The Dwyane Wade Experiment has been a failure with the Chicago Bulls, and it could be over for good. No one really understood what the Bulls were doing this past offseason when they signed Rajon Rondo and Wade when they were supposed to rebuilding around Jimmy Butler. Wade at least made some sense from a marketing perspective as the future Hall of Famer was returning to his hometown and still was a good player. Wade only left the Heat, however, because he was low-balled in contract negotiations. Wade's season is over with a sprain and small fracture in his right elbow. He averaged 18.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists but was forced to sit out a handful of games (most in the second of a back-to-back).
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This news essentially ends the Bulls' playoff chances, not that they were great with him. I doubt Wade decides to exercise his player option to return next year. He wants to play for a title contender and the Bulls are miles from that. He also clearly doesn't respect Coach Fred Hoiberg. Perhaps the Heat bring Wade back for a swan-song season? He'd have to take a huge pay cut to go join pal LeBron James in Cleveland. For the Bulls' betting perspective, I'd be leaning 'under' their totals more often than not the rest of the way. They weren't great offensively as it was.
Kings at Thunder (- 12.5, 215)
Unusual 3 p.m. ET tipoff. Sacramento won a second straight game Wednesday,107-101 in Phoenix. Did the Kings players not get the tanking memo? Rookie Skal Labissiere scored 21 of his career-high 32 points in the fourth quarter. He never scored near that many in his one season at Kentucky. Darren Collison sat out the game as a scheduled rest day and should be back here. Oklahoma City won its fourth straight Thursday in a 123-102 minor upset at Toronto. Russell Westbrook had triple-double No. 34 this year with 24 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds. Final meeting between Sacramento and OKC. The teams have split two games at the Kings.
Key trends: The Kings are 6-2 against the spread in the past eight meetings. The "over/under" is 5-0 in the past five.
Early lean: Kingsand over.
Trail Blazers at Hawks (-3.5, 212)
Portland pulled a big surprise in San Antonio on Wednesday, 110-106, in the second of a back-to-back. Damian Lillard had 36 points and C.J. McCollum 26 for a team that lost by 23 in New Orleans the night before. Like to tell you I saw Wednesday coming but that would be a lie. Atlanta lost a second straight Thursday, 103-91 at home to Memphis. Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Hawks with 18 points. A 13-point third quarter did them in. Atlanta defeated Portland in overtime, 109-104, at the Moda Center on Feb. 13. The Hawks have taken the past five in the series overall.
Key trends: The Blazers are 9-23 ATS in their past 22 after a win. They are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 8-1-1 in the Hawks' past 10 after a loss.
Early lean: Hawks and under.
Wizards at Hornets (TBA)
Washington hosted Chicago on Friday with John Wall questionable due to a foot injury. Charlotte lost its third consecutive Wednesday, 98-77 in Indiana. Charlotte outscored Indiana in the paint 42-18, but the Hornets shot just 40 percent (32 of 80) while the Pacers finished shooting 53 percent (39 of 73). Nic Batum sat again with a migraine. Washington leads Charlotte 2-0 this season, scoring 109 points in each.
Key trends: The Wizards are 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 4-1 in those.
Early lean: Wait on Wall.
Cavaliers at Clippers (TBA)
The Saturday night ABC game as LeBron goes up against another good buddy in Chris Paul. The Cavs welcomed back Kevin Love earlier than expected Thursday and beat Utah 91-83. Love had 10 points in 19 minutes and LeBron 33 points. However, both Iman Shumpert and Kyrie Irving left with injuries. Neither injury is serious but both are in question here. Kyle Korver (sore left foot) missed his fifth straight game, but is expected to return as early as Saturday. The Clippers lost a third straight Thursday, 129-114 in Denver. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan didn't even make the trip as they were given a rest day. The Clippers won in Cleveland 113-94 on Dec. 1 in one of their most impressive games of the season. All the key Cavs did play. L.A. has lost the past two in the series at home, however.
Key trends: The Clippers are 1-5 ATS in their past six at home. The Cavs are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 6-2 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Wait on Irving.
Jazz at Bulls (+6.5, 194)
Chicago was in Washington on Friday. Presumably, Butler will slide back to shooting guard in Wade's absence and Nikola Mirotic will start at small forward. Or the team could start rookie Denzel Valentine in Wade's spot and leave Butler where he is. Utah's two-game run ended in a 91-83 loss in Cleveland on Thursday. Rudy Gobert led Utah with 20 points and 18 rebounds. The Jazz ran out of gas in the second of a back-to-back. Forward Derrick Favors (bruised left knee) and guard Shelvin Mack (sprained left ankle) remain out.Chicago won at Utah 85-77 on Nov. 17 behind 20 points and 12 rebounds from Butler.
Key trends: The Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their past five at home. The home team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven. The under is 8-1 in the previous nine.
Early lean: One of my Top 5 under plays of the season.
Spurs at Grizzlies (+4, 199)
If San Antonio loses out on the West's top seed by one game, it can point to Wednesday's 110-106 home loss to Portland as why. The Spurs welcomed back LaMarcus Aldridge from his heart issue and he had 19 points and seven rebounds. Kawhi Leonard had 34 points, but the Portland backcourt dominated. Tony Parker missed his fourth straight game with back stiffness. Memphis has followed a five-game losing streak by winning three straight. It was 103-91 in Atlanta on Thursday. Marc Gasol had his third career triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Mike Conley had 22 points and 12 assists.Memphis won the only meeting thus far with San Antonio, 89-74, but the Spurs didn't have Leonard.
Key trends: The Spurs are 7-3 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The under is 5-1 in the previous six.
Early lean: Spurs and under.
Rockets at Nuggets (+5, 239.5)
Houston was in New Orleans on Friday. The Rockets generally don't rest guys in the second of a back-to-back. Denver won its fourth consecutive Thursday, 129-114 over the visiting Clippers. Will Barton had a career-high 35 points and Nikola Jokic his fifth triple-double of the season with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Wilson Chandler (right groin) and Danilo Gallinari (left knee bone bruise) were out again, but Kenneth Faried returned after missing nine games with lower back spasms.Houston won the first meeting of the season in Denver, 128-110 on Dec. 2. The Rockets led wire-to-wire. The Nuggets had won three straight in the series.
Key trends: The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The over is 6-2 in the previous eight in Denver.
Early lean: Nuggets and over.
Bucks at Warriors (-12.5, 216)
Milwaukee was at the Lakers on Friday. Golden State blasted visiting Orlando 122-92 on Thursday. Klay Thompson scored 21 of his 29 points in the first quarter and the game was over. Stephen Curry added 25 points and nine assists after appearing to injure his right foot in the opening minutes. Curry could be seen icing the ankle later in the game,but both he and Coach Steve Kerr say it's nothing. Golden State won in Milwaukee 124-121 on Nov. 19. Kevin Durant had 33 points.
Key trends: The Bucks are 5-0 ATS in their past five in the second of a back-to-back. The under is 4-0 in the Warriors' past four at home.
Early lean: Bucks (they have played the Warriors extremely well the past few years) and under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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