I can't say I've ever been to a Sacramento Kings game at what is now called Sleep Train Arena, but I remember loving watching games on TV from there back in the early 2000s when the Kings were one of the NBA's best and most entertaining teams. You could hear the cowbells through your screen and it was a rabid fan base. Alas, the Kings could never reach the NBA Finals, usually running into the Los Angeles Lakers. Saturday will be the Kings' final game in that arena as they move to a new building, the Golden 1 Center, next season thanks largely to the efforts of former NBA All-Star and current city mayor Kevin Johnson -- it sure looked a couple of times like the Kings were going to move to Seattle or Kansas City, but Johnson got the financing in place. Kings players will wear retro baby blue jerseys and a retro court will be in use for the finale. Approximately 50 former players and coaches are expected to attend the game.
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Suns at Pelicans (-3, 207)
Likely plenty of good seats available for this ugly game. Think I'd rather be in the French Quarter on a Saturday night than be forced to watch this in person. Phoenix pulled a surprise Thursday in winning 124-115 in Houston to end a seven-game losing streak and severely damaging Houston's playoff chances. The Suns were down 13 in the third quarter. They got 36 second-chance points to just eight by Houston. New Orleans hosted the Lakers on Friday night so it will be quite a drop in fans in the building on Saturday as I'm sure Friday's game was sold out to see Kobe Bryant one last time. New Orleans leads the season series with Phoenix 2-1 but all three were played before Christmas so those mean little now with how different both clubs are due to injury.
Key trends: The home team is 8-1 against the spread in the past nine meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in New Orleans' past six overall.
Early lean: Can I pass? Suns and under.
Celtics at Hawks (-5.5, 204)
This game is potentially huge for the No. 3 seed in the East. Boston hosted Milwaukee on Friday. Atlanta beat Toronto 95-87 on Thursday to win for the 16th time in 21 games and avoid a four-game season sweep. Kent Bazemore sat out with an injured right knee and is day-to-day. Thabo Sefolosha started in his place and had 10 points. Boston won the first meeting vs. the Hawks at home very early in the season but lost the past two, also back in 2015. Thus a Hawks win gives them the tiebreaker. Boston has dropped three in a row in Atlanta.
Key trends: Boston is 2-8 ATS in the past 10 road games. The under is 7-1 in its past eight overall. The under is 5-2 in Atlanta's past seven overall.
Early lean: Hawks and under.
Warriors at Grizzlies (+11, 211.5)
ESPN game and should have live betting at sportsbooks. Memphis was at Dallas on Friday. Golden State became the second team in NBA history with 70 wins thanks to a dominant 112-101 win over visiting San Antonio on Thursday to clinch the West's top seed officially. The Warriors avoided losing back-to-back games for the first time all season and have outscored the opposition by 14.6 points in the games following each of their nine losses. I will be very interested to see what Warriors coach Steve Kerr does here with some key players as Golden State has a another huge one in San Antonio on Sunday. Of course the Spurs are unbeaten at home. If the Spurs win that one, they could break the Warriors' all-time home regular-season winning streak early next season. Kerr has said he would talk to his guys early Friday about possibly resting but most said they want to go for 73 wins. Golden State has blown out Memphis twice this season, both in November. The Warriors have won four straight overall in the series.
Key trends: The Warriors are 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 7-1 in the past eight.
Early lean: Wait and see what Kerr does here. I like the Grizzlies as of now, though, because even if all the Warriors play, they will be looking toward Sunday.
Cavaliers at Bulls (TBA)
ABC game and should have live betting at sportsbooks. This looked like a great matchup on paper when the season started, but the Bulls are out of the playoffs (well, they will be on Friday night). Cleveland sat LeBron James on Wednesday and lost 123-109 in Indiana. Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 26 points and six assists, while Kevin Love had 23 points and five rebounds. But the Cleveland defense was terrible. The Cavs' magic number to clinch the top seed in the East is one and they could clinch Friday if Toronto loses at home to Indiana. This is Cleveland's final regular-season road game. Chicago lost 106-98 in Miami on Thursday. The Bulls haven't missed the playoffs since 2007-08 but then won the 2008 lottery and the right to take Derrick Rose. Chicago won the first two meetings this season but lost the most recent on Feb. 18 in Cleveland.
Key trends: The road team is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 4-0 in the previous four.
Early lean: See who Cavs rest or not.
Timberwolves at Trail Blazers (-8.5, 218)
Minnesota won a second straight Thursday, 105-97 in Sacramento. I thought the Wolves might have a huge letdown after Tuesday's win in Golden State, but only if the Kings played all their regulars. They didn't. Gorgui Dieng had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead Minnesota. Karl-Anthony Towns had his 50th double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Portland won a second straight Wednesday, 120-115 over Oklahoma City, which rested its key guys. Al-Farouq Aminu scored 27 points and C.J. McCollum 26 as Portland became the first team in NBA history to earn a playoff berth while returning a roster that had two or fewer players with 1,000 or more minutes from the previous season. Those players are Damian Lillard and Chris Kaman, who barely plays now. I certainly expected the Blazers to be a lottery team. Portland has won four straight in this series overall and eight in a row at home. Lillard is averaging 24.7 points vs. Minnesota in the three games this season.
Key trends: The Wolves have covered just one of their past eight in Portland. The over is 12-4 in the Blazers' past 16 vs. the West.
Early lean: Blazers and over.
Thunder at Kings (TBA)
I would hope George Karl plays all his regulars here since it's the home finale. I have to think management would make him. I'm assuming it's also Karl's final home game. Karl rested DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo on Thursday and the Kings predictably lost to Minnesota 105-97. Darren Collison had 19 points and six assists in the Kings' third straight loss. Oklahoma City sat Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka on Wednesday in Portland and of course lost. Enes Kanter had a career-high 33 points and 20 rebounds for the Thunder. Hard to know what Coach Billy Donovan does here. I tend to think he plays his guys here and then Monday in the regular-season home finale but rests them next Tuesday at San Antonio. Oklahoma City leads the season series 2-1 and won the most recent 131-116 in Sacramento.
Key trends: The Thunder are 5-2 ATS in their past seven in Sacramento. The under is 10-3 in the past 13 meetings.
Early lean: Wait on Donovan's call and Karl's. Actually think the Kings will play pretty hard here and have a decent shot at winning outright if all their guys go.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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