The Brooklyn Nets stink and with probably the least-talented roster in the NBA and their next two first-round draft picks owed to the Boston Celtics in one form or another, they are going to stink for a while. So why not take a shot on a solid restricted free agent even if the other team matches? That's apparently going to be the case as the Nets are set to sign Houston forward Donatas Motiejunas to an offer sheet. The Rockets and the Lithuanian have been at a contract impasse all season and the team recently pulled its best offer so he hasn't played this year. The 26-year-old 7-footer has had some injury problems but showed promise in 2014-15 when he played 71 games and averaged 12.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Houston would then have three days to match any offer, but the Nets are so far under the cap that they can set up an offer that the Rockets probably couldn't match. Brooklyn struck out this offseason in signing Miami's Tyler Johnson and Portland's Allen Crabbe to offer sheets as those teams matched. I'm not saying Motiejunas would help the Nets win many more games, but he should make them a bit more competitive if it happens.
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Nets at Bucks (-10.5, 215.5)
Second of a home-and-home between the teams. Milwaukee won a third straight game on Thursday at the Nets, 111-93. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 23 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Jabari Parker scored 22 points. Brooklyn was probably still a bit flat off its upset double-OT win over the Clippers on Tuesday as the Nets failed to win back-to-back games for the first time this season. They have lost six in a row to Milwaukee.
Key trends: The Nets are 4-9 against the spread in their past 13 in Milwaukee. The "over/under" is 8-3 in the past 11 meetings.
Early lean: Nets (hard to sweep a home-and-home) and over.
Timberwolves at Hornets (-7, 206)
Minnesota was at the Knicks on Friday. Charlotte beat visiting Dallas 97-87 on Thursday. Kemba Walker had 18 points in an ugly one. But the Hornets bench contributed 46 points. They are 8-0 in games in which they've limited their opponent to fewer than 100 points this season. Charlotte has won six in a row in this series after winning in Minneapolis on Nov. 15, 115-108. Walker had 30 for Charlotte. Andrew Wiggins led Minnesota with 29 points. The Hornets have won the past four at home in the series as well.
Key trends: The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 4-1 in the past five in Charlotte.
Early lean: Hornets and under.
Hawks at Raptors (TBA)
Toronto hosted the Lakers on Friday. The Raptors are still resting forward DeMarre Carroll in one half of a back-to-back so he either sits Friday or this game. I would think Carroll would want to play here against his former team if he has a say. Atlanta hosted Detroit on Friday with Paul Millsap questionable. The Hawks lost the first three meetings with Toronto last year each by at least eight points but won the finale by eight at home.
Key trends: The Hawks are 1-5 ATS in their past six in Toronto. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: Raptors and under regardless if they play all their guys but Carroll.
Celtics at 76ers (TBA)
Boston hosted Sacramento on Friday and Philadelphia was home to Orlando. Sixers rookie star Joel Embiid isn't playing back-to-backs yet so he'll sit one of the two out -- probably this one. Jerryd Bayless (left wrist soreness) didn't play Friday and is questionable for Saturday. You still hear some rumors of a possible trade between these teams as the Sixers have too many big men and want to trade either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor. The Celtics could use another post presence and are loaded with guards, which Philly badly needs. Boston swept the Sixers last year and only one was close.
Key trends: The Celtics are 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The under is 6-1 in Boston's past seven road games.
Early lean: Celtics and under regardless.
Lakers at Grizzlies (+1, 205)
Los Angeles was in Toronto on Friday. Memphis ended a two-game losing streak with a 95-94 home win over Orlando on Thursday. Marc Gasol scored 25 points, including a pair of free throws with 12.2 seconds remaining as the Grizzlies rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit. Memphis dressed only nine players. You know Mike Conley is out around six weeks. Vince Carter, James Ennis, Chandler Parsons and Brandan Wright were all out hurt. Zach Randolph is away from the team after his mother died. Memphis has won the past five at home against the Lakers.
Key trends: The home team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven. The over is 4-1 in the previous five in Memphis.
Early lean: Lakers and over.
Bulls at Mavericks (+7, 188.5)
Potential letdown game for Chicago after hosting rival Cleveland on Friday. Might Dwyane Wade get this game off? He will occasionally get the second of a back-to-back off. Dallas lost 97-87 in Charlotte on Thursday. Wesley Matthews was just 1-for-11 from 3-point range. Deron Williams did not play down the stretch in the fourth quarter because he was on a minutes restriction on the second night of a back-to-back. Dallas swept Chicago last year for the first time since the 2009-10 season. The Mavs have won 14 of the past 18 at home vs. the Bulls.
Key trends: The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 8-3 in the previous 11.
Early lean: Mavs and under.
Nuggets at Jazz (TBA)
NBA TV game. Denver hosted Houston on Friday. Utah's four-game winning streak ended in a 111-110 home loss to Miami on Thursday. The Jazz had the ball with 3.9 seconds remaining and Gordon Hayward missed a contested midrange jumper before time expired. Hayward had a season-high 32 points and Utah made a franchise-record 17 3-pointers. George Hill and Rodney Hood both sat with injuries and are questionable here. Already the third meeting between Utah and Denver. They have split double-digit wins, each doing so at home.
Key trends: The favorite is 8-1 ATS in the past nine meetings. The under is 5-0 in the past five in Utah.
Early lean: Wait on Jazz duo.
Heat at Trail Blazers (-6.5, 209.5)
Miami won a second straight road game Thursday, 111-110 in Utah. Goran Dragic had 27 points and James Johnson a season-high 24. Josh Richardson and Dion Waiters both sat again and won't play here. Portland routed visiting Indiana 131-109 on Wednesday. Damian Lillard had 28 points and 10 assists and Maurice Harkless 23 points. Portland and Miami have split the season series in each of the past two years, with the teams winning both games on their home court.
Key trends: The home team is 4-0 ATS in the past four. The over is 12-1 in Portland's previous 13 at home.
Early lean: Blazers and over.
Suns at Warriors (-16.5, 228.5)
Phoenix upset visiting Atlanta 109-107 on Wednesday. Brandon Knight scored 23 points off the bench and Phoenix reserves combined for 54. Forward T.J. Warren missed a sixth straight game with a head injury. When I looked at Thursday's Rockets-Warriors game, I mentioned it wouldn't surprise me if those two teams each scored at least 130 points. I was just off as Golden State lost 132-127 in double overtime to snap its 12-game winning streak. Steph Curry fouled out early in the second OT. The teams combined for an NBA-record 88 3-point attempts. Draymond Green had 20 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists but did get a Flagrant-1 foul for one of his patented kicks -- it played a crucial role in double OT. I don't think he'll be suspended. Golden State is 2-0 vs. Phoenix this year and has won the past nine meetings. That ties the longest streak for either side in this series.
Key trends: The Suns are 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 5-2 in the past seven.
Early lean: Suns (cover not win obviously) and over.
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