I hate it when teams rest their stars in the NBA, but I would totally understand if Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan ties Russell Westbrook to the bench and doesn't let him see the court in the final couple of games in the regular season (actually, Donovan is leaving the choice up to his star). Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson's single-season triple-doubles record on Sunday with his 42nd. He did it with 50 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, his third 50-point triple-double of the year. That's also a record. For good measure, Westbrook hit a 36-foot buzzer-beater against Denver for the win, which rather amazingly was the first game-winning buzzer-beater of his career. I believe that game clinched the MVP Award for Westbrook over James Harden. Westbrook is also headed for his second scoring title as he leads the league with 31.9 points per game. Those two will meet in the first round of the playoffs. Here's a thought for the NBA: postpone the voting deadline for MVP until after that series.
Hornets at Hawks (TBA)
Not much for either to play for here. Atlanta has the minor carrot of staying at No. 5 in the East's playoff standings. Charlotte has been eliminated and this is the team's season finale. It was in Milwaukee on Monday with Kemba Walker doubtful. The Hawks had the most unlikely win of the season on Sunday by rallying from a 26-point fourth-quarter deficit in Cleveland to win 126-125 in OT and sweep the home-and-home from the Cavs. Paul Millsap hit a baseline jumper to send it to overtime. The Hawks are the first team in the league since Dallas in December 2002 (Lakers) to come from down at least 26 in the fourth quarter and win a game. The Hornets go for the four-game season sweep of the Hawks.
Key trends: The home team is 9-2-1 against the spread in the past 12 meetings. The "over/under" is 8-0 in the previous eight.
Early lean: Wait on Walker.
Thunder at Timberwolves (-1, 216.5)
NBA TV game. Nothing to play for here. Oklahoma City won in Denver 106-105 on Sunday on Westbrook's shot. Steven Adams took the inbounds pass from Kyle Singler with 2.9 seconds left and passed to Westbrook, whose long jumper ringed through the iron as the horn sounded. He scored the game's final eight points overall. Doug McDermott was a late scratch with a sore left knee. Minnesota lost a fourth straight on Sunday, 110-109 at the Lakers and this is the team's home finale. Andrew Wiggins had 41 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 40 and 21 rebounds. Oklahoma City leads the season series 2-1. Westbrook has one triple-double.
Key trends: The home team is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 5-2 in the previous seven.
Early lean: Timberwolves and under.
Nuggets at Mavericks (pick'em, 215.5)
These two are both eliminated from playoff contention. The Nuggets gave Sunday's home game vs. the Thunder away, 106-105, and when Portland won later Sunday, Denver was knocked out of the playoff race. Danilo Gallinari scored 22 of his season-high 34 points in the third quarter to lead the Nuggets. He didn't score in the fourth quarter. Forward Kenneth Faried (back) and guard Jameer Nelson (right calf) were out. Dallas enters its home finale on a four-game skid. It lost 124-111 in Phoenix on Sunday. The Mavericks rested starters Dirk Nowitzki, Nerlens Noel and Wesley Matthews in the second half. Harrison Barnes got the game off but will play here. Guard Seth Curry missed a fifth straight with a shoulder injury and is done. Denver is 2-1 vs. Dallas this season.
Key trends: The home team is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 4-1 in the Mavericks' past five.
Early lean: Mavericks and over.
Pelicans at Lakers (TBA)
What on earth are the Lakers doing? They have won four straight to basically ensure they will finish with the third-worst record instead of second-worst. Kudos to the players, though, for not tanking themselves even though it's what the front office wants. Sunday, it was a 110-109 win over Minnesota. D'Angelo Russell wasn't going to play after learning his grandmother had died, but he did and hit the winning 3-pointer (on a fluke bounce) at the buzzer. New Orleans lost in Golden State on Saturday, 123-101. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins both sat out. Sounds more likely than not that those two are done. New Orleans is 2-1 vs. the Lakers this season.
Key trends: The Pelicans are 1-5 ATS in their past six road games. The under is 4-1 in the Lakers' past five.
Early lean: Wait on Davis and Cousins.
Suns at Kings (-3.5, 217.5)
Nothing at all to play for here. Phoenix has followed a 13-game losing streak with back-to-back wins. It was 124-111 in its home finale Sunday vs. Dallas. T.J. Warren and Devin Booker each scored 21 points, and Tyler Ulis added 20 points and 10 assists. Rookie Marquese Chriss left with a knee bruise and is questionable for this one, the team's season finale. The Kings play their last home game. They lost 135-128 at home to Houston on Sunday. Skal Labissiere had 25 for the Kings, and Ty Lawson had 20 points and 11 assists. Veterans Arron Afflalo, Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans, and Kosta Koufos were given the day off.Sacramento is 2-1 vs. Phoenix.
Key trends: The Suns are 1-5 ATS in the past six meetings. The under is 5-0 in the previous five.
Early lean: Suns and under.
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