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Thursday TNT Tips
College basketball is taking over at this point in March, but the NBA showcases a pair of games on Thursday night. Two Western Conference teams in desperate need of a win take the court as Dallas heads to San Antonio and Portland hosts road-weary New York. We'll start in Texas with the state rivals hooking up.

Mavericks at Spurs - 8:05 PM EST

San Antonio goes for the four-game season sweep of Dallas as these Southwest Division clubs meet for the final time in the regular season. The Spurs should be extra-focused after getting routed at Minnesota on Tuesday, 107-83 as nine-point road favorites. Tim Duncan rested for the Spurs, while point guard Tony Parker remains out with a sprained ankle.

Dallas wraps up a four-game road trip, looking for a fourth straight victory after outlasting Milwaukee, 115-108 as short underdogs. The Mavs reached the 115-point mark for the fourth time on the road this season, as Vince Carter scored 23 points off the bench. Rick Carlisle's team has cashed eight of the last 10 in the road 'dog role, while posting a 4-2 ATS record on the highway inside the division.

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The Spurs have won eight straight games off a loss, as San Antonio owns a 6-2 ATS record in this stretch. Gregg Popovich's club has put together a 22-2 the last 24 games at the AT&T Center, but both losses came in the last three weeks to Phoenix and Portland as heavy favorites. San Antonio has eclipsed the 100-point mark in nine of the past 10 home contests, while cashing the 'under' in five of the last eight games at the AT&T Center.

The season series has gone San Antonio's way with two of the three victories over Dallas coming by at least 25 points. The last meeting in Dallas went to the Spurs in late January, 113-107, as San Antonio held a 20-point lead heading into the final quarter. Duncan was a late scratch as the Spurs cashed outright as two-point underdogs, the ninth cover in the last 10 meetings with the Mavs.

Knicks at Blazers - 10:35 PM EST

New York's recent woes on the highway at Golden State and Denver are definitely a concern as the Knicks try to get on track at Portland. Last night, the Knicks were run out in Carmelo Anthony's return to Denver as nine-point underdogs, 117-94, the second straight double-digit defeat on this six-game road trip. Anthony will not play tonight to rest due to a knee injury suffered earlier this month at Cleveland.

The last time the Knicks faced the Blazers back on New Year's Day, Portland went into Madison Square Garden and grabbed a 105-100 victory as 9 ½-point underdogs. Anthony put up 45 points in that loss, but the Blazers built an 11-point halftime advantage and led from start to finish. New York is making its first visit to the Rose Garden in over two years as the Knicks beat the Blazers, 100-86 as 4 ½-point underdogs in January 2011.

Portland looks to bounce back after Tuesday's home defeat to Memphis as a 1 ½-point underdog, 102-97. The Blazers have now hit the 'over' in five of the last six home contests, while cashing four straight home games prior to the Memphis loss. Terry Stotts' team has covered three consecutive times following a setback at the Rose Garden, including a 109-94 win over Minnesota on March 6.

The Knicks own a 7-5 SU and 6-5-1 ATS record with no rest this season, while winning and covering three straight times in this situation. New York has struggled against the Western Conference on the highway by posting a 4-7 SU and 5-5-1 ATS, including a 2-4 ATS record when receiving points when facing the West.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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