April 15, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
Only three days remain in the NBA regular season as 15 of the 16 playoff spots are spoken for. The final position in the Western Conference hasn't been clinched yet with the Lakers and Jazz shooting for the eighth seed. Utah makes the trip to Minnesota, while the Lakers have just one game left on the schedule (Wednesday at Houston). We'll start in Milwaukee as the Bucks play their home regular season finale against a hot Denver squad.
Nuggets at Bucks - 8:05 PM EST
Denver heads to the BMO Harris Bradley Center with no rest following Sunday's home victory over Portland. The Nuggets own a one-game lead over the Grizzlies and Clippers for the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs, while the Bucks have locked up the eighth seed in the East in spite of a 37-43 record.
The last time these teams hooked up at the Pepsi Center in January, the Bucks built a 15-point halftime advantage. Denver pulled off a massive rally by outscoring Milwaukee in the second half, 61-38 to stun the Bucks, 112-104 as seven-point favorites. George Karl's team has beaten Milwaukee five straight times, including back-to-back victories in Wisconsin.
The Bucks aren't playing their best basketball at the moment, dropping six of their last seven games, including an 0-4 SU and 3-1 ATS road swing. Milwaukee is looking at a rough opening round series against defending champion Miami, while the Bucks wrap up the regular season on Wednesday at Oklahoma City. The last two victories for Milwaukee isn't anything to write home about, beating Toronto and Charlotte by double-digits since the start of April.
Jazz at Timberwolves - 8:05 PM EST
Utah claimed the eighth playoff spot last season, while getting swept by San Antonio in the first round. The Jazz needs to win out plus receive a Lakers' loss at Houston on Wednesday to qualify for the postseason. However, Tyrone Corbin's club has to take care of business on the highway, where the Jazz is just 12-27 SU and 17-21-1 ATS.
The Wolves have failed to beat the Jazz in three meetings this season, including a 107-100 defeat in Salt Lake City on Friday night. Minnesota cashed as 9 ½-point underdogs, but didn't grab the money in the first two losses to Utah. Rick Adelman's squad rallied past the Suns on Saturday, 105-93, but the Wolves are just 1-17 SU and 3-14-1 ATS the last 18 games off a victory.
After losing nine straight road games to start the second half, the Jazz has won each of their last two away contests at Portland and Golden State. Utah is riding a 5-0 ATS hot streak on the highway, but the Jazz are listed as a road favorite for the first time since a January 9 victory at Charlotte. The Jazz owns a 4-3 SU/ATS record in role of away 'chalk,' while posting a 6-1 SU/ATS mark against the Wolves the last seven meetings.
Grizzlies at Mavericks - 8:05 PM EST
Although Dallas will not make the playoffs (for the first time in 13 seasons), the Mavs still have a shot at finishing above the .500 mark with victories in their final two games. Dallas forged its way to 40-40 with a blowout victory of New Orleans on Sunday as three-point favorites, 107-89. The Mavs can play a minor role of spoiler, as far as knocking the Grizzlies out of having home-court advantage potentially in the first round.
The Grizzlies blew a golden opportunity at home on Saturday, falling to their main competition, the Clippers in a 91-87 defeat as two-point favorites. Memphis has cashed the 'under' in eight consecutive games, holding opponents to 91 points or less each time during this stretch. Lionel Hollins' club owns a solid 19-6 ATS record this season as a favorite of 4 ½ points or less, while the home team has won six straight meetings in this series.
The Mavs have covered five of their last six games, while compiling a 4-1 ATS record as a home 'dog since January. There have been plenty of high-scoring games at the American Airlines Center recently with six of the previous eight contests going 'over' the total, as tonight's total of 185 ½ is the lowest for Dallas all season.
Spurs at Warriors - 10:35 PM EST
San Antonio fell one game behind Oklahoma City for the top seed in the Western Conference after getting tripped up by the short-handed Lakers last night. The Spurs were tied at the half, but Los Angeles was able to run away from San Antonio without Kobe Bryant in a 91-86 victory as 3 ½-point home 'dogs. The loss was the sixth straight on the road for the Spurs, while cashing the 'under' in eight straight away contests.
The first 'under' during this stretch came in a 107-101 overtime defeat at Golden State on February 22. The game barely finished 'under' the total of 208 ½, but wouldn't have threatened the 'over' as things were tied at 93-93 at the end of regulation. Gregg Popovich's squad owns a dreadful 3-13 ATS record the last 16 games, while the Spurs are 13-1 SU the past 14 contests off a loss.
The Warriors are currently tied with the Rockets for the sixth seed in the Western Conference playoff race, as the seventh seed will likely draw San Antonio in the first round. Golden State has lost three of its last four, while its past four victories have come against Minnesota, Phoenix, New Orleans, and Portland. Mark Jackson's club is coming off a road cover in a two-point setback at the Lakers on Friday, but the Warriors are just 4-9 ATS since February off an ATS win.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at email@example.com
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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