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Huge Thursday Night NBA Double-Header on TNT

The majority of the NBA has already broken for this weekend's All-Star festivities but the four teams that still have one more game to play are some of the best in the league. Tonight we get two stellar matchups in TNT's Thursday night showcase as Miami and OKC meet in Oklahoma City while the battle of L.A. (Clippers/Lakers) caps off the 1st half of the NBA season.

Miami vs. Oklahoma City (-5); Total set at 205

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This is the second time these 2011/12 NBA Finals opponents have met since that playoff series a year ago that gave LeBron James his first NBA Championship ring. The first rematch came in Miami on Christmas and the Heat walked away with a 103-97 win. Miami pulled away down the stretch as everyone other than Durant struggled shooting the ball that night, most notably Russell Westbrook who was 5-19 from the field.

But the Thunder are a much better team at home and have only lost SU three times in this building this year. They are coming off a very poor performance in Utah on Tuesday night as OKC likely was looking ahead to this big rematch game with the Heat. The favorite is 4-0 ATS in the last four between these two and OKC is 5-0 ATS in their last five at home against a winning road team. OKC's lone win in the Finals last year came in Game 1 in this building as 5-point favorites (105-94) and I wouldn't be surprised to see that result duplicated tonight.

L.A. Clippers (-3.5) vs. L.A. Lakers; Total set at 200

The Clippers are 2-0 SU and ATS vs. the Lakers this year and a win tonight would clinch the season series for the Clippers. It has been years and years since the Clippers have won a season series vs. the Lakers so you know that is Chris Paul and company's focus tonight.

But the Lakers know of that history as well and have got to take advantage of the Clippers playing on back-to-back nights tonight in order to avoid a third straight loss to this team. L.A. looked lazy and tired in their win over Phoenix on Tuesday night and while everyone is making a big deal about Kobe's 8 points, it's not as simple as him flat out struggling.

Kobe made a conscious decision in that game not to shoot the ball in the early going as he was passing at every opportunity, trying to get his teammates going. He didn't take his first shot until past the midway mark of the 3rd quarter when the game was starting to get dicey. Bryant had to figure that his team could beat the Suns without a monster, or even good night from himself so he took it upon himself to use the game as an "experiment" to see how good his team could be without him shooting. You can bet that won't be the case tonight as Kobe will likely come out with all guns blazing so his Lakers don't lose a third straight to the upstart Clippers.

The "home" team in this series is 9-3 ATS in the last 12 meetings between the two and don't be surprised to see the entire Lakers team step up and play one of their best games of the year tonight. I believe the Lakers will find a way to avoid losing their third straight to their "little brother" and pull off the outright win.

But take the points with the Lakers just to be safe. Join today to bet on these great NBA match-ups here.

  
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