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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:55 PM

Thursday's Tip Sheet

Jazz (-6 ½, 224 ½) at Hawks – 7:35 PM EST

Utah (16-11 SU, 11-16 ATS) travels east for a three-game road swing against a trio of Southeast division foes prior to Christmas. The Jazz head to Charlotte on Saturday and Miami on Monday following Thursday’s visit to Atlanta. Quin Snyder’s team has won four of five games since a three-game skid to begin December, capped off by back-to-back home victories over Golden State and Orlando.

The Jazz picked up a narrow cover in Tuesday’s 109-102 triumph as 6 ½-point favorites, highlighted by 30-point performances from Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic. Dating back to November 11, Utah has covered consecutive games only once, while posting a 1-6 ATS mark off an ATS win in this stretch. The Jazz owns a 4-2 SU and 3-3 ATS mark in the role of a road favorite, including recent wins over Minnesota and Memphis in this situation.

The Hawks (6-22 SU, 12-16 ATS) have suffered through plenty of lowlights this season, but hit rock-bottom in Tuesday’s 143-120 blowout at the hands of the 7-21 Knicks. Atlanta yielded 77 points in the first half, while allowing New York to shoot 56% from the floor. The Hawks are riding a five-game losing streak, as they picked up only one cover in this cold stretch in Sunday’s home defeat to the Lakers as 11 ½-point underdogs.

Utah and Atlanta split its two-game series last season with the home team winning each time. The Hawks have captured the last two meetings at State Farm Arena, but Atlanta has lost eight of its past nine home contests since November 6.

Lakers at Bucks (-4, 225) – 8:05 PM EST – TNT

It’s too early to call this an NBA Finals preview, but both these squads own the best records in the NBA as they hook up for the first time this season. Milwaukee (24-4 SU, 15-3 ATS) had its 18-game winning streak snapped in Monday’s 120-116 home setback to Dallas as 10 ½-point favorites. Last season’s MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo put together another strong stat line with 48 points and 14 rebounds, but none of the other Milwaukee starters scored in double-figures as the Bucks dropped only their second game at Fiserv Forum this season.

The Lakers (24-4 SU, 16-12 ATS) dropped their first contest away from Staples Center this season in Tuesday’s 105-102 defeat at Indiana. Los Angeles was riding a 14-game road winning streak prior to the loss two nights ago, but Anthony Davis missed only his second game of the season with an ankle injury sustained in the win at Atlanta on Sunday. LeBron James and Dwight Howard each led the Lakers with 20 points apiece, as Howard put together a perfect 10-of-10 shooting from the floor. However, James failed to connect on a three-pointer in six attempts, while the Lakers shot 8-of-31 from downtown in the loss.

Davis is questionable for tonight’s contest, as the Lakers try to avoid consecutive losses for the first time this season. Frank Vogel’s squad is currently on an 0-3 ATS run, but the Lakers are 3-0 SU/ATS this season in the underdog role with victories at Dallas, Utah, and Denver. Los Angeles begins an important three-game stretch over the next week as the Lakers return to Staples Center on Sunday to face Northwest-division leading Denver, followed by a showdown with the rival Clippers on Christmas day.

Milwaukee has not suffered back-to-back defeats this season, while owning a 7-5 ATS mark as a single-digit favorite. The Bucks have grabbed the last five meetings with the Lakers dating back to 2017, including a season sweep in 2018-19. Milwaukee outlasted Los Angeles at Staples Center, 131-120 to cash as 5 ½-point road favorites, followed by a 115-101 triumph at Fiserv Forum as 11-point favorites 18 days later. The second matchup in Milwaukee did not feature James or Antetokounmpo, who each sat out due to injury, while the total of 228 ½ fell short thanks to a 33-point fourth quarter by the two clubs.

Nets at Spurs (-3, 219) – 8:30 PM EST

There have been plenty of cardiac finishes for San Antonio (10-16 SU, 7-18-1 ATS) of late, including four games decided by two points or less in the last five trips to the court. Also, four of the past five contests for Gregg Popovich’s team have reached overtime, while the Spurs squandered a 25-point cushion in Monday’s 109-107 meltdown loss to the Rockets.

San Antonio owns the worst ATS mark in the league, but managed the cover as 10-point underdogs at Houston. However, it was a tale of two halves at Toyota Center as the Spurs caught fire in the first half by scoring 72 points, but were limited to 35 points in the second half. San Antonio dropped to 1-8 in its last nine true road games, as the Spurs edged the Suns in overtime in Mexico City last Saturday.

The Nets (15-12 SU, 15-12 ATS) have gone through a roller-coaster ride in December by winning three straight games, followed by consecutive losses to Charlotte and Toronto. Now, Brooklyn is back on track with back-to-back victories over Philadelphia and New Orleans, as the Nets outlasted the Pelicans on Tuesday in overtime, 108-101. The game easily stayed UNDER the total of 228 ½, marking the fifth UNDER in the last six contests for Brooklyn.

The Spurs are riding a 16-game regular season home winning streak against the Nets dating back to 2003. However, Brooklyn cashed as an eight-point underdog in a 117-114 setback at AT&T Center last season. The Nets snapped a seven-game skid to the Spurs this past February in a 101-85 blowout at Barclays Center.

Rockets at Clippers (-5 ½, 234) – 10:35 PM EST – TNT

The late-night affair at Staples Center pits two of the top teams in the Western Conference hooking up. This is already the third matchup between these squads as the home club captured victories in the first two meetings back in November.

The Rockets (18-9 SU, 12-15 ATS) held off the Clippers (21-8 SU, 17-12 ATS) at Toyota Center, 102-93 on November 13 to cash as 2 ½-point favorites. Paul George was still sidelined for Los Angeles, but Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Houston jumped out to a 16-point advantage after one quarter as James Harden torched the Clippers for 47 points, including knocking down seven treys.

The Clippers picked up revenge at Staples Center on November 22 in a 122-119 triumph, but the Rockets covered as 5 ½-point underdogs. L.A. outscored Houston, 42-35 in the fourth quarter to grab the win, while helping the game eclipse the total of 226. Harden scored 37 points in this affair, while George put up 19 points on 4-of-15 shooting from the floor. The star for the Clippers that night was Lou Williams, who posted a team-high 26 points off the bench as Los Angeles improved to 6-4 in the previous 10 meetings with Houston.

Houston travels west for a four-game road swing that continues to Phoenix on Saturday, Sacramento on Monday, and concluding on Christmas Day at Golden State. The Rockets rebounded from a home loss to the Pistons by erasing a 25-point deficit to stun the Spurs on Monday, 109-107. Houston fell to 1-5 ATS the last six games as it failed to cash as 10-point favorites, but the Rockets are 3-1 ATS in the road underdog role this season.

The Clippers returned home from a 4-2 road swing to rout the Suns, 120-99 as 14-point favorites on Tuesday. George and Leonard combined for 44 points, while Williams drilled 5-of-7 attempts from three-point range. Doc Rivers’ team has put together a sizzling 15-1 record at Staples Center this season (16-1 if you include the opening night “road” win over the Lakers), while covering in four straight home games since failing to cash against the Rockets in that three-point win last month.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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