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Sunday Night Tips

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With all the tournament buzz surrounding the sports world tonight, there is a chance to cash in with a handful of NBA games on the board. Actually, these contests have major playoff implications as seeding can be changed with potential tiebreakers be broken. We'll take a look at three of these night contests, starting with a battle of two Western Conference foes that aren't very fond of each other in Texas.

Warriors at Rockets - 7:05 PM EST

Houston goes for the four-game sweep of Golden State tonight, as the Rockets enter action at the Toyota Center one half-game behind the Warriors for sixth in the West. Obviously, the Rockets hold the season tiebreaker, but a victory tonight would definitely hurt Golden State's already shaken momentum with only three weeks left in the season.

The Warriors hit the road after getting blown out by the Bulls on Friday night, 113-95, as Golden State once trailed by as many as 36 points. Mark Jackson's squad owns a dreadful 2-7 ATS record the last nine games, but eight times the Warriors were listed in the favorite role. The Warriors have dropped nine of their last 10 games away from Oracle Arena, including a 1-7 ATS record when receiving points.

The Rockets look for a better effort tonight after squeezing by the lowly Timberwolves on Friday, 108-100 as 14 ½-point favorites. Houston has won five of its past seven, while trying to avoid the dreaded seven or eight seed in the West. In three wins over the Warriors this season, the Rockets dropped 140 and 116 points, while putting together a solid defensive effort in the last meeting in Oakland by holding off Golden State, 94-88 as two-point underdogs.

Thunder at Mavericks - 7:35 PM EST

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Dallas is staying alive in the Western Conference playoff race after running away from Cleveland in the second half of Friday's 10-point home victory. The Mavs have won five of their previous six, with the lone loss coming by one point at San Antonio on Thursday. However, Dallas has not figured out how to beat Oklahoma City, losing nine straight times in the series, including three times this season.

Granted, two of those setbacks this season have gone to overtime, but the Thunder has Dallas' number, while winning four consecutive visits to the American Airlines Center. Oklahoma City has a pair of huge battles on deck against Denver (Tuesday) and at Memphis (Wednesday), as the Thunder owns a 4-6 SU and 3-7 ATS record the last 10 games on the highway. In the role of a road favorite, Scott Brooks' club is just 4-9 ATS the previous 13 times out, including a non-cover in an overtime triumph at Dallas in mid-January.

The Mavs are just three games behind the Lakers for the eighth spot in the West playoff race, but Dallas is 0-9 this season against the top three teams in the conference (Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers). Since January 9, Rick Carlisle's team has cashed in 11 of 13 opportunities in the underdog role, including covers against Oklahoma City and Memphis at home. Dallas has won seven of its past 10 games at home, while hitting the 'under' four straight times.

Hawks at Nets - 8:05 PM EST

A pair of second-place teams hooks up at the Barclays Center tonight, but Brooklyn has a more realistic shot of finishing atop its division than Atlanta. The Nets are just one game behind the Knicks in the Atlantic Division entering today's action, while the Hawks are battling it out with the Bulls and Celtics for the fifth seed in the East.

Brooklyn dominated Atlanta, 93-80 on March 9 at Philips Arena to cash outright as three-point 'dogs. Joe Johnson scored just eight points in his return to Atlanta, but Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche torched the Hawks with 18 points apiece. The Nets have taken two of three meetings from the Hawks this season, including a 94-89 home triumph in mid-January, but Atlanta cashed as 6 ½-point 'dogs.

The Hawks are fresh off consecutive home victories over the Suns and Lakers, as Atlanta seeks its first road win in six tries. Larry Drew's club owns a 1-4 ATS record in the last five games away from Philips Arena, while posting a 4-9 SU mark in the past 13 road contests against Eastern Conference foes. The Nets have won four of their last five games, while going 4-1 to the 'under' in the past five at the Barclays Center.

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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