missed. Golden State has won eight straight in the series.
Key trends: The Warriors have covered six straight vs. the Kings. The under is 7-3 in the past 10.
Early lean: Warriors might mail this one in a bit knowing no Cousins. They will win but won't cover. Go under.
Rockets at Clippers (-7.5, 220.5)
Houston was in Sacramento on Friday. Dwight Howard isn't supposed to play in both ends of a back-to-back yet and apparently he wasn't playing Friday. So he will go here (that's the move I'd make too; Rockets can beat Kings without him). The Clippers are off a 112-108 loss in Golden State on Wednesday in which they blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead. This is the first meeting between Houston and L.A. since last year's conference semifinals won by the Rockets in seven. Their last time at Staples Center, they rallied from a 19-point third-quarter deficit to shockingly win Game 6.
Key trends: The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 6-1 in the past seven.
Early lean: Clippers want payback. L.A. and over.
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