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NBA-Midweek clashes- Paul at LA again, Wizards to upset the champions?

Game of the Night: Rockets (-8, 227) at Clippers – 10:35 PM EST

The hottest team in the NBA resides in Houston as the Rockets (47-13 SU, 31-28-1 ATS) have pulled out 13 consecutive victories. Houston’s latest conquest came at Utah on Monday in a 96-85 triumph as one-point road favorites. James Harden paced the Rockets with 26 points and 11 rebounds as Houston won by scoring less than 100 points for only the second time this season. As a single-digit favorite, the Rockets improved to 13-2 ATS in the last 15 opportunities since early January.

The Clippers (32-27 SU, 34-24-1 ATS) return home following a successful 5-2 road trip, capped off by Wednesday’s comeback win at Denver. Los Angeles erased a 19-point deficit in a 122-120 triumph at Pepsi Center to cash as 7 ½-point underdogs, led by Lou Williams’ 25 points off the bench. The Clippers posted 41 fourth quarter points to help pick up their fifth consecutive cover and move to 4-1 ATS in the last five chances in the underdog role.

Los Angeles has knocked off Houston twice this season, including a 113-102 victory at Staples Center as 4 ½-point underdogs on January 15. Not only was it Chris Paul’s return to L.A. to face the Clippers for the first time since getting traded in the offseason, but the two teams had several heated exchanges in the fourth quarter. Harden sat out due to a hamstring strain for Houston, who has lost in three of the past four visits to Los Angeles.

Wave the Wand

The last the Wizards and Warriors met up in Oakland in late October, Golden State edged Washington, 120-117 as 12-point favorites. However, the storyline coming out of that contest was the melee involving Golden State’s Draymond Green and Washington’s Bradley Beal, who were tangled up underneath the basket and eventually fought and were ejected. The Wizards built a 14-point halftime lead before the Warriors rallied back by outscoring Washington in the second half, 67-50.

Golden State (47-14 SU, 28-32-1 ATS) pulled away from New York on Monday, 125-111 as 12-point favorites to kick off its three-game road trip. The Warriors outscored the Knicks in the third quarter, 39-18 to move to 5-2 ATS this season as a double-digit road favorite.

The Wizards (36-25 SU, 30-31 ATS)improved to 10-3 SU/ATS since John Wallhas been sidelined, while picking up their fourth straight road win on Tuesday at Milwaukee. Washington edged Milwaukee, 107-104 as three-point underdogs after building an early 21-point lead, as Beal paced the Wizards with 21 points. Since Wall has been out, Washington has beaten Toronto and Oklahoma City as home underdogs, but the Wizards have lost three of the past four matchups with the Warriors.

Central Struggles

Two Central division rivals hook up in Detroit as the Bucks and Pistons both look to get on track. Milwaukee (33-27 SU, 25-30-5 ATS) dug itself a 26-5 hole on Tuesday against Washington before rallying back to cut the deficit to two in the final minute of regulation. However, the Bucks couldn’t get over the hump in a 107-104 loss to the Wizards as Milwaukee fell to 0-5 ATS in its last five as a home favorite. The Bucks have seen more success on the road recently by winning four of the previous five contests away from BMO Harris Bradley Center, including an overtime triumph at Toronto last week.

The Pistons (28-32 SU, 26-32-2 ATS) have been absolute pointspread poison since acquiring Blake Griffin by posting a 1-10 ATS record with the All-Star forward in the lineup. Detroit has failed to cover the number in each of its past eight games, while the Pistons haven’t busted the 100-point mark in the last three losses to Boston, Charlotte, and Toronto. The home team has won each of the first three meetings, including a pair of four-point wins by the Bucks in Milwaukee. Detroit has dropped five of the past six to Milwaukee since December 2016, but four of those defeats came on the road.

Pelican Power

Houston may be running away with the Southwest division, but New Orleans is looking to make its mark in the Western Conference playoff race. The Pelicans (34-26 SU, 31-28-1 ATS)extended their winning streak to six in Monday’s 125-116 victory over the Suns, barely picking up a cover as 7 ½-point favorites. Anthony Davis continues to post ridiculous numbers for New Orleans by torching Phoenix for 53 points and 18 rebounds, the fourth time in the last six games he has erupted for 40 points or more.

The task will be tough tonight for New Orleans to keep its hot streak going with a trip to San Antonio. The Spurs (36-25 SU, 32-27-2 ATS) ended a four-game skid in Sunday’s 110-94 blowout of Cleveland as 4 ½-point underdogs. San Antonio has won nine of the past 10 home meetings with New Orleans, although the Pelicans are making their first trip to the AT&T Center this season. The Pelicans knocked off the Spurs in the first matchup this season, 107-90, while covering in each of the past three meetings.

Boston (and Charlotte) Strong

Both the Celtics and Hornets were struggling heading into the All-Star break. However, the week off jump started these Eastern Conference clubs as each time tries to extend their winning streak tonight at TD Garden. The Hornets (28-33 SU, 26-31-4 ATS) picked up their fifth consecutive victory in Monday’s 15-point triumph over the Bulls, while eclipsing the 111-point mark in all four wins since the break.

The Celtics (28-33 SU, 26-31-4 ATS) ended the first half with three straight home losses, but have rebounded by winning three consecutive games. Boston jumped out to a 26-point halftime lead over Memphis on Monday, but failed to cash as 11 ½-point favorites in a 109-98 win to drop to 0-4 ATS in the last four home contests. The Celtics have seen plenty of success against the Hornets over the years by capturing eight of the last nine matchups, including a pair of wins this season.

Fast Break

— The Raptors travel to Orlando trying to remain hot after winning eight of their past nine games. The Magic cashed as 10-point road underdogs in Monday’s 112-105 setback at Oklahoma City, but Orlando dropped its sixth straight game. These two teams are hooking up for the first time this season as they split four games last season.

— The Pacers had their four-game winning streak end in Dallas on Monday. Indiana heads to Atlanta seeking its third victory over the Hawks this season, coming off a 116-93 home rout last week. The Hawks are fresh off a 19-point home loss to the Lakers, their fourth straight defeat, falling to 2-5 ATS in the last seven as a home underdog.

— Two teams that are readying for the lottery meet in Memphis as the Grizzlies host the Suns. The home squad has captured the first three meetings this season, as both Phoenix and Memphis attempt to snap a 10-game losing streak. The last time the Grizzlies won a game came against the Suns on January 29 as 8 ½-point favorites, 120-109.

— Dallas has knocked off Oklahoma City in each of the past two meetings as the two squads hook up for the final time in the regular season at American Airlines Center. The Thunder are 3-1 in the past four games, but have covered the number only once in this span. The Mavericks own a 1-5 record in their last six games off a win following Monday’s victory over Indiana, but are 6-3 ATS in their previous nine opportunities as a home underdog.

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