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Friday's Tip Sheet
Game of the Night: Warriors at Bucks – 8:05 PM EST

Golden State (33-9 SU, 19-22-1 ATS) embarks on a five-game road swing that continues to Toronto on Saturday and Cleveland on Monday. The Warriors look to rebound following a 125-106 home setback to the Clippers as 12-point favorites on Wednesday. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each sat out for Golden State, but Curry isn’t expected to return tonight after spraining his ankle prior to Wednesday’s contest.

The Bucks (22-18 SU, 17-18-5 ATS) failed to cover in Wednesday’s 110-103 home win over the struggling Magic as 10 ½-point favorites, in spite of leading by 20 points heading into the final quarter. The Bucks improved to 9-3 the last 12 games at BMO Harris Bradley Center, while topping the 106-point mark 10 times in this stretch. Jason Kidd’s squad is listed as a home underdog for only the third time this season, beating the Cavaliers last month, while losing by 19 points to the Thunder on Halloween night.

The Warriors have captured seven of the last eight meetings from the Bucks since January 2014, including a sweep last season. Milwaukee has covered in each of the past two home matchups, as the Bucks handed the Warriors their first loss following a 24-0 start in December 2015.

Cleveland Collapse?

We won’t go as far as that with the defending Eastern Conference champions, but the Cavaliers (26-15 SU, 12-28-1 ATS) have dropped six of their last eight games. The latest setback during this cold stretch came in Thursday’s 133-99 rout at Toronto, the second consecutive loss by more than 25 points. Cleveland fell to 1-9 ATS in the past 10 contests, as the Cavaliers look for a road cover for the first time in nine tries with a trip to Indiana.

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The Pacers (21-20 SU, 22-19 ATS) own a 2-0 record against the Cavaliers this season, including a four-point home victory last month. Indiana looks to bounce back following Wednesday’s 114-106 home defeat to Miami, snapping a two-game winning streak. The Pacers will try to improve on a 1-5 ATS record in their last six opportunities in the underdog role, while owning a 4-6 ATS mark as a home ‘dog.

Right on Target

The Timberwolves (27-16 SU, 20-21-2 ATS) have been cleaning up at home of late by winning six consecutive games at Target Center since a shocking setback to the Suns as 12-point favorites on December 16. Minnesota is fresh off three consecutive double-digit victories over New Orleans, Cleveland, and Oklahoma City, while holding seven straight opponents to less than 100 points. The Wolves have won 10 of their past 13 games to pull into first place of the Northwest division, owning a four-game edge over the Thunder and Blazers.

Minnesota shoots for a fourth straight win on this five-game homestand as New York (19-22 SU, 22-19 ATS) heads to the Twin Cities. The Knicks are fresh off a tough double-overtime loss to the Bulls on Wednesday, the third setback to Chicago this season. New York has dropped eight of their last 10 games, but have covered three of its past four away from Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have seen moderate success against the Wolves the last two seasons by winning four consecutive meetings, including a two-point triumph at Target Center last November.

High Note?

The Jazz (17-24 SU, 21-20 ATS) won only their fourth game away from Salt Lake City in 21 tries this season in Wednesday’s 107-104 comeback victory at Washington to pull off the sweep of the Wizards. Utah will attempt to win consecutive contests for the first time since compiling a six-game winning streak in late November/early December, while finishing off a four-game road swing in Charlotte.

The Hornets (15-24 SU, 16-20-3 ATS) posted a solid 3-1 SU/ATS record on its recent California away trip, but struggled to capitalize off that success in Wednesday’s 115-111 home defeat to the Mavericks. Charlotte has struggled at home of late by losing eight of its past 10 games at Spectrum Center, including a 2-5 SU/ATS record as a home favorite. The Hornets have knocked off the Jazz in three straight home meetings, while the home team has won the past seven matchups in this series.

Net Losses

They have been piling up for Brooklyn (15-26 SU, 25-16 ATS), who closed out a five-game homestand with three straight defeats, capped off by a 34-point rout at the hands of Detroit on Wednesday. That substandard performance ended a six-game ATS hot streak for the Nets, who begin a back-to-back road set at Atlanta tonight and Washington on Saturday. Brooklyn looks to finish off a season series victory over Atlanta after capturing two of the first three meetings, including a 20-point blowout of the Hawks on December 4.

The Hawks (11-30 SU, 22-17-2 ATS) picked up a rare road victory in Wednesday’s triumph at Denver as 9 ½-point underdogs for their fourth away win on the season in 23 tries. Now the Hawks will try to win consecutive games for the second time this season as Atlanta owns a dreadful 1-9 record off a victory, but the Hawks have posted a 4-1 SU/ATS record as a home favorite this season.

Dame Old Story?

Playing without a top scorer would be a problem for any team, but that wasn’t the case of late for Portland. The Blazers (22-19 SU, 19-18-4 ATS) actually won five consecutive games with Damian Lillard sidelined due to a calf injury, but are 0-2 in the last two contests in which the All-Star guard has played. The most recent setback came in Wednesday’s 121-112 defeat at Houston as seven-point underdogs, even though Lillard scored a team-high 29 points.

Portland travels to New Orleans for the first time this season as the two teams have split a pair of matchups at the Moda Center. The Pelicans (20-20 SU, 20-19-1 ATS) continue to be the beacon of inconsistency following Wednesday’s loss at Memphis, as New Orleans has split the last 10 games overall. It’s hard to think which Pelicans team will show up tonight, especially with Anthony Davis listed as questionable with an ankle injury suffered in Monday’s win over the Pistons. New Orleans has failed to cover in its last three games at Smoothie King Center, but have won three of its past four meetings with Portland.

Fast Break

-- Washington and Orlando face off for the second time in less than a month as the Wizards dispatched the Magic, 130-103 as 12-point favorites on December 23. The Magic put together a fourth quarter rally in Wednesday’s loss at Milwaukee for another backdoor cover in a seven-point defeat, but lost for the 15th time in 16 games. Washington will look to halt a two-game home skid following losses to Milwaukee and Utah by a combined 10 points.

-- The Grizzlies are seeking consecutive wins for the first time since late October as Memphis travels west to Denver. Memphis knocked off New Orleans on Wednesday, but the Grizzlies own an 0-8 record in their last eight games off a victory, while looking to avenge a 12-point setback at Denver in November. The Nuggets have gone backwards of late with three straight losses, while scoring 99 points or less in three of the past four contests.

-- The Rockets will look to join the Warriors as part of the 30-win club with a victory at Phoenix. Houston dropped 142 points in its last trip to the Valley in mid-November, while attempting to win three consecutive games since posting a 14-game hot streak in December. The Suns have been off four days since upsetting the Thunder as eight-point home underdogs, as Phoenix seeks its fourth home victory in five tries.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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