NBA-Wednesday night-Season nearing the end, battle of the giants at Texas

Game of the Night – Warriors at Spurs – 9:35 PM EST – ESPN

The last time these teams met up in San Antonio on March 11, many of the key players involved watched from the bench the Spurs manhandle the Warriors, 107-85. San Antonio easily cashed as 10 ½-point favorites in spite of star Kawhi Leonard sitting out, but Golden State mailed it in before the tip-off as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala all took the night off.

The Warriors (60-14 SU, 34-38-2 ATS) head to San Antonio with no rest following Tuesday’s 113-106 victory at Houston, as Steve Kerr’s club was listed as an underdog for only the second time this season. Not only did the Warriors extend their winning streak to eight, but also finished UNDER the total for the 11th consecutive contest. Golden State has performed well with no rest this season by going 11-4 (one of those losses came at San Antonio), but the Warriors have compiled a 5-10 ATS mark on the second of a back-to-back.

San Antonio (57-16 SU, 38-34-1 ATS) is within striking distance of grabbing the top seed in the Western Conference, but begin Wednesday’s action 2 ½ games behind Golden State for home-court advantage. The Spurs knocked off the defending champion Cavaliers in convincing fashion on Monday, 103-74 as five-point home favorites, while limiting Cleveland to 4-of-26 shooting from three-point range.

Golden State grabbed three of four meetings from San Antonio last season, but the Spurs own a perfect 2-0 record against the Warriors this season. In the last 30 visits to San Antonio, the Warriors have won only twice dating back to 2002, but one of those victories came last April as Golden State pulled out a 92-86 triumph as 3 ½-point underdogs.

Bucking the Trend

Milwaukee is setting itself up for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference following a 118-108 win at Charlotte on Tuesday to improve to 38-36. The Bucks travel to Boston with no rest as Milwaukee owns a 5-2 record in its last seven games on the second of a back-to-back (the losses came at Golden State and Cleveland). Jason Kidd’s squad has turned into road warriors by winning six of the past eight contests away from BMO Harris Bradley Center, including three victories in the underdog role.

The Celtics are fighting it out with the Cavaliers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference as Boston leads Cleveland by a half game. Boston is riding a seven-game home winning streak and has won four consecutive games overall after holding off Miami on Sunday, 112-108. The C’s have captured five of the previous six matchups with the Bucks, including a 112-108 overtime triumph at Milwaukee in late January.

Kings for Another Day?

Sacramento shocked Los Angeles on Sunday by erasing a late 18-point deficit to beat the Clippers, 98-97 to cash as 13-point underdogs. The Kings picked up another one-point victory on Monday, 91-90 over the Grizzlies as seven-point ‘dogs to pick up back-to-back wins for only the second time since the All-Star break. Sacramento hosts Utah, looking to avenge a 110-109 overtime setback to the Jazz earlier this month after blowing a 14-point halftime lead.

The Jazz have stumbled down the stretch by losing four of their last six games, but picked up a crucial 108-100 home victory over the Pelicans on Monday. Gordon Hayward missed that win with a quad injury for Utah as the All-Star forward hopes to return to the lineup on Wednesday. Utah has struggled to cover numbers as a road favorite recently by posting a 2-5 ATS mark in its last seven opportunities, while dropping four straight games away from Salt Lake City.

California Comeback

The Wizards wrapped up the Southeast division title on Tuesday night with an incredible fourth quarter comeback against the Lakers. Washington overcame a 13-point deficit after three quarters and outscored Los Angeles, 37-13 in the final period to win, 119-108 and most importantly, covered as nine-point favorites. The Wizards remain at Staples Center tonight as they face the Clippers, while looking to extend their winning streak to five.

The Clippers led the Kings on Sunday, 94-76 with five minutes remaining in regulation, but Sacramento stunned Los Angeles with a 22-3 run to close the game and beat L.A., 98-97. Doc Rivers’ squad slipped to fifth seed, which means the Clippers would start on the road against Utah if the playoffs started today. Los Angeles has slumped to a 3-7 ATS record the past 10 games at Staples Center, but the Clippers have beaten the Wizards eight straight times at home since 2009.

Flying Back

The Hawks ended a seven-game losing streak in Tuesday’s 95-91 victory over the tanking Suns, but failed to cash as 10-point favorites. Atlanta finished UNDER the total for the seventh consecutive contest, as the Hawks have scored 100 points or less in each game of this stretch. Paul Millsap remains sidelined for Atlanta as the Hawks head to Philadelphia with no rest. Atlanta has fared well on the second of a back-to-back this season by owning a 9-5 SU/ATS record, while winning four of its last five on the road with no rest.

Philadelphia returns home following a 106-101 triumph at Brooklyn last night to wrap up a five-game road trip, but the 76ers hit the highway again on Friday to face Cleveland after tonight’s home contest. Atlanta goes for the four-game season sweep of Philadelphia as each of the first three meetings have been decided by 17 points or more. Since January, the 76ers have amazingly cashed 15 of their last 17 games at Wells Fargo Center.

Heat Wave

Miami overcame a four-point deficit in the final minute to knock off Detroit on Tuesday thanks to Hassan Whiteside’s tip-in at the buzzer. The Heat failed to cash as three-point favorites, but picked up a crucial victory that puts Miami all alone in the eighth spot with eight games remaining. Miami faces old arch-rival New York at Madison Square Garden tonight trying to improve on a 5-8 record with no rest this season.

The Knicks are coming off a rare victory on Monday after chasing the Pistons in the second half of a 109-95 triumph as a one-point underdog. New York owns a dreadful 0-12 record in its last 12 games off a victory as Jeff Hornacek’s team last won consecutive contests in late December. The Knicks and Heat are meeting for only the second time this season as New York won at Miami on December 6 by a 114-103 count, but the Heat have won and covered in their last five visits to Madison Square Garden.

Head-to-Head Trends

— Orlando has cashed in eight of its past nine matchups with Oklahoma City, including as 9 ½-point road ‘dogs in a 119-117 upset in mid-November. The Thunder have won in four of the past five visits to Orlando, while the Magic are victorious in three of their previous five opportunities as a home underdog.

— The Raptors have captured two of three meetings with the Hornets this season as the two Eastern squads match up at Air Canada Center. Charlotte has lost in its last four trips to Toronto, while scoring 94 points or less in each of those defeats.

— Memphis had its five-game winning streak against Indiana snapped last month, 102-92 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers travel to Memphis looking to improve on a 5-11 record with no rest off last night’s one-point defeat to Minnesota. The Grizzlies have gone backwards of late by losing all four games on its recent road trip, while being held to 94 points or less in each setback.

— Both the Mavericks and Pelicans won’t be headed to the playoffs, but the two division foes square off in New Orleans. The home team has won each of the first three matchups this season, while the Pelicans are 3-1 SU/ATS the past four home matchups with the Mavericks.

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