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NBA Today April 15

NBA Today April 15

Tuesday NBA Gameday

Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers will play host to the Sacramento Kings as the regular season gets closer to its finale. Here are the details in your NBA Gameday . . .

Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks

The Magic are the Southeast Division champions, and they're now locked into the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The last time Orlando played in Atlanta was back on March 22, when a fourth-quarter surge by their opponents left them with a 98-90 defeat. Dwight Howard picked up 11 points and 16 rebounds that night for Orlando.

Atlanta might've already clinched a playoff berth by the time this matchup rolls around (it depends on how the Pacers fared on Monday night), but they'll still want to try and get on somewhat of a roll heading into the postseason. The Hawks have lost three of their past five contests, and they're coming off a 99-89 loss to the Celtics on Saturday night.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Detroit Pistons

The T-Wolves aren't going to finish with the worst record in the Western Conference this season, thanks to the Sonics' woeful mark and their own current two-game winning streak. Minnesota edged Orlando 102-101 on Friday night, and they followed that up with a 114-105 victory over Memphis on Saturday. Rashad McCants tossed in 23 points.

The Pistons couldn't keep up with the Celtics in the conference standings, but they easily won the Central Division and they'll go into the playoffs as the East's No. 2 seed. Detroit is coming off back-to-back wins over the Wizards and Raptors on Friday and Sunday, and they've only lost seven of their 40 total games at home so far this season.

Los Angeles Clippers at New Orleans Hornets

The Clippers are in the process of putting a terrible finish on a terrible regular season. Los Angeles is going to end up around 25 games back of the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference, and they've currently lost five consecutive contests. In their most recent action on Saturday the Clippers were beaten 122-116 by the Warriors.

The Hornets will be hoping for a gimme game against the Clippers as they try to optimize their position in the final Western Conference standings. New Orleans can still end up in first place in the West, but losing three of their past four contests has certainly hurt their chances. New Orleans is coming off a 94-91 loss to Sacramento on Saturday.

Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Lakers

The Kings are going to fall short of the .500 mark this season, but with impressive wins over some of the best teams in the Western Conference over the past month they've at least been making some sort of an impact. Sacramento, though, fell 114-92 to the Lakers when they met on April 6, with Kevin Martin contributing a team-high 22 points.

Tuesday's game against the Kings will be the last of the regular season for the Lakers, so all they'll be able to do is scoreboard-watch when the final games are played on Wednesday night. Los Angeles managed to hold off Phoenix and win the Pacific Division title, and they head into Tuesday night as the winners of seven of their past 10.

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Re: NBA Today April 15

This week in the NBA: Capping the teams with nothing to play for

Tuesday, April 15

Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers

Despite Memphis’ reputation for tanking games in the past, this year’s Grizz are still biting and clawing. The fact that first-year head coach Marc Iavroni has been given no assurances his job is safe heading into next season has a direct correlation.

Memphis currently holds the league’s third-worst record but New York and the Los Angeles Clippers are close behind. Every win the Grizz earn puts more distance between them and Michael Beasley or Derrick Rose.

Portland’s intentions are significantly more transparent. The Blazers’ goal is to finish above .500 which will have their fans drooling at the potential for next year’s club with a healthy Greg Oden. If this weren’t the strategy there’s no way the Portland brass would allow Brandon Roy and his sore groin back on the hardwood this season.

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Orlando (50-30, 48-29-3 ATS) at Atlanta (37-43, 37-42-1 ATS)

One night after locking up their first playoff berth in nine years without even playing, the Hawks figure to be all smiles tonight when they host playoff-bound divisional rival Orlando in a game that’s completely meaningless to both teams.

Atlanta was assured of its first trip to the postseason since 1999 when Washington beat Indiana last night in D.C., officially eliminating the Pacers from playoff contention. The Hawks are locked into the No. 8 seed and will face the Celtics in the opening round. Meanwhile, the Magic are set in the No. 3 spot in the East and will take on the Raptors in Round 1.

Atlanta is coming off Saturday’s 99-89 loss at Boston, failing to cash as a three-point home chalk. The Hawks have alternated SU and ATS wins and losses in their last six games, but they’re still 11-5 in their last 16 outings (9-7 ATS).

Like the Hawks, Orlando has been very inconsistent of late, alternating wins and losses in its last eight contests (4-3-1 ATS). In their most recent game on Sunday, the Magic pummeled the Bulls 104-84 as a three-point road chalk to secure their first 50-win season since 1995-96.

Atlanta is on a 4-1 SU and ATS roll against the Magic, going 2-1 SU and ATS this year and 5-1 ATS in the last six when hosting Orlando. That includes the Hawks’ 98-90 victory as a one-point home underdog in this year’s lone previous meeting in Atlanta. The host has cashed in six of the last eight meetings, and the SU winner has covered the pointspread in each of those eight contests.

The Hawks are just 1-4 ATS in their last five at home, 0-4 ATS in their last four on Tuesday and 2-5 ATS in their last seven divisional contests. On the bright side, Atlanta has cashed in five consecutive games after a SU defeat.

Going back to the end of last year, the Magic have been a tremendous bet on the road, going 30-14-2 ATS (26-14 ATS this year). Stan Van Gundy’s squad is also on pointspread hot streaks of 4-1 on Tuesdays, 9-3 when playing on one day of rest and 11-5 against Southwest Division foes.

The Hawks have followed up a 10-2 “over” streak by staying under the number in three of their last four. Also, the under is on streaks of 6-2 in this rivalry overall, 5-1 when the two squads face off in Atlanta, 7-0 for the Magic overall, 6-0 for the Magic on the road, 12-4-1 for the Magic against divisional rivals and 15-7 for the Hawks in divisional battles.


Sacramento (38-42, 43-36-1 ATS) at L.A. Lakers (56-25, 46-33-1 ATS)

After a pair of impressive home victories over the Hornets and Spurs over the weekend, the Lakers now only need to defeat the Kings in their regular-season finale tonight to secure the top seed and home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.

Los Angeles held off the Hornets 107-104 on Friday night, then came back Sunday and pummeled the Spurs 106-85, breaking open a game that was tied at halftime. The Lakers have won three in a row and seven out of eight, but despite easily covering as an eight-point favorite against the Spurs on Sunday, L.A. is still just 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games overall and 1-7 ATS in its last eight at home.

Despite just playing out the string, the Kings have been more than competitive lately, winning two in a row and six out of eight (7-1 ATS). That includes Saturday’s 94-91 upset of the Hornets as a 12-point home underdog – a victory that helped out the Lakers, who now lead the Western Conference by a half-game over New Orleans. Because the Lakers own the head-to-head tiebreaker versus New Orleans, a win tonight gives the Lakers the No. 1 seed.

Los Angeles is 7-3 SU and ATS in its last 10 meetings with the Kings, as the winner has cashed in each of those contests. However, the road team has dominated this rivalry of late, winning six of seven, including the last four in a row. In this year’s lone battle at the Staples Center in L.A., Sacramento pulled off a stunning 114-113 upset win as a 13½-point road underdog.

The Kings head to Hollywood sporting a bunch of positive pointspread streaks, including 7-1 overall (3-0 last three), 12-3 on Tuesdays and 4-0 on the road. Meanwhile, the Lakers are 17-5 ATS in their last 22 against Pacific Division rivals, 9-3 ATS in their last 12 on Tuesdays and 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games against losing teams.

The over is 19-7-1 in the last 27 meetings overall and 10-3 in the last 13 head-to-head clashes in Los Angeles. The over is also 5-0 in the Kings’ last five road games and 7-3 in the Lakers’ last 10 games on Tuesday.


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