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Spurs And Thunder Face Judgment Day This Thursday

Posted by Craig Parsons on 4/3/2013 7:20:41 PM

The three games this Thursday in the NBA are connected to the playoff push. Two East teams battle for seeding while Dallas tries to cling to hope and Oklahoma City goes for the top seed.

Game 1: Chicago Bulls @ Brooklyn Nets – Thursday, April 4

Anyone who plays poker games knows that fortunes can’t improve if one doesn’t get the right cards, and an NBA team’s prospects can’t brighten if key players are simply unavailable. It appears more and more likely at this point that Derrick Rose will not play for Chicago this season. Rip Hamilton is likely out for the remainder of the season. Joakim Noah should return before the playoffs begin, but he won’t take the floor in this game against Brooklyn.

Forward Taj Gibson, who - like Noah - gives the Bulls such great energy on defense while adding length to the team’s front line - re-injured his knee on Tuesday against the Washington Wizards. The Bulls are essentially dropping like flies, and with Brooklyn not suffering the same level or number of injuries, the Nets - playing at home and fighting to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs - should be a solid choice in this tilt.

NBA Betting Pick: Brooklyn

Game 2: Dallas Mavericks @ Denver Nuggets - Thursday, April 4

The online sports betting legal community knows that when sizing up various NBA matchups in the early weeks of April, one has to include playoff urgency in the equation, realizing that this is not just part of the regular-season grind, but an adrenaline-fueled fight to the finish line, something you don’t see in January or early February.

Dallas is a desperate team after losing to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday to fall into tenth place in the Western Conference, a notch behind the Lakers and two spots behind eighth-place Utah for that last playoff position in the West. There’s virtually no margin for error in Dallas’ world, and that’s one reason the Mavericks have a chance. Dallas also knows that Denver will be without point guard Ty Lawson for the next few weeks.

The Mavs really could steal this game. However, Denver has lost only three games at home this season, and it’s hard to bet against that rate of performance on the money line. Take Denver to win the game outright, though it will be close.

NBA Betting Pick: Denver

Game 3: San Antonio Spurs @ Oklahoma City Thunder - Thursday, April 4

Even the ranks of football betting gurus who don't pay a whole lot of attention to NBA basketball could look at this week’s schedule grid and tell you that Oklahoma City has everything lined up in its favor in this game. The Thunder have received a break in their schedule - literally. Oklahoma City hasn’t played a game since Saturday and should be rested for this contest, while San Antonio has played three games in a four-day stretch from Sunday through Wednesday.

The Spurs will be gassed in this game, and with point guard Tony Parker not being nearly as effective as he was before a late-winter injury, it’s hard to expect much out of San Antonio under these circumstances. The Thunder should take over first place in the West.

NBA Betting Pick: Oklahoma City

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