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NBA • Wednesday Service Plays • 3/30/16

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    NBA Odds: Wednesday, March 30 2016 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
    by Alan Matthews

    If you happen to live in Los Angeles or another NBA city in which the Lakers will visit the rest of the season — so New Orleans, Houston or Oklahoma City — then good news if you are planning to see Kobe Bryant play in person before he retires. Bryant has said he plans on playing every game the rest of the way “unless something drastic happens.” And that’s how it should be. There’s no reason at this point for Lakers fans to even attend their home games other than to see Kobe. Ditto the fans in those cities listed above unless they like blowouts. I know it was big deal to me to get to be able to see Michael Jordan in one of his last games. Even the refs appear to be enjoying Kobe’s final ride as Bryant hasn’t gotten a single technical foul yet. He used to get quite a few with his penchant for arguing calls.

    Hawks at Raptors (-3.5, 202.5)

    Atlanta won a fourth straight Monday, 102-100 in Chicago. Jeff Teague scored 26 points, including four free throws in the final 22.2 seconds. Al Horford and Paul Millsap had double-doubles. The Hawks swept the Bulls for the first time in seven years. Toronto lost 119-100 on Monday to Oklahoma City in perhaps its worst home game of the season. DeMar DeRozan had 19 points for the Raptors, who are one victory shy of their first 50-win season in team history. Forward Terrence Ross missed a third straight game. Toronto is 2-0 against the Hawks this season, winning the most recent game 104-96 at home. Overall, the Raptors have won three straight in the series.

    Key trends:
    The Hawks are 1-6 against the spread in the past seven meetings. The “over/under” has gone under in the past four.

    Early lean:
    Raptors and under.

    Nuggets at Grizzlies (TBA)

    Denver lost 97-88 at home to Dallas on Monday. Will Barton had 23 points for the Nuggets, who finished with 21 turnovers. Kenneth Faried returned from a four-game injury absence but center Jusuf Nurkic was out with an illness. Memphis dropped a third in a row Monday, 101-87 at home to San Antonio. Zach Randolph missed his second straight game with a right ankle sprain. Memphis is 3-0 vs. Denver this season, has won five straight overall vs. the Nuggets and six in a row at home.

    Key trends:
    The home team is 9-4 ATS in the past 13 meetings. The under is 7-1 in the previous eight.

    Early lean:
    Wait on Randolph.

    Suns at Bucks (-7, 212.5)

    Phoenix dropped a third in a row Monday, 121-116 at Minnesota. The Suns turned it over 21 times, leading to 26 Wolves points. Devin Booker and Brandon Knight each had 30 points in the loss. Tyson Chandler played after being questionable with back spasms but only 19 minutes. Milwaukee lost its fifth straight Saturday, 115-91 against Charlotte. Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to eight points. Milwaukee won in Phoenix 101-95 on Dec. 20. The Bucks scored the final six points of the game.

    Key trends:
    The road team is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. The under is 10-4 in Phoenix’s past four road games.

    Early lean:
    Bucks and under.

    Clippers at Timberwolves (+6.5, 212.5)

    L.A. won its third consecutive game Monday, 114-90 over Boston. Chris Paul had 13 points and 14 assists and DeAndre Jordan 15 points and 13 rebounds. Paul Pierce injured his ankle in the game and likely will miss a few. Minnesota beat Phoenix on Monday, 121-116 behind 32 points from Andrew Wiggins and 27 points and 10 boards from Karl-Anthony Towns. The Clippers lead the season series 2-1 but lost the last meeting, 108-102 at home. It was Minnesota’s first win there in four years. The Wolves have dropped seven straight at home vs. the Clippers.

    Key trends:
    The Clippers have covered eight of their past 10 at Minnesota. The over is 7-1 in the past eight meetings.

    Early lean:
    Clippers and over.

    Knicks at Mavericks (-6, 203.5)

    New York lost 99-91 in New Orleans on Monday. Carmelo Anthony scored 22 for New York. He was spooked briefly when a little kid ran onto the court late in the game to meet Melo. But all was well. Dallas ended a three-game losing streak with a 97-88 win in Denver on Monday. J.J. Barea scored 18 points and had 11 assists off the bench. Dirk Nowitzki had just 10 on 4-for-17 shooting. The Mavs played without point guard Deron Williams due to an abdominal strain. He’s questionable at best here. Dallas won 104-97 in New York on Dec. 7. The Mavs have won four straight against the Knicks overall.

    Key trends:
    The Mavericks are 4-1 ATS in their past five after a win. The under is 7-0 in New York’s past seven playing on one day of rest.

    Early lean:
    Mavericks and over.

    Pelicans at Spurs (TBA)

    Poor New Orleans. The injury-ravaged Pelicans welcomed Jrue Holiday back from injury in Monday’s 99-91 win over New York but then saw him get blasted accidentally in the eye near the end of the game, so who knows if he plays here. Alonzo Gee also left in the third quarter with a quad injury. Ryan Anderson missed his fifth straight game with a left groin injury, and Norris Cole was out for his 11th in a row with a lower-back injury. The Pelicans have used 36 starting lineups this season, the most in the NBA. San Antonio won 101-87 in Memphis on Monday playing without Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. The original plan was for those latter three to play here as the Spurs want to stay unbeaten at home and they were simply resting for a second straight game. Leonard is dealing with a minor injury, so he’s questionable. San Antonio leads the season series 2-1. The most recent was a 94-86 win in the Big Easy on March 3.

    Key trends:
    The Pelicans have covered only six of their past 19 in San Antonio. The under is 4-1-1 in the past six meetings.

    Early lean:
    Wait on all those Spurs.

    Warriors at Jazz (+6.5, 206)

    Golden State hosted Washington on Tuesday. I could actually see this as a potential loss for the Warriors if pushed hard by the Wizards and in the second of a back-to-back. Utah beat the visiting Lakers by 48 points on Monday. Rodney Hood scored all 30 of his points in the first half. Utah shot 51.7 percent in scoring a season high. Golden State has won 10 of the past 11 meetings vs. the Jazz but barely escaped at Utah on Nov. 30.

    Key trends:
    The home team is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 7-2 in Utah’s past nine overall.

    Early lean:
    Jazz and under.

    Wizards at Kings (TBA)

    Washington was in Golden State on Tuesday. Good luck with that. Sacramento lost 105-93 in Portland on Monday as Coach George Karl rested DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Rajon Rondo. He says he will continue to rest those guys down the stretch, but I would imagine mostly in road games. Marco Belinelli missed a second straight game due to a sore right foot. Washington took the first meeting 113-99. The Kings have won five straight at home vs. the Wiz.

    Key trends:
    The home team is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 5-2 in the previous seven.

    Early lean:
    Wait on all the Kings and to see what the Wizards do Tuesday.

    Heat at Lakers (+9, 208)

    Miami won a second straight Monday, 110-99 over visiting Brooklyn. Dwyane Wade played one of his best games of the year with 30 points on 14-for-19 shooting. In his last seven games against Brooklyn, Wade is averaging 27.1 points. The Heat were without starting point guard Goran Dragic, who was ill. The Lakers officially hit rock bottom in the worst season in franchise history with a 123-75 defeat at Utah on Monday. It tied the worst loss in franchise history and was the worst for Kobe Bryant, as he missed the other 48-point defeat on March 7, 2014, against the Clippers. Kobe was just 1-for-11 from the field vs. the Jazz in his final game in Salt Lake City. L.A. was outscored by a whopping 43 points with him on the court. That was his worst plus/minus rating ever. This will be the final matchup between future Hall of Famers Kobe and Wade. The Lakers lost 101-88 in Miami on Nov. 10. Kobe missed that one. The Heat have won seven in a row against Los Angeles.

    Key trends:
    The Lakers are 1-6 ATS in their past seven at home. The over is 6-0 in Miami’s past six on the road.

    Early lean:
    Lakers and over.


    Game of the Day

    Atlanta Hawks at Toronto Raptors (-2, 200)

    The Atlanta Hawks are trying to separate themselves from the pack in the race for the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference and have done their best with wins in four straight games. The Hawks will try to make it five in a row when they visit the team directly in front of them in the standings, the Toronto Raptors, on Wednesday.

    Toronto does not have to worry much about Atlanta with a five-game cushion on the No. 3 spot but would like to be playing better as it preps for the playoffs. The Raptors were trounced 119-100 at home by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday and have dropped three of their last four with All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry ailing. The Hawks are one game ahead of the fourth-place Miami Heat and 1 1/2 up on the fifth-place Boston Celtics after knocking off the Chicago Bulls 102-100 on Monday to pick up their 14th win in the last 17 games. Atlanta will have to earn the No. 3 spot with a tough closing schedule that includes two games against the Raptors, two against the East-leading Cavaliers and one against the Celtics.

    TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), TSN (Toronto)

    The Toronto Raptors opened as 1.5-point favorites over the visiting Atlanta Hawks. The public hit the Raptors early on and the books were forced to raise the line slightly to -2. The total debuted at an even 200 and hasn’t moved.


    Hawks – SF T. Sefolosha (Probable Wednesday, ankle).

    Raptors – SF T. Ross (Questionable Wednesday, thumb), PG K. Lowry (Probable Wednesday, elbow).

    Hawks (-7.2) – Raptors (-7.7) + home court (-3) = Raptors -3.5

    ABOUT THE HAWKS (45-30, 40-34-1 ATS, 35-40 O/U):
    Atlanta has gone over the century mark in each of its last nine games and credited the pace with helping them edge the Bulls on Monday. “We played with a lot of pace tonight,” point guard Jeff Teague told reporters after the win. “It played into our hands, playing a little faster. Those guys have so many big guys and we were able to get in the paint and make plays.” Teague and backup Dennis Schroder combined for 40 points in the win, with all of those points coming from inside the 3-point arc.

    ABOUT THE RAPTORS (49-24, 39-34 ATS, 38-34-1 O/U):
    Lowry had his inflamed right elbow drained after Monday’s loss and is shooting 26.2 percent from the field in his last four games. “We just drained it,” Lowry told reporters. “We thought it would calm down over the next few days … hopefully we get a good reaction to it. I’m not going to make no excuses, but it’s definitely something I don’t want to play with. I don’t like playing with (it). But it is what it is. This time of year, you just play through it.” Lowry is even struggling at the free-throw line, connecting on 60.4 percent of his tries in his last five games.


    * Hawks are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games.
    * Raptors are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
    * Under is 4-0 in Hawks last 4 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
    * Raptors are 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings.

    The public is crushing the Raptors -2 at a lofty 75 percent clip and the over 200 is getting almost as much love, getting hit by 72 percent of Covers Contest picks.


    1. Raptors F Patrick Patterson is 14-of-20 from the field in the last three games.

    2. Atlanta G Tim Hardaway Jr. is 2-of-16 in the last two contests.

    3. Toronto has taken the last three meetings by an average of 14.3 points.

    PREDICTION: Hawks 106, Raptors 101


    Preview: Denver At Memphis

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 30, 2016
    Where: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee

    The Memphis Grizzlies’ collective inability to stay on the court is making the race for the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference much more interesting than it looked a week ago. The Grizzlies will try to keep some space between themselves and the Portland Trail Blazers and snap a three-game slide when they host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

    Memphis is 2 1/2 games clear of Portland for No. 5 but is dealing with a rash of injuries matched only by the New Orleans Pelicans as the regular season winds to a close. The Grizzlies lost star center Marc Gasol (foot) for the season and won’t have point guard Mike Conley (Achilles) until the end of the regular season while Zach Randolph struggles through a sprained ankle and role players Brandan Wright (knee) and P.J. Hairston (groin) each nurse injuries. The Nuggets are missing their leading scorer in Danilo Gallinari (ankle) but are laying the groundwork for next season as opposed to gearing up for the playoffs. Denver has dropped two in a row and managed an average of 89 points in those games while frustrating coach Michael Malone with turnovers.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, Altitude (Denver), FSN Southeast (Memphis)

    ABOUT THE NUGGETS (31-44): Denver committed 21 turnovers in a 97-88 loss at home to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday after giving it away 15 times in a 105-90 setback at the Los Angeles Clippers the previous day. “I give (Dallas) no credit at all – we beat ourselves,” Malone told reporters after Monday’s loss. “We made mistake after mistake after mistake. We talked about it in the first quarter, had seven turnovers for 10 points. Talked about it at halftime, came out in the third quarter and had seven more turnovers for 10 points.” Four of those turnovers on Monday came from rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, who had not committed more than two in any of the previous six contests.

    ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (41-33): Memphis is splitting the point guard duties between journeyman Jordan Farmar and rookie Xavier Munford, both of whom were signed by the team within the last two weeks. The Grizzlies were led in scoring on Monday by 14 points off the bench from 39-year-old Vince Carter while JaMychal Green’s 12 points paced the starters. “It is very challenging,” swingman Lance Stephenson told reporters. “We got a lot of guys out but we just got to keep playing hard. No excuses. We got the talent. We just got to come in focused and play hard.”


    1. Nuggets SF Will Barton is shooting 55.8 percent from the floor in the last five games, including 11-of-21 from 3-point range.

    2. Hairston has missed the last seven games but is the most likely to return by Wednesday.

    3. Memphis has taken five straight in the series, but each of the last three meetings have been decided by single digits.

    PREDICTION: Grizzlies 106, Nuggets 99


    Preview: Phoenix At Milwaukee

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 30, 2016
    Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    The Milwaukee Bucks were building some positive momentum for the future earlier in the month but have fallen off of late with losses in five straight games. The Bucks will try to snap the slide when they host another team playing out the string in the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.

    Milwaukee is averaging 92.2 points in the last five games but coach Jason Kidd insists the team is still pushing forward. “You’re always playing for something,” Kidd told reporters. “For us, it’s learning how to win while being a young team. We don’t have any time to take any games off. We need to understand we can be in this same situation next season, being tired but needing to find a way to win.” The Suns’ latest slide reached three in a row in a 121-116 setback at Minnesota on Monday, but the backcourt of the future was in fine form. Brandon Knight and rookie Devin Booker went for 30 points apiece and combined for 10 assists in the loss.

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona (Phoenix), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

    ABOUT THE SUNS (20-54): Phoenix’s season went into a tailspin when point guard Eric Bledsoe went down for the season and Knight quickly followed with a long-term sports hernia injury, but the injuries at least gave Booker a chance to develop. The 19-year-old Kentucky product recorded four of his five 30-point games this month and is averaging 22.7 points in March. Booker is logging heavy minutes (37.7 in March) and went for 43 minutes as the Suns tried in vain to mount a comeback at Minnesota.

    ABOUT THE BUCKS (30-44): Milwaukee allowed the Charlotte Hornets to go 16-of-29 from 3-point range in Sunday’s 115-91 setback and is struggling to defend the arc. “We just have to do a better job guarding the 3-point line,” Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We haven’t figured it out yet, like what we’re doing wrong that we can’t cover the 3-point line. So, we just have to keep working on it.” Antetokounmpo is Milwaukee’s budding star but is not closing as strong as Booker and slumped to 8-of-23 from the field in the last two games.


    1. Bucks C John Henson is averaging 18 points on 15-of-21 from the field in the last two games.

    2. Suns C Alex Len snapped a five-game string without a double-double by recording 14 points and 13 rebounds on Monday.

    3. The road team has taken each of the last four meetings in the series, including Milwaukee’s 101-95 win in Phoenix on Dec. 20.

    PREDICTION: Bucks 105, Suns 103


    Preview: L.A. Clippers At Minnesota

    When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 30, 2016
    Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    The Los Angeles Clippers have dominated Minnesota in recent seasons and look to defeat the Timberwolves for the 15th time in 16 games when they square off on Wednesday. The Clippers have posted seven straight wins in Minnesota, including a 110-106 victory on Dec. 7.

    Los Angeles has strung together three consecutive victories, including an impressive 114-90 drubbing of the Boston Celtics on Monday. “It’s great, it’s amazing,” point guard Chris Paul told reporters. “Not only do we get a chance to rest, it’s all about everybody getting into a rhythm and a flow. We have to make sure everybody has that as we get ready to play in the playoffs.” Minnesota has put together a stretch of three wins in four games as its young roster is showing signs of progress late in the season. “It’s a process and this can lead into next year,” shooting guard Andrew Wiggins told reporters after Monday’s 121-116 win over the Phoenix Suns. “We don’t want to stop. We play hard for a reason. We’re building something here.”

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), FSN North (Minnesota)

    ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (46-27): Los Angeles was clicking on all cylinders in the victory over Boston and had four reserves score in double digits as part of a 67-point showing from the bench. Coach Doc Rivers might have been happiest about the fact Paul played just 26 minutes – he had 13 points and 14 assists against the Celtics – for the second straight day to get some much-needed rest. “It’s huge. Right after the All-Star break he played a ton of minutes,” Rivers told reporters. “I thought that was a tough stretch for him. Now, allowing him to play low minutes in back-to-back games, going on the road, it’s good for us.”

    ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (25-49): Wiggins poured in 32 points in the win over Phoenix and has scored 20 or more points in nine of the past 12 games. Interim coach Sam Mitchell has been pondering resting Wiggins and fellow youngsters Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVine occasionally over the final eight games but hasn’t yet made a decision. Like Wiggins, Towns didn’t look like he needs any rest by putting forth a stellar effort against the Suns with 27 points and 10 rebounds for his ninth straight double-double.


    1. The Timberwolves posted a 108-102 victory in Los Angeles on Feb. 3 to halt a 14-game skid against the Clippers.

    2. Minnesota PG Ricky Rubio is averaging 16 points, 9.4 assists and 3.2 steals over the past five games.

    3. Los Angeles SF Paul Pierce (knee, ankle) will miss the contest after suffering a fall against the Celtics.

    PREDICTION: Clippers 118, Timberwolves 116


    Preview: New York At Dallas

    When: 8:30 PM ET, Wednesday, March 30, 2016
    Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

    The Dallas Mavericks have been afforded very few home games down the stretch, which makes Wednesday’s contest against the visiting New York Knicks a virtual must-win. The Mavericks completed a 1-3 road trip with a 97-88 victory over Denver on Monday and entered Tuesday tied with Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

    After the Knicks leave town, so do the Mavericks for two more roadies, part of a closing stretch in which they play eight of 12 away from home. “We still need everybody, each game is critical. We’re still alive, we’re still fighting,” coach Rick Carlisle said of a team that has made the playoffs 14 of the past 15 years and has finished at .500 or better in each of those seasons. Dallas has claimed 23 of the last 28 meetings with New York and 15 of the last 18 in Texas. The Knicks were eliminated from postseason contention following a loss at home earlier in the week and dropped a 99-91 decision at New Orleans on Monday.

    TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), FSN Southwest (Dallas)

    ABOUT THE KNICKS (30-45): Carmelo Anthony (22 points versus New Orleans) has indicated he will play out the remainder of the regular season, despite the team having no chance at the playoffs. The Knicks stuck with their veterans against the Pelicans in their first game since being eliminated, as Anthony and four others at least 28 years of age combined to take more than 60 percent of the team’s shots. Robin Lopez (8-of-12 from the floor) is the only one who shot better than 50 percent and he’s now averaging 12.8 points on 58.7 percent shooting with 9.4 rebounds since the All-Star break.

    ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (36-38): J.J. Barea came off the bench to provide 18 points and 11 assists in the win over the Nuggets while youngsters Justin Anderson and Dwight Powell made the most of their opportunities for a shorthanded squad. Anderson, a rookie filling in for the injured Deron Williams, had 11 points in his second career start while second-year pro Powell scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter in his first career start. “We were obviously not a team that’s blessed with athleticism. So those two guys were great for us,” forward Dirk Nowitzki – who struggled to a 4-of-17 night – told reporters. “They’re active. They’re young. They’re quick. It was fun to watch. We need some more of that going down the stretch.”


    1. Knicks PF Kristaps Porzingis had a game-high 28 points in a 104-97 loss to Dallas on Dec. 7.

    2. Williams (abdomen) has missed three straight games and there is no timetable for his return.

    3. Nowitzki (10,495) needs three rebounds to pass Hall of Famer David Robinson and claim the 30th spot on the NBA’s all-time list.

    PREDICTION: Mavericks 108, Knicks 96


    Preview: New Orleans At San Antonio

    When: 8:30 PM ET, Wednesday, March 30, 2016
    Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

    The San Antonio Spurs attempt to keep their home unbeaten streak intact when the New Orleans Pelicans come to town on Tuesday. San Antonio is 37-0 at home this season and has won 46 straight regular-season games dating back to last season, the second-longest streak in NBA history.

    All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps) is still in recovery mode and is expected to miss his fourth consecutive game. “He’s still hurting. He’s healing,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after Monday’s 101-87 road win over the Memphis Grizzlies. “We didn’t say if it would be fast or slow. He’s healing.” New Orleans is finishing a dismal season and won on Monday for the first time all season when scoring less than 100 points. The Pelicans lost their first 33 such encounters prior to the 99-91 home win over the New York Knicks.

    TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN New Orleans, KENS (San Antonio)

    ABOUT THE PELICANS (27-46): Point guard Jrue Holiday returned from a two-absence due to a toe injury to score 22 points against the Knicks but he was sporting a swollen right eye after the contest due to a collision with New York forward Kristaps Porzingis. Holiday was slated to have his orbital socket examined and forward Alonzo Gee (quadriceps) departed the contest in the third quarter as the club’s injury woes continued. “I’m going to send out an all-points bulletin to anybody in the French Quarter or anywhere else; we need a voodoo doctor or something here,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters. “We’ve got to find the bones under this place or do something.”

    ABOUT THE SPURS (62-12): San Antonio has won nine of its last 11 games and continues to liberally rest players. Center Tim Duncan, point guard Tony Parker and shooting guard Manu Ginobili didn’t travel on a two-game road trip to Oklahoma City and Memphis, while veteran forward David West didn’t play against the Grizzlies. “It’s all based on the schedule and how many minutes they’ve played,” Popovich told reporters. “Three (games) in four nights. Back-to-backs. It doesn’t matter who we are playing. That’s not what we do with it. We don’t pick games out.”


    1. The Spurs are 2-1 against New Orleans this season but the Pelicans have won four of the past seven meetings.

    2. San Antonio PF LaMarcus Aldridge had 31 points and 13 rebounds against Memphis and is averaging 31.5 points (on 23-of-32 shooting) and 12.5 rebounds over the past two games.

    3. New Orleans SF Ryan Anderson (groin) is expected to miss his sixth straight game.

    PREDICTION: Spurs 105, Pelicans 92


    Preview: Golden State At Utah

    When: 9:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 30, 2016
    Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

    The Golden State Warriors have tied the franchise record of 67 victories set last season and look to move closer to the NBA mark of 73 wins when they visit the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. The Warriors defeated the Washington Wizards on Tuesday and need to go 6-2 over the final eight regular-season contests to surpass the 72-win record set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.

    Point guard Stephen Curry said the all-time victories mark is now on the minds of the players as they hit the final stretch of the season. “You understand they are still talking about that Bulls’ team,” Curry said after Tuesday’s 102-94 victory over the Wizards. “Obviously, if we get that done and win a championship, regardless to have a realistic shot of 73 victories in a season, we want to finish strong and hopefully accomplish that. That would be special.” Utah has won eight of its past 10 games and is in seventh place in the West — ninth-place Dallas is just one game behind — and is hoping that having a day to prepare for the Warriors will prove beneficial. “Hopefully, they’re tired coming off a back-to-back,” point guard Shelvin Mack told reporters. “We’ve got to be focused, be ready to pick up Steph Curry, have a clear mind and try to compete at a high level.”

    TV: 9 p.m. ET, CSN Bay Area (Los Angeles), ROOT (Utah)

    ABOUT THE WARRIORS (67-7): Golden State has won five straight games and 12 of its last 13 as it continues its historic season. Curry scored 26 points and made six 3-pointers in the victory over the Wizards and needs 44 3-pointers to become the first NBA player to make 400 in a season. Shooting guard Klay Thompson had just 16 points and was 2-of-8 from 3-point range against Washington after averaging 37.3 points and making 23 3-pointers in the previous three contests.

    ABOUT THE JAZZ (37-37): Shooting guard Rodney Hood had an electric first-half performance in Monday’s 123-75 beat down of the Los Angeles Lakers as he scored 30 points and made a career-best eight 3-point baskets. “I got a couple of clean looks and from there I just kept on shooting,” Hood told reporters. “The hoop looked really big.” Hood had reached 20 points just once in his previous 21 outings but has made 18-of-24 field-goal attempts during the past two games.


    1. The Warriors are 3-0 against the Jazz this season and have won 10 of the past 11 meetings.

    2. Utah has limited six of its last eight opponents to 87 or fewer points.

    3. Golden State is 16-2 in the second game of back-to-back sets this season.

    PREDICTION: Warriors 114, Jazz 112


    Preview: Washington At Sacramento

    When: 10:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 30, 2016
    Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, California

    The Washington Wizards have a lot of ground to make up in the playoff race and not much time left to chase down the eighth-place Indiana Pacers. Washington lost to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday to fall into 10th place in the Eastern Conference and stands three games behind the Pacers with just eight games remaining.

    The Wizards have split the first two games of a crucial five-game road trip that ends with games against the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers. Washington point guard John Wall had 11 assists but just eight points on 4-of-14 shooting against Golden State to see his streak of nine straight double-doubles reach its end. The Kings figure to have All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, forward Rudy Gay and point guard Rajon Rondo back in the lineup after the trio rested in Monday’s 105-93 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. “I think it will happen some more,” Sacramento coach George Karl told reporters. “I don’t think there’s an exact schedule yet but I think you’ll see us do it a little bit more, especially in back-to-back situations.”

    TV: 10 p.m. ET, CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington), CSN California (Sacramento)

    ABOUT THE WIZARDS (36-38): Power forward Markieff Morris (calf) was in the starting lineup against the Warriors and had 15 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes of action. Morris suffered the injury against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday when he departed after 10 minutes and then missed Sunday’s game versus the Los Angeles Lakers. Shooting guard Bradley Beal had 17 points against Golden State after scoring in single digits in two of the previous three contests.

    ABOUT THE KINGS (29-45): First-round draft pick Willie Cauley-Stein has strung together three consecutive standout performances and had 13 points and a season-best 14 rebounds in the loss to the Trail Blazers. The double-double follows outings in which the 7-foot Cauley-Stein scored a season-high 26 points against Phoenix on Friday and 21 against Dallas on Sunday. “I’m a hard worker so it’s only going to go up,” Cauley-Stein told reporters. “The only way is up; there’s no backwards for me. I’m just going to keep on working, keep on grinding, keep on learning from my teammates and hopefully we can keep building off this.”


    1. The Wizards have lost in each of their last five visits to Sacramento.

    2. Wall had reached double figures in points in 31 straight games prior to Tuesday’s loss to the Warriors.

    3. Sacramento SG Marco Belinelli (foot) has missed the past two games.

    PREDICTION: Wizards 109, Kings 104


    Preview: Miami At L.A. Lakers

    When: 10:30 PM ET, Wednesday, March 30, 2016
    Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

    The Miami Heat figure to have an easy time keeping pace in the race for the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. The Lakers are coming off the largest loss of Kobe Bryant’s career in a game that he played, 123-75 at Utah on Monday, and have dropped four straight by double figures.

    Bryant has eight games remaining in his Hall of Fame career and sounded frustrated after the drubbing on Monday. “We’ve got 15 wins in the season?” Kobe Bryant told reporters. “I mean, losing by 48 and winning 15 games in the season – it’s not like it’s something new for us. We’ve been getting drug all season.” The Heat sit fourth in the East, one game behind third-place Atlanta, and have won four of five after knocking off the Brooklyn Nets 110-99 on Monday. Miami will play six of its final nine games on the road beginning with the three-game West Coast trip that includes a back-to-back at Sacramento and Portland on Friday and Saturday.

    TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Sun (Miami), TWC SportsNet (Los Angeles)

    ABOUT THE HEAT (43-30): Dwyane Wade went for 30 points on 14-of-19 shooting in Monday’s win and is fresh for the stretch drive while logging an average of 30.2 minutes in March. “(Wade) was just being extremely opportunistic and aggressive with his attack touches and looking for opportunities and weaknesses in the defense,” Miami coach Eric Spoelstra told reporters after Monday’s triumph. “I said this maybe a week or two weeks ago. It really does appear he’s getting stronger as the season is going on.” Wade is getting plenty of help from center Hassan Whiteside, who is shooting 71.7 percent with four double-doubles in the last five games.

    ABOUT THE LAKERS (15-59): Los Angeles coach Byron Scott is dealing with questions about his job security while trying to develop the team for the future and is clearly frustrated. “Every game that you plan in, there’s something to play for, and pride might be the biggest thing,” Scott told reporters. “You’ve got to show this organization that you deserve to be here, that you understand what wearing that purple and gold is all about. I don’t think a lot of guys in that locker room understand that right now.” Young foundation pieces Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell combined to go 3-of-16 from the floor at Utah.


    1. Heat PG Goran Dragic (illness) sat out Monday and is day-to-day.

    2. The Lakers’ 48-point loss on Monday matched the largest defeat in franchise history.

    3. Miami has taken seven straight in the series and eased by Los Angeles 101-88 at home on Nov. 10.

    PREDICTION: Heat 120, Lakers 96


    Hot teams
    — Hawks won nine of their last ten games (5-1 last 6AU).
    — Clippers won their last three games (8-3 last 11AF). Minnesota won three of its last four games (1-3 last 4HU).
    — Spurs won eight of their last ten games (12-6-1 last 19HF).
    — Warriors won their last five games (3-5 last 8AF). Utah won eight of its last ten games (6-3HU).
    — Miami won four of its last five games (4-5 last 9HF).

    Cold teams
    — Toronto lost three of its last four games (4-7 last 11HF).
    — Denver lost six of its last nine games (2-6 last 8AU). Memphis lost seven of its last nine games (4-3 last 7HF).
    — Suns lost four of their last five games (5-3 last 8AU). Milwaukee lost its last five games (6-2 last 8HF).
    — Pelicans lost seven of their last ten games (3-1 last 4AU).
    — Knicks lost five of their last seven games (2-4 last 6AU). Dallas also lost five of its last seven games (2-5 last 7HF).
    — Kings lost five of their last eight games. Washington lost four of its last five games.
    — Lakers lost eight of their last ten games (1-5 last 6HU).

    Series records
    — Raptors won five of last six games with Atlanta.
    — Memphis won seven of its last eight games with Denver.
    — Clippers won nine of last ten games with Minnesota.
    — Suns won four of their last five games to Milwaukee.
    — Pelicans are 4-3 (6-1 vs spread) in last seven games vs San Antonio.
    — Knicks lost five of their last six games with Dallas.
    — Warriors won nine of last ten games with Utah.
    — Kings won five of their last eight games with Washington.
    — Lakers lost their last seven games with Miami.

    — Last four Atlanta-Toronto games stayed under total.
    — Seven of last eight Denver-Memphis games stayed under.
    — Last four Clipper games stayed under the total.
    — Six of last eight Phoenix games stayed under the total.
    — Six of last eight New Orleans games went over the total.
    — Eight of last nine New York games stayed under the total.
    — Five of last six Warrior games stayed under the total.
    — Five of last six Sacramento games stayed under total.
    — Four of last five Laker games went over the total.

    — Golden State is 1-5 vs spread last six time they played nite before.
    — Washington is 2-8 vs spread last 10 times they played night before.


    StatFox Super Situations™ – FoxSheets

    Play Against – Home underdogs (UTAH) after leading in their previous game by 20 or more points at the half
    70-33 since 1997. ( 68.0% | 33.7 units )
    4-1 this year. ( 80.0% | 2.9 units )

    Play Against – All teams where the line is +3 to -3 (DENVER) revenging a loss vs opponent against opponent off a loss against a division rival
    81-40 over the last 5 seasons. ( 66.9% | 37.0 units )
    8-7 this year. ( 53.3% | 0.3 units )

    Play Against – All teams with a money line of +135 to -155 (ATLANTA) after a close win by 3 points or less against opponent after a combined score of 205 points or more
    56-28 over the last 5 seasons. ( 66.7% | 29.5 units )
    11-8 this year. ( 57.9% | 3.5 units )

    Play Under – All teams where the first half total is greater than 100 in a game involving two good offensive teams (98-102 PPG) after 42+ games, after allowing 120 points or more
    54-23 since 1997. ( 70.1% | 28.7 units )
    4-4 this year. ( 50.0% | -0.4 units )

    Play Under – All teams where the first half total is 100.5 to 105 off a home loss, with a winning record on the season playing a losing team
    81-40 over the last 5 seasons. ( 66.9% | 37.0 units )
    22-12 this year. ( 64.7% | 8.8 units )

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