If you happen to live in Los Angeles or another NBA city in which the Lakers will visit the rest of the season -- so New Orleans, Houston or Oklahoma City -- then good news if you are planning to see Kobe Bryant play in person before he retires. Bryant has said he plans on playing every game the rest of the way "unless something drastic happens." And that's how it should be. There's no reason at this point for Lakers fans to even attend their home games other than to see Kobe. Ditto the fans in those cities listed above unless they like blowouts. I know it was big deal to me to get to be able to see Michael Jordan in one of his last games. Even the refs appear to be enjoying Kobe's final ride as Bryant hasn't gotten a single technical foul yet. He used to get quite a few with his penchant for arguing calls.
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Hawks at Raptors (-3.5, 202.5)
Atlanta won a fourth straight Monday, 102-100 in Chicago. Jeff Teague scored 26 points, including four free throws in the final 22.2 seconds. Al Horford and Paul Millsap had double-doubles. The Hawks swept the Bulls for the first time in seven years. Toronto lost 119-100 on Monday to Oklahoma City in perhaps its worst home game of the season. DeMar DeRozan had 19 points for the Raptors, who are one victory shy of their first 50-win season in team history. Forward Terrence Ross missed a third straight game. Toronto is 2-0 against the Hawks this season, winning the most recent game 104-96 at home. Overall, the Raptors have won three straight in the series.
Key trends: The Hawks are 1-6 against the spread in the past seven meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in the past four.
Early lean: Raptors and under.
Nuggets at Grizzlies (TBA)
Denver lost 97-88 at home to Dallas on Monday. Will Barton had 23 points for the Nuggets, who finished with 21 turnovers. Kenneth Faried returned from a four-game injury absence but center Jusuf Nurkic was out with an illness. Memphis dropped a third in a row Monday, 101-87 at home to San Antonio. Zach Randolph missed his second straight game with a right ankle sprain. Memphis is 3-0 vs. Denver this season, has won five straight overall vs. the Nuggets and six in a row at home.
Key trends: The home team is 9-4 ATS in the past 13 meetings. The under is 7-1 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Wait on Randolph.
Suns at Bucks (-7, 212.5)
Phoenix dropped a third in a row Monday, 121-116 at Minnesota. The Suns turned it over 21 times, leading to 26 Wolves points. Devin Booker and Brandon Knight each had 30 points in the loss. Tyson Chandler played after being questionable with back spasms but only 19 minutes. Milwaukee lost its fifth straight Saturday, 115-91 against Charlotte. Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to eight points. Milwaukee won in Phoenix 101-95 on Dec. 20. The Bucks scored the final six points of the game.
Key trends: The road team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 10-4 in Phoenix's past four road games.
Early lean: Bucks and under.
Clippers at Timberwolves (+6.5, 212.5)
L.A. won its third consecutive game Monday, 114-90 over Boston. Chris Paul had 13 points and 14 assists and DeAndre Jordan 15 points and 13 rebounds. Paul Pierce injured his ankle in the game and likely will miss a few. Minnesota beat Phoenix on Monday, 121-116 behind 32 points from Andrew Wiggins and 27 points and 10 boards from Karl-Anthony Towns. The Clippers lead the season series 2-1 but lost the last meeting, 108-102 at home. It was Minnesota's first win there in four years. The Wolves have dropped seven straight at home vs. the Clippers.
Key trends: The Clippers have covered eight of their past 10 at Minnesota. The over is 7-1 in the past eight meetings.
Early lean: Clippers and over.
Knicks at Mavericks (-6, 203.5)
New York lost 99-91 in New Orleans on Monday. Carmelo Anthony scored 22 for New York. He was spooked briefly when a little kid ran onto the court late in the game to meet Melo. But all was well. Dallas ended a three-game losing streak with a 97-88 win in Denver on Monday. J.J. Barea scored 18 points and had 11 assists off the bench. Dirk Nowitzki had just 10 on 4-for-17 shooting. The Mavs played without point guard Deron Williams due to an abdominal strain. He's questionable at best here. Dallas won 104-97 in New York on Dec. 7. The Mavs have won four straight against the Knicks overall.
Key trends: The Mavericks are 4-1 ATS in their past five after a win. The under is 7-0 in New York's past seven playing on one day of rest.
Early lean: Mavericks and over.
Pelicans at Spurs (TBA)
Poor New Orleans. The injury-ravaged Pelicans welcomed Jrue Holiday back from injury in Monday's 99-91 win over New York but then saw him get blasted accidentally in the eye near the end of the game, so who knows if he plays here. Alonzo Gee also left in the third quarter with a quad injury. Ryan Anderson missed his fifth straight game with a left groin injury, and Norris Cole was out for his 11th in a row with a lower-back injury. The Pelicans have used 36 starting lineups this season, the most in the NBA. San Antonio won 101-87 in Memphis on Monday playing without Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. The original plan was for those latter three to play here as the Spurs want to stay unbeaten at home and they were simply resting for a second straight game. Leonard is dealing with a minor injury, so he's questionable. San Antonio leads the season series 2-1. The most recent was a 94-86 win in the Big Easy on March 3.
Key trends: The Pelicans have covered only six of their past 19 in San Antonio. The under is 4-1-1 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: Wait on all those Spurs.
Warriors at Jazz (+6.5, 206)
Golden State hosted Washington on Tuesday. I could actually see this as a potential loss for the Warriors if pushed hard by the Wizards and in the second of a back-to-back. Utah beat the visiting Lakers by 48 points on Monday. Rodney Hood scored all 30 of his points in the first half. Utah shot 51.7 percent in scoring a season high. Golden State has won 10 of the past 11 meetings vs. the Jazz but barely escaped at Utah on Nov. 30.
Key trends: The home team is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 7-2 in Utah's past nine overall.
Early lean: Jazz and under.
Wizards at Kings (TBA)
Washington was in Golden State on Tuesday. Good luck with that. Sacramento lost 105-93 in Portland on Monday as Coach George Karl rested DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo. He says he will continue to rest those guys down the stretch, but I would imagine mostly in road games. Marco Belinelli missed a second straight game due to a sore right foot. Washington took the first meeting 113-99. The Kings have won five straight at home vs. the Wiz.
Key trends: The home team is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 5-2 in the previous seven.
Early lean: Wait on all the Kings and to see what the Wizards do Tuesday.
Heat at Lakers (+9, 208)
Miami won a second straight Monday, 110-99 over visiting Brooklyn. Dwyane Wade played one of his best games of the year with 30 points on 14-for-19 shooting. In his last seven games against Brooklyn, Wade is averaging 27.1 points. The Heat were without starting point guard Goran Dragic, who was ill. The Lakers officially hit rock bottom in the worst season in franchise history with a 123-75 defeat at Utah on Monday. It tied the worst loss in franchise history and was the worst for Kobe Bryant, as he missed the other 48-point defeat on March 7, 2014, against the Clippers. Kobe was just 1-for-11 from the field vs. the Jazz in his final game in Salt Lake City. L.A. was outscored by a whopping 43 points with him on the court. That was his worst plus/minus rating ever. This will be the final matchup between future Hall of Famers Kobe and Wade. The Lakers lost 101-88 in Miami on Nov. 10. Kobe missed that one. The Heat have won seven in a row against Los Angeles.
Key trends: The Lakers are 1-6 ATS in their past seven at home. The over is 6-0 in Miami's past six on the road.
Early lean: Lakers and over.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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