Thursday TNT Tips
March 6, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
A big night in the NBA on Thursday in spite of the small card as TNT broadcasts a pair of games involving four teams that are headed to the postseason. The late contest showcases two Western Conference squads that look to make the next step in the playoffs this season when the Nuggets host the Clippers. The night begins in the Big Apple with a tired New York club that returns home to host the defending Western Conference champions.
Thunder at Knicks - 8:05 PM EST
Oklahoma City heads to Madison Square Garden for the start of a mini two-game East Coast swing that concludes in Charlotte on Friday night. The Thunder has won five of their last six following a three-game skid in mid-February, as the lone loss came at Denver last Friday by two points. OKC takes on New York for the first time this season, while making its first visit to Manhattan since a 112-98 defeat at the Garden in December 2010.
The Knicks won without Carmelo Anthony in last night's 87-77 barnburner at Detroit. New York outscored Detroit, 22-12 in the final quarter, as Anthony sat out the victory with a knee injury suffered in Monday's win at Cleveland. Raymond Felton led the Knicks with 26 points, while Amar'e Stoudemire came off the bench to chip in 22 points in New York's fifth victory in the last six contests.
The Thunder ran away from the Lakers in Tuesday's 122-105 home triumph to cash as 9 ½-point favorites. The game finished 'over' the total of 215, as the two teams combined to convert 53 free throws and 20 three-pointers. Russell Westbrook put together one of his best offensive games of the season by shooting 15-of-29 from the floor for a game-high 37 points. OKC has hit the 'over' in six of the last nine contests, including three of the previous four road games.
New York has failed to cover five straight home contests, but Mike Woodson's team has picked up victories in seven of the last 10 at the Garden. The Knicks are in the midst of four straight 'unders,' while limiting four straight opponents to fewer than 100 points. Anthony is likely a game-time decision on Thursday night, but expect the All-Star forward to suit up in this nationally televised affair.
Clippers at Nuggets - 10:35 PM EST
Two of the top four teams in the Western Conference meet at the Pepsi Center as Denver enters Thursday's action with six consecutive wins. The Nuggets own the best home mark in the West at 26-3, including 11 straight victories in the Rockies as the Clippers come to town for the second time this season.
Denver lost the first meeting at Staples Center on Christmas night, 112-100 as 6 ½-point 'dogs, while allowing the Clippers to put up a 42-spot in the second quarter. The Nuggets shot 50% from the floor, but L.A. received strong bench efforts from Jamal Crawford (22) and Matt Barnes (20) for the home triumph.
The Clippers couldn't pull off another win less than a week later on New Year's night as the Nuggets held off Los Angeles, 92-78 as one-point home favorites. L.A. scored just 35 second-half points this time around, while six Nuggets put together double-digit outputs as Ty Lawson missed the game due to injury.
There's very little reason to fade the Nuggets at home, as George Karl's team has cashed in nine of the last 11 games at the Pepsi Center. Following an 11-1 mark to the 'over' at home from early January through the end of February, Denver has cashed the 'under' in the last two home contests against Atlanta and Oklahoma City (both with totals of 212 and above).
Los Angeles heads to Denver with no rest following Wednesday's home contest with Milwaukee, as the Clips have compiled a 10-5 SU and 8-7 ATS record on the second of a back-to-back. The Clips have excelled in this situation on the highway, winning seven of nine games with no rest away from Staples Center this season.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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