April 4, 2013
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The NBA regular season is winding down and that means we only have a few more weeks of the regular Thursday Night TNT broadcasts. After tonight there are two more weeks of double headers and fans better get used to seeing the Bulls and Thunder as both appear on the schedule this week and next. Here's a look at tonight's games:
Chicago (+4.5) vs. Brooklyn (-4.5); Total set at 187
Chicago comes into tonight's game as a battered bunch with injuries ravaging this team at the moment. Guards Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton are still out indefinitely and while that isn't exactly anything new, the fact that Joakim Noah and Marco Bellinelli have missed multiple games of late and are likely out again really stings. Add Taj Gibson to that doubtful list as he sprained his knee in Chicago's last game and the Bulls are just hobbling to the playoffs.
The home team is undefeated in the season series, meaning the Bulls currently hold a 2-1 SU edge against the Nets this year. Obviously most of the personnel for Chicago was different in those games and chances are they struggle to score mightily tonight.
Those past three meetings finished with scores of 165, 182 and 181 with the 'over' cashing twice. Chicago's defense takes a huge hit without Noah and Gibson available and although they will play a bit faster without those guys, this is not a team I can trust to score.
Brooklyn has been scoring themselves of late (100+ in four of five) but this is also the first game back at home after an eight-game road trip and teams tend to be sluggish in that spot. They do have an obvious advantage with all of Chicago's injuries but with the total set at its highest number of the year between these two, I believe it's an over-adjustment.
Take the under.
San Antonio (+7.5) vs. Oklahoma City (-7.5); Total set at 202.5
This is a huge game in the Western Conference standings as Oklahoma City trails the Spurs by 1.5 games for 1st in the conference and would even up the season series with a win tonight. The home team is a perfect 3-0 SU and 2-0-1 ATS in their previous meetings this season, so things look favorable for the Thunder tonight.
The Spurs are playing in a back-to-back spot here after beating Orlando last night and if you've been following the Spurs over the years you know that Coach Popovich won't hesitate to give some rest to some of his guys if he thinks they need it. San Antonio is loaded with playoff experience throughout its roster so if any team could care less about the #1 seed it would be the Spurs. Even with a loss tonight San Antonio would still hold a ½ game lead over the Thunder and the Spurs have a very favorable schedule down the stretch.
On the other hand, Oklahoma City would love to have home court advantage throughout the playoffs and force the road to the finals to come through their house. They beat the Spurs 107-93 in the only other meeting here and are 6-1 ATS in their last seven at home against a winning road team. In fact, OKC is 4-0 ATS in their last four home games vs. the Spurs and I believe they stretch that number out to five tonight.
Lay the points with Oklahoma City.