The knee strain and bone bruise Kevin Durant suffered on Tuesday night at Washington that will keep him out at least four weeks really should only affect one of your futures tickets regarding the Golden State Warriors: their season wins total. Coming out of the All-Star break, the Dubs were given a total of 67.5 wins at 5Dimes. I thought they might come just under that because Coach Steve Kerr was going to make sure his stars were rested and fresh entering the playoffs after chasing 73 wins last season backfired a bit. Now I think the Warriors (50-10 entering Thursday) will finish surely under and absolutely will not become the first team with back-to-back 70-win seasons. The Warriors do seem safe to keep the No. 1 overall seed in the West, although the second-place Spurs still have two shots at them and both in San Antonio. As long as Durant can get a couple of games in late in the regular season and the Warriors stay atop the West, they will be fine. The various sportsbooks didn't have any major futures moves on Golden State in the wake of the injury.
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Knicks at 76ers (pick'em, 217.5)
We no longer have to worry about those TBA spreads regarding Philly with Joel Embiid - to no surprise, he has been ruled out for the season. I'll touch on what that means for the Rookie of the Year race on Saturday's Opening Line Report. The Sixers lost a third straight without him Wednesday, 125-98 in Miami. Robert Covington scored 19 for the 76ers. The Knicks got Kristaps Porzingis back from a two-game injury absence Wednesday and won in Orlando 101-90 on Wednesday. The Unicorn had 20 points. New York and Philadelphia have split two one-point meetings, each winning at home on a last-second shot.
Key trends: The road team is 4-1 against the spread in the past five meetings. The "over/under" is 6-1 in the 76ers' past seven home games.
Early lean: Knicks and over.
Raptors at Wizards ( -4, 208)
These teams played Wednesday in Toronto and the Wizards won 105-96, ending an eight-game losing streak in the series - and even more impressively the night after upsetting Golden State. Newly-acquired Bojan Bogdanovic had 27 points off the bench for Washington. John Wall had his 39th double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 assists. The Wiz had a 26-1 run at one point. This the last meeting between the teams and the series is tied 1-1. Thus, Friday's winner could have a huge tiebreaker in the race for the East's No. 3 seed. Toronto has won its past six trips to Washington.
Key trends: The Raptors are 3-8 ATS in the past 11 meetings. The under is 5-1 in the past six.
Early lean: I normally take the team the lost the first end of a home-and-home to win the second half as it's tough to sweep these. But as the Raptors don't have Kyle Lowry, go Washington.
Heat at Magic (+5.5, 209)
Miami crushed visiting Philly 125-98 on Wednesday. Tyler Johnson scored 24 points off the bench. The Heat shot 54 percent and topped 120 points for the third time this season. Orlando lost 101-90 at home to the Knicks on Wednesday. The Magic had just 11 assists and scored only 39 points in the second half. Terrence Ross scored six points while shooting 3 of 10 from the field, including 0-for-5 from 3-point range. Orlando leads Miami 2-1 this season so this is the finale.
Key trends: The Heat are 6-2 ATS in their past eight in Orlando. The over is 5-0 in the past five meetings.
Early lean: Magic and over.
Cavaliers at Hawks (+3.5, 214)
ESPN game. Cleveland lost 103-99 in Boston on Wednesday in a potentially huge game. LeBron James had a triple-double of 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Kyrie Irving added 28 points for the Cavaliers, who lost for the first time this season when leading at any point in the fourth quarter on the road. Atlanta won a second in a row Wednesday, 100-95 over Dallas. Paul Millsap banked in a shot off a spinning drive with 30.5 seconds remaining for the go-ahead bucket. He was two rebounds shy of a triple-double. Cleveland lost to Atlanta in the first meeting 110-106 way back on Nov. 8. This is thus the teams' first time playing since the Hawks traded Kyle Korver to Cleveland for Mike Dunleavy and a future first-round pick.
Key trends: The Cavs are 7-2 ATS in the past nine meetings. The over is 7-3 in the previous 10.
Early lean: Hawks and over.
Clippers at Bucks (+3.5, 216)
Los Angeles lost 122-103 at home to Houston on Wednesday. Chris Paul had 16 points and 10 assists to lead the Clippers. Milwaukee dropped a second in a row Wednesday, 110-98 to Denver. Nikola Jokic, who is becoming one of my favorite players, had a second straight triple-double, this time with 13 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. It was his fourth career triple-double -- all in his last 13 games. Point guard Jameer Nelson, who now starts ahead of Emmanuel Mudiay, was out with an illness. First meeting between L.A. and Milwaukee. The Clippers swept last year.
Key trends: The Bucks are 1-7 ATS in their past eight home games. The under is 5-2 in the Clippers' past seven on the road.
Early lean: Clippers and under.
Grizzlies at Mavericks (TBA)
Memphis won its second straight Tuesday, 130-112 over Phoenix. Mike Conley had 29 points and Marc Gasol, who used to never take 3-pointers, was 5-for-5 from out there for 28 points. The Grizzlies shot 56 percent overall. Dallas lost a second in a row Wednesday, 100-95 in Atlanta. Harrison Barnes led the Mavs with 25 points. Wesley Matthews sat out. This starts a five-game homestand for Dallas. Memphis took the first meeting vs. Dallas this season in ugly 80-64 fashion on Nov. 18 to snap a three-game losing streak against the Mavericks
Key trends: The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 10-3-1 in the previous 14.
Early lean: Not sure why the TBA - don't think it's due to Matthews. Perhaps because the Grizz play again Saturday and have been known to rest guys.
Nets at Jazz (-14, 204.5)
I took the Nets and the points on Wednesday at Sacramento as I honestly thought they had a chance to end their 16-game losing streak - and they did, 109-100. Brook Lopez had 24 points and eight rebounds as his team never trailed. He became the second Net to reach 10,000 career points. Utah lost a second in a row Wednesday, getting trashed 107-80 at home in the second of a back-to-back by Minnesota. The Jazz shot only 38.9 percent. Utah won the first meeting 101-89 in Brooklyn on Jan. 2. The Nets did win in Salt Lake City last season.
Key trends: The Nets are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 10-1 in Utah's past 11 following a double-digit home loss.
Early lean: Nets and under.
Thunder at Suns (TBA)
Oklahoma City was in Portland on Thursday with Victor Oladipo iffy again. Phoenix hosted Charlotte on Thursday. The Suns have officially pushed Brandon Knight and Tyson Chandler out of the rotation - it's officially tank time in the desert. OKC is 2-0 vs. Phoenix this year - Russell Westbrook had 51 points on Dec. 17 - and has taken six straight in the series.
Key trends: The Thunder are 8-3 ATS in their past 11 in Phoenix. The over is 4-1 in the previous five there.
Early lean: Wait and see how both do Thursday and who might sit Friday.
Spurs at Pelicans (+6, 210)
Second ESPN game. San Antonio won its fifth consecutive Wednesday, 100-99 vs. Indiana. Kawhi Leonard had 31 points and 10 rebounds. Tony Parker sat out with a bruised quad. San Antonio is 10-2 without Parker this season. New Orleans got its first win since the DeMarcus Cousins trade on Wednesday, 109-86 over Detroit - while playing without the suspended Cousins. Hmm. Anthony Davis had 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Cousins will be back here. Final meeting between San Antonio and New Orleans, with the Spurs leading 2-1.
Key trends: The Spurs are 3-8 ATS in the past 11 meetings. The under is 6-1 in the Pelicans' past seven overall.
Early lean: Pelicans - Spurs may rest guy or two playing again Saturday -- and under.
Celtics at Lakers (+7.5, 220.5)
Boston kept its chances of catching Cleveland for the East's top seed alive with a 103-99 home win over the Cavs on Wednesday. Isaiah Thomas scored 31 points, including a pair of go-ahead free throws. Jae Crowder added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Los Angeles lost its fourth in a row Tuesday, 109-104 to Charlotte. D'Angelo Russell scored 15 of his 23 points in the first half for the Lakers. They clinched a fourth consecutive losing season for the first time since 1961, the franchise's first year on the West Coast. Boston beat L.A. 113-107 on Feb. 3 and, sadly, no one was chanting "Beat L.A." like in the good 'ol days of this rivalry.
Key trends: The Celtics are 2-8 ATS in their past 10 after a win. The over is 5-1 in the Lakers' past six at home vs. teams with a winning record.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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