OK, Gregg Popovich. You are clearly one of the best coaches in NBA history and a future Hall of Famer. You obviously know much better than I do when to rest your players or not. But, please, please, don't do it Thursday night when the Spurs visit the Warriors, who are looking for regular-season win No. 70, two shy of the Bulls' league record. But knowing Popovich, he's not going to play the likes of Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. He already has hinted as much and it frankly does the Spurs franchise no good to stop the Warriors' quest for 73 wins. I wish the NBA could step in here and do something, but clearly the league's hands are tied. Do you think Michael Jordan would have taken a game like that off? No chance. I have no problem with Pop resting his guys Friday in Denver. San Antonio is then off until the Warriors visit on Sunday. Pop I think will play his guys there to try for the perfect home record this season. Let's hope he does Thursday too.
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Raptors at Hawks (-3.5, 201)
Toronto beat Charlotte 96-90 on Tuesday. DeMar DeRozan had 26 points and Kyle Lowry 21. Lowry showed no ill effects from attending Villanova's national title game win in Houston the night before and getting back home around 5 a.m. Lowry of course starred at Nova. Atlanta beat Phoenix 103-90 on Tuesday, rallying from a 13-point third quarter-hole. Paul Millsap had 17 rebounds, 13 points and a game-high eight assists. Toronto is 3-0 vs. Atlanta this season and just won by eight at home on March 30. The Raptors also have won three in a row in Georgia.
Key trends: The favorite is 6-2 against the spread in the past eight meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in eight of Atlanta's past 11 at home.
Early lean: Hawks as they still have the No. 3 seed to play for, while Raptors have no reason to play everyone.
Bulls at Heat (-5, 205.5)
First game of a TNT doubleheader and will have live betting at sportsbooks. Chicago is on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention after a terrible 108-92 loss at injury-ravaged Memphis on Tuesday. Derrick Rose returned from a two-game absence and had 12 points and eight assists. Jimmy Butler was scoreless through three quarters and finished with five points. Taj Gibson sat again and you won't see him here. Miami beat Detroit 107-89 on Tuesday, doing the Bulls a temporary favor. Goran Dragic had 22 points and Dwyane Wade, who was a game-time call, had 16 points. Miami leads the season series 3-0. The Heat have swept the Bulls just once before, in 2003-04.
Key trends: The Bulls are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 6-2 in the past eight.
Early lean: Heat -- as long as Wade goes; ditto Hassan Whiteside, who didn't practice on Wednesday due to a thigh injury -- and under.
Suns at Rockets (-13, 217)
Phoenix dropped a seventh straight Tuesday, 103-90 in Atlanta. One bright spot this season has been the play of rookie Devin Booker and he had 34 points in the loss. Phoenix will have a nice backcourt with Booker, Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe when those latter two return from injury next season. Perhaps Booker makes one expendable, however. Houston was in Dallas on Wednesday in a huge game. Houston leads Phoenix 2-0 this season and has won seven of the past eight. Both teams have scored at least 100 points in seven of the past eight meetings.
Key trends: The Rockets are 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings. The over is 4-1 in the previous five.
Early lean: Houston will expend a lot of energy on Wednesday, win or loss. Take the points here. Go over.
Timberwolves at Kings (-5, 223.5)
Minnesota pulled an absolute shocker in Oakland on Tuesday night, 124-117 in overtime, to end a three-game losing streak. Shabazz Muhammad scored a career-high 35 points, Andrew Wiggins had 32 and Karl-Anthony Towns added 20 points, 12 rebounds. Minnesota never led after the first quarter until overtime. Sacramento lost 115-107 at home to Portland on Tuesday. DeMarcus Cousins had 30 points and nine rebounds for the Kings. Rajon Rondo had his sixth triple-double with a season-high 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. George Karl rested Darren Collison, Kosta Koufos and Rudy Gay. Minnesota leads the series 3-0 and is looking for its first season sweep ever vs. Sacramento.
Key trends: The Wolves are 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 11-4 in Minnesota's past 15 after a win.
Early lean: Really like Sacramento if all the Kings regulars play, but I'm not sure they will. How are the Wolves not going to suffer a massive letdown?
Spurs at Warriors (TBA)
Second TNT game and will have live betting at sportsbooks. San Antonio played everyone but Boris Diaw (out two more games) on Tuesday in Utah and won 88-86 for its fourth straight victory. Leonard made the go-ahead jumper with 4.9 seconds and gave Duncan his 1,000th career regular-season win. The only other players with 1,000 are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Robert Parish but they did it with multiple teams. I have no explanation for Golden State's 124-117 overtime home loss to Minnesota on Tuesday. That was more stunning in some ways than the loss at the Lakers a few weeks ago. The Warriors had won 114 consecutive games (including playoffs) in which they had at least a 15-point lead at any time in a game. Draymond Green admitted after the team is tired and bored at this point and wants the regular season over. Now the Warriors have to win all four remaining to pass the Bulls' record. This will be the best matchup in NBA history at this stage of a season as measured by winning percentage. The previous highest combined winning percentage for opponents at least 65 games into a season was .816 (120-27) when the Bulls and Magic played on April 7, 1996. San Antonio and Golden State have split two games this season, each winning impressively at home. The Warriors won theirs at home by 30 on Jan. 25.
Key trends: The home team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 4-0 in the previous four.
Early lean: Warriors, who are trying to become the first team to not have back-to-back losses in a season.
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