I don't know about you, but I generally avoid pregame, halftime or post-game TV shows when it comes to sports programming. Back in the old days they were useful for injury updates or weather, etc. Thanks to the Internet, I can find out all I want myself. That said, TNT's Thursday night NBA telecasts are must-see TV during halftime and after games because of their great studio team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith - not so much Shaq. You won't be seeing Chuckster & Co. doing NBA for a couple of weeks or any Thursday NBA TNT games over that time as that network is part of the NCAA Tournament broadcasts. Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellogg and Seth Davis will anchor CBS' coverage in New York, while Barkley will be joined at Turner Sports' headquarters in Atlanta by Johnson and Smith. If you are wondering, Barkley has Villanova, Arizona, Louisville and North Carolina in his Final Four with the Wildcats winning it all. Barkley played at Auburn, while Smith was a star at North Carolina.
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Jazz at Cavaliers ( -6, 209.5)
NBA TV game. Utah was in Detroit on Wednesday. Cleveland played its best game of the month Tuesday in a 128-96 destruction of Detroit. LeBron James had career triple-double No. 52 (10th this season) with 16 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, while Kyrie Irving had 26 points. The Cavs hit 22 of their first 25 from the field, and it was over midway through the second quarter. Larry Sanders, signed by the Cavaliers on Monday, played the final 1:58. Hey Now! Utah beat Cleveland 100-92 on Jan. 10. Gordon Hayward had 28 points. He had 11 points while the Jazz used a 16-0 run midway through the third quarter to lead 74-60.
Key trends: The Jazz are 0-3-1 against the spread in their past four in the second of a back-to-back. The home team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The "over/under" is 4-1 in the Cavs' past five vs. the West.
Early lean: Cavs and over.
Thunder at Raptors (-3, 207.5)
Oklahoma City won a third straight Tuesday, 122-104 in Brooklyn in what could have been a trap game. Russell Westbrook had 25 points, 19 assists and 12 rebounds in his 33rd triple-double of the season. He's eight shy of the single-season record. Toronto ended a two-game losing streak with a 100-78 win over Dallas on Monday. DeMar DeRozan had 25 points and Jonas Valanciunas 14 points and 12 rebounds. The Dinos dominated on the boards. Forward DeMarre Carroll (left ankle) missed his second consecutive game.Toronto won in Oklahoma City 112-102 on Nov. 9. DeRozan had 37 points, while Westbrook had 36 but shot only 9-for-26. The Raptors did lose at home in the series last year.
Key trends: The Thunder are 1-6 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 8-1 in the Raptors' past nine on Thursday.
Early lean: Raptors and under.
Nets at Knicks (TBA)
Ah, the beauty of basketball in New York City on full display. If they announce a sellout at Madison Square Garden, they are lying. Brooklyn was trying Tuesday to win back-to-back games for the first time this season but lost 122-104 at home to the Thunder. Brook Lopez scored 25 points and Jeremy Lin had a season-high 24 for the Nets. Guard Sean Kilpatrick left with a sore hamstring. New York ended a three-game slide with an 87-81 home win over Indiana on Tuesday. Carmelo Anthony scored 15 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter as the Knicks overcame a 13-point third-quarter hole. Kristaps Porzingis exited in the third quarter with a left thigh contusion after a collision. It's the final meeting between these teams with New York leading 2-1. The Knicks have taken the past three at home.
Key trends: The home team is 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings. The under is 5-0 in the Knicks' past five at home.
Early lean: Wait on the Unicorn.
Grizzlies at Hawks (-4, 203.5)
Memphis was in Chicago on Wednesday. Atlanta's three-game winning streak ended in a 107-99 defeat in San Antonio on Monday. Dennis Schroder had 22 points and 10 assists in the loss. Atlanta forced 23 turnovers but turned them into only 21 points. The Hawks haven't won in San Antonio since 1997. Memphis hosted Atlanta on March 11 and lost 107-90. The Hawks shot exactly 50 percent to the Grizzlies' 37.8.
Key trends: The Hawks are 6-0 ATS in their past six on Thursday. The under is 5-1 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: Hawks and under.
Clippers at Nuggets (-1.5, 224.5)
Los Angeles hosted Milwaukee on Wednesday. Denver won a third consecutive Monday, 129-101 over the Lakers to start a three-game homestand. Will Barton and Jamal Murray each had 22 points. Wilson Chandler missed the game because of a groin injury. Fellow forwards Kenneth Faried (low back) and Darrell Arthur (knee) also were out.Last meeting between L.A. and Denver, with the Nuggets leading 2-1.
Key trends: The home team is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The over is 5-1 in the Nuggets' past six on Thursday.
Early lean: Nuggets and over.
Magic at Warriors (-14, 218.5)
Orlando dropped its third in a row Monday, 120-115 at terrible Sacramento, which had been on an eight-game skid. Elfrid Payton had 13 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his third triple-double of the season.Nikola Vucevic had 23 points and nine rebounds. The Magic are 10-26 in their past 36 games. Golden State ended its first three-game losing streak in four years with a 106-104 home escape vs. Philadelphia on Tuesday as a 16.5-point favorite. The Warriors trailed by 12 entering the fourth. Draymond Green had 20 points eight assists, eight rebounds and six blocks. Steph Curry had 29 points on his 29th birthday. The Warriors are 11-1 at home vs. the Eastern Conference. Orlando lost to Golden State 118-98 on Jan. 22 -- the game was tied at 50 at halftime, but the Warriors blew things open during the third quarter by outscoring the Magic, 42-24 -- and has dropped seven straight in the series.
Key trends: The Warriors are 1-10 ATS in their past 11. The under is 4-0 in their past four at home vs. teams with a losing road record.
Early lean: Magic - Warriors are 0-6 ATS in their past six as a double-digit favorite -- and under.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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