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Thursday Playoff Tips

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The two Game 6’s on the Thursday NBA card involve home teams that get a second crack at advancing to the conference semifinals. The Warriors head back to the friendly confines of Oracle Arena looking to advance to the second round for the first time since shocking the top-seeded Mavericks in 2007. The night begins in the Windy City as the Bulls try to avoid a return trip to Brooklyn with a victory.

Nets at Bulls – 8:05 PM EST – TNT

Chicago and Brooklyn have played to three blowouts so far in this series, but the Nets are one win away from sending this series to a seventh game at Barclays Center. The Nets extended the series to this point with a 110-91 rout of the Bulls in Monday's Game 5 to easily cash as 6 ½-point favorites. Brook Lopez led Brooklyn with 28 points, while Deron Williams bounced back from a poor ending in Game 4 as the point guard put up 23 points in Monday's win.

The Nets threw away a late 14-point advantage in the Game 4 triple-overtime defeat at Chicago, but P.J. Carlisemo's club punctuated the Game 5 rout with a 33-18 fourth quarter run. Now, Brooklyn heads to the United Center, where the Nets have not only twice in this series, but own an 0-4 mark in the Windy City this season. Neither team has covered twice in a row in this series, as the Nets try to bring the series back to New York on Saturday.

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The 'over' is suddenly the hot play in this series, hitting in each of the last two games, while undoubtedly cashing in regulation of Game 4 despite the extra 15 minutes of play. The key for the Bulls tonight is the potential return of point guard Kirk Hinrich, who sat out Monday's loss with a calf injury. Chicago has suffered without the former lottery pick in the lineup, posting a 7-15 record this season, including a 2-7 mark at home.

Tom Thibodeau's team enters tonight's action winning four of their last six home games off a loss. However, the Bulls are just 1-4 ATS in this stretch in the favorite role, as the last win in this situation came against the Knicks last month (as an underdog), snapping New York's 13-game winning streak. Since the All-Star break, the Nets have been scorching as a road 'dog off a win, putting together a 7-1 ATS record.

Nuggets at Warriors - 10:30 PM EST - TNT

Golden State returns to Oracle Arena tonight looking to shut the door on Denver's season. The Nuggets survived another day with Tuesday's 107-100 home victory, but the Warriors grabbed the money as 7 ½-point 'dogs after rallying from a 20-point deficit. Mark Jackson's club cooled off after several hot-shooting games in the first four contests, as the Warriors hit just 43% of their shots from the field.

The story coming out of Game 5 involved Stephen Curry and the rough play on him throughout the game by the Nuggets. The league's three-point leader knocked down just 7-of-19 shots on Tuesday, while getting harassed all night by a normally non-aggressive Denver defense. Andre Iguodala put up his best game of the series with 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Ty Lawson and Wilson Chandler each scored 19 apiece. The game finished 'under' the total for the second time at the Pepsi Center, as both 'unders' occurred with odd tip-off times (3:30 PM in Game 1 and 6:00 PM in Game 5).

Golden State has cashed in all five games of this series, while being listed as an underdog each time. Things will change tonight as the Warriors are set as short one-point favorites, the first time Golden State is 'chalk' since an April 14 victory over San Antonio (who the Warriors can face in the next round). The Nuggets are listed as a 'dog for the first time in nearly a month, as Denver won outright at Utah as three-point 'dogs, 113-96 on April 3. George Karl's team is 6-3 ATS the previous nine opportunities when receiving points, while the Warriors are a home favorite against the Nuggets for just the third time in the last 11 meetings. The last time Golden State cashed against Denver as home 'chalk' came in November 2008, as not one active member of the Nuggets was on the roster at that time.

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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