It's the final day of the 2015-16 NBA regular season on Wednesday, and what a spectacular night it should be, one of the most important final days of a regular season that I can remember. Unfortunately, the two main games I'm interested are both starting at the same time: 10:30 p.m. From Oakland, the Golden State Warriors look for their NBA record 73rd win, and while nothing is a lock in sports I can't fathom a scenario where injury-ravaged Memphis prevents that from happening. And down the state in Los Angeles, the Lakers host the Jazz in the final game in the Hall of Fame career of Kobe Bryant. Ticket prices are of course absurd for that one, and I'm sure there will be many Hollywood types in attendance. I will be continuing these stories into the playoffs as long as there are multiple games on days.
Heat at Celtics (TBA)
First of an ESPN doubleheader. Miami was in Detroit on Tuesday. The Heat are currently fourth in the East, a half-game behind Atlanta for No. 3 and a half-game ahead of Boston and Charlotte for that final home-court advantage spot in the playoffs. The C's suffered a damaging 114-100 home loss to the Hornets on Monday. That means Boston can't get higher than No. 4 now. If Miami wins on Tuesday and Atlanta wins on Wednesday at nothing-to-play for Washington, the Celtics can secure the No. 4 seed with a win over the Heat. Boston leads the season series 2-0.
Key trends: The underdog is 11-1 against the spread in the past 12 meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in five of the past six.
Early lean: Lot depends on what Miami does Tuesday.
Raptors at Nets (TBA)
Toronto has no reason whatsoever to play anyone here -- and I'm sure won't -- as it is now locked into the East's No. 2 seed plus played Monday night at home against Philadelphia. The Nets already have shut down their two best guys and also have squat to play for since their first-round pick heads to Boston. The Raptors have won all three meetings this season.
Key trends: The Raptors are 3-7 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The over is 7-3 in the past 10 in Brooklyn.
Early lean: Brooklyn wins this one.
Magic at Hornets (-10.5, 209.5)
I really think the Magic can be a playoff team next season and they will be active this summer in trades/free agency. You hear Jimmy Butler's name in a possible trade. Might Dwight Howard return to the city as a free agent? Orlando closed its home schedule with a 107-98 win over Milwaukee on Monday. Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon both sat with a concussion, and I'm sure they won't play here. Game still matters to Charlotte. Hornets lead the season series with Orlando 2-1.
Key trends: The underdog is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 5-2 in those seven.
Early lean: Hornets and over.
Pistons at Cavaliers (TBA)
Detroit is either finishing seventh or eighth and is tied with Indiana for those spots. The Pistons hosted Miami on Tuesday. Cleveland wrapped up the top seed in the East on Monday with a win over Atlanta and already has announced LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will sit this one out. It's very possible these two face off again this weekend in the postseason.
Key trends: The Pistons are 7-2 ATS in their past nine in Cleveland. The over is 5-2 in the past seven there.
Early lean: If Detroit still has the No. 7 to play for, it wins here.
Hawks at Wizards (TBA)
Atlanta claims the No. 3 seed with a win here. It will be the final game for Wizards head coach Randy Wittman, who will be fired right after the season. Not sure what took the team this long. John Wall isn't expected to play here as he's dealing with a knee injury. You may well see other Wizards starters sit out as well.
Key trends: The road team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 5-1 in the past six in Washington.
Early lean: Hawks roll.
76ers at Bulls (-11.5, 210)
Philadelphia was in Toronto on Tuesday. Chicago has already ruled out Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose for this one. Gasol probably has played his final game in a Bulls uniform as a free agent, and Rose might be shopped this offseason. Not sure if anyone would take that contract, however, even with just a year left. This game means nothing.
Key trends: The 76ers are 4-0 ATS in their past four road games. The over is 6-0 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: 76ers and over.
Spurs at Mavericks (TBA)
This game means nothing to San Antonio, so you surely won't see several key Spurs. The Mavericks will finish seventh in the West with a loss and would face the Spurs in the first round. For the 15th time in 16 seasons, the Mavs will finish better than .500 and be postseason participants. Dallas can still move up a spot or two with a win and depending on what happens to Portland and Memphis.
Key trends: The underdog is 12-4 ATS in the past 16 meetings. The under is 6-1 in the past seven.
Early lean: Mavericks win.
Kings at Rockets (-14.5, 220)
Surely this will be it for Kings coach George Karl, who already has announced that DeMarcus Cousins will sit this game out. Rajon Rondo might too. Houston will gladly take that as the Rockets claim the No. 8 spot in the West with a win. The Rockets would still get in with a loss as long as Utah loses at the L.A. Lakers. But be aware this game tips at 8 p.m. ET and Jazz-Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET, so Houston won't know Utah's fate until after the Rockets play.
Key trends: The Kings are 2-6 ATS in the past eight meetings. The over is 4-1 in the previous five.
Early lean: Rockets and over.
Pacers at Bucks (TBA)
Indiana hosted the Knicks on Tuesday. I'm sure the Pacers would prefer to win out and assure themselves the No. 7 seed and play Toronto in Round 1 instead of Cleveland. Bucks are just playing out the string, but I expect them to be playoff team next season. Pacers have won two of three meetings this season.
Key trends: The road team is 7-2 ATS in the past nine. The over is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: I could see Indiana resting Paul George here. So wait and see what happens Tuesday.
Pelicans at Timberwolves (-9, 213)
New Orleans will finish with the sixth-worst record in the NBA and Minnesota the fifth-worst in terms of ping-pong balls for the draft lottery. Just been a stellar season for Wolves rookie Karl-Anthony Towns, who is averaging 18.2 points and 10.4 rebounds a game. He and Andrew Wiggins are why the Wolves could have just about their pick of coaches this offseason assuming they move on from interim coach Sam Mitchell.
Key trends: The home team is 10-3 ATS in the past 13 meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Wolves and over.
Grizzlies at Warriors (-16.5, 211.5)
Second ESPN game. Memphis was at the L.A. Clippers on Tuesday. The Grizzlies could slide as far as No. 7 in the West if they lose out. I don't think it matters who they play in the postseason -- it will be a sweep. Obviously this means everything for Golden State as the Warriors players have made no secret of wanting that wins record. Just get a big lead and get the stars out of there to avoid injury. When Memphis visited Oakland back in November, it lost by 50. One individual note here: with eight 3-pointers, Steph Curry would reach 400 for the season. Unthinkable even a few years ago. .
Key trends: The Grizzlies are 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 8-1 in the past nine.
Early lean: Warriors and over.
Jazz at Lakers (+8, 189.5)
This game was shifted to ESPN2 with the Warriors' record game picked up by ESPN. Utah has to win it and have Houston lose earlier in the night to the Kings, which I don't see happening. The Jazz will know by the time they take the court. And it looks like Utah will be without center Rudy Gobert after he hurt his ankle in Monday's loss to Dallas. The Jazz are going to be really dangerous next year with Dante Exum's return from a torn ACL. Obviously it's all about Kobe here as he plays in the 1,346th regular-season game of his 20-year career. Coach Byron Scott says Bryant will play the first 10 minutes or so of the first quarter and then they will see how Bryant feels as to how many more minutes the rest of the night.
Key trends: The Jazz are 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 4-1 in the past five in L.A.
Early lean: I love the Lakers here if Houston does win as expected. If somehow the Rockets don't, then Utah.
Clippers at Suns (TBA)
Los Angeles hosted Memphis on Tuesday. Coach Doc Rivers already has said he would rest some of his guys for this game but didn't say who. I'm sure Chris Paul will be one. I think Blake Griffin will play, though, as he needs all the minutes he can get to get into tip-top shape off that long injury absence. This presumably will be Earl Watson's final game as Suns interim coach. Phoenix is targeting the likes of Mike D'Antoni (really?), Luke Walton and former Suns fan-favorite player Dan Majerle, currently the coach at Grand Canyon University. Phoenix also is looking at Villanova's Jay Wright, but no one expects him to take the job.
Key trends: The road team has covered seven of the past 11. The under is 7-3 in the past 10 in Phoenix.
Early lean: Wait on Rivers' decision.
Nuggets at Trail Blazers (-8.5, 217.5)
Denver is playing out the string. Portland is currently fifth in the West and would stay there with a win, which would mean a first-round series with the Clippers. The sixth and seventh seeds are in play, however. But by the time Portland takes the court, it might already be locked into No. 5 and thus have no reason to play its top guys. The Blazers are 10-1 in their past 11 at home in the series.
Key trends: The road team is 9-4-1 ATS in the past 14 meetings. The over is 4-0 in the past four.
Early lean: Blazers if they have any reason to care and over.
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