There is no ABC Saturday showcase this week opposite the first night of the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight. Probably just as well for ABC the way it has been embarrassed the past two Saturdays with terrible games due to stars sitting. The most interesting game of the NBA weekend is Sunday when Oklahoma City visits Houston at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. The storyline there is the MVP battle between Russell Westbrook and James Harden. In any other year, one of those guys would be a runaway favorite with the amazing statistical seasons they are having. Currently at BetOnline , Harden is a -155 favorite with Westbrook at +110.
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The latter made history in the Thunder's most recent game on Wednesday as Westbrook had the first triple-double in league history while not missing a single shot from the floor or charity stripe. Westbrook shot 6-for-6 from the floor and the same from the free-throw line, finishing with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists. It was the first game Westbrook ever had been perfect from the field and first in 83 games that he didn't attempt a 3-pointer. It likely worked in his favor that it was a blowout as Westbrook was pulled after only 28 minutes; he probably misses a shot if he plays his usual 35 or so. With 11 games to go, Westbrook is six away from tying Oscar Robertson for the most triple-doubles in a season (41).
Jazz at Clippers ( -4.5, 204.5)
Unique 3:30 p.m. ET start, although I'm noticing the Clippers do that sometimes in Saturday home games. Obviously L.A. or the opponent wouldn't be playing the night before on those early starts. Utah ended a three-game losing streak with a 108-101 home win over the Knicks on Wednesday. Rudy Gobert had a career-high 35 points (13 of 14 from the field) to go with 13 rebounds. Derrick Favors missed his sixth consecutive game with a left knee bone contusion. The Clippers had a three-game winning streak end Thursday, 97-95 in Dallas. J.J. Redick missed a 3-point attempt that would have won it at the buzzer.This one is potentially crucial for the No. 4 seed in the West. The Clippers lead the season series 2-1 and thus would take the tiebreaker with a victory. Utah did win the most recent meeting 114-108 in Salt Lake City on March 13.
Key trends: The Jazz are 1-4 against the spread in the past five meetings. The "over/under" has gone under in five of the past six meetings in L.A.
Early lean: Clippers and under.
Wizards at Cavaliers (TBA)
NBA TV game. Both played Friday, with the Wizards hosting Brooklyn and the Cavs in Charlotte. While there's seemingly no way that Cleveland would rest Kyrie Irving or LeBron James here, I can see the team sitting Kevin Love as he's recently back from knee surgery and there are legitimate medical reasons for Love potentially not playing two games in 24 hours. It's a very important game, however, as the Cavs could find themselves out of the East lead by Saturday night if they lose. Boston is right on the Cavs' tail, and Washington isn't out of it, either. Cleveland leads the season series vs. Washington 2-0 and this is the finale. Their last game was, in my opinion, the most entertaining of the season. The Cavs won in D.C. 140-135 in OT, with James hitting an impossible fadeaway bank-shot 3-pointer at the end of regulation to tie. He would foul out early in OT and Irving then took over.
Key trends: The Wizards are 5-1 ATS in their past six in the second of a back-to-back. The Cavs are 2-6 in their past eight in that situation. The over is 9-1 in Cleveland's past 10 on Saturday.
Early lean: This is one of those you need to wait until a few hours before tipoff to see who plays.
Raptors at Mavericks (pick'em, 196.5)
Toronto won its fourth consecutive Thursday, 101-84 in Miami. DeMar DeRozan scored 40 points -- doing that back-to-back for the first time in his career. The Raptors were down 15 early and have now won 19 games this season after trailing by at least 10 points, more than any team in the NBA. P.J. Tucker started for Serge Ibaka, who served his one-game suspension for fighting Chicago's Robin Lopez on Tuesday. So Ibaka will be back here. Dallas upset the visiting Clippers 97-95 on Thursday. Harrison Barnes had the go-ahead bucket and made a steal with 3.9 seconds left. Seth Curry led Dallas with 23 points.Toronto beat Dallas in the first meeting 100-78 on March 13. The Raptors have taken three straight overall in the series.
Key trends: The Raptors are 2-6 ATS in their past eight after a win. The under is 6-1 in the Mavericks' past seven vs. teams with a losing record.
Early lean: Mavericks and under.
Knicks at Spurs (TBA)
New York dropped a fourth in a row Thursday, 110-95 in Portland. Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and Lance Thomas sat out in the second of a back-to-back. In their place, the Knicks started rookies Ron Baker, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez. This concludes a four-game trip. San Antonio won its third straight Thursday, 97-90 over Memphis after losing the first two this year vs. the Grizz. LaMarcus Aldridge had 23 points and reached 15,000 career. New York upset San Antonio 94-90 on Feb. 12. The Knicks shot an opponent season-best 64.3 percent from long range while holding the Spurs to 20.7 percent. The Spurs have taken the past two at home in the series.
Key trends: The Knicks are 0-5 ATS in their past five on Saturday. The over is 5-2 in the previous seven meetings.
Early lean: Wait on Melo and Rose.
Timberwolves at Trail Blazers (-6, 218)
Minnesota was at the Lakers on Friday. Portland won for the fourth time in five games Thursday, 110-95 over the Knicks. Damian Lillard had 30 points as his team never trailed. He has scored 25 or more in eight straight games, a career-best streak. Since acquiring center Jusuf Nurkic from Denver, the Blazers have gone 9-6. Portland is 1-0 vs. Minnesota, winning 95-89 in Minneapolis on New Year's Day. CJ McCollum scored a career-high 43 points. The Blazers have won eight of the past 10 at home in the series.
Key trends: The Wolves are 2-6-1 ATS in their past nine in Portland. The under is 7-3 in the past 10 meetings.
Early lean: Blazers and over.
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