Dallas opened as a 1.5-point home favorite on NBA odds against San Antonio with a total of 203.5, while Golden State is -12 at sportsbooks with a total of 213.5 for sports bettors vs. visiting Denver in the nightcap.
Spurs at Mavericks
San Antonio (43-35 ATS, 42-35-1 O/U at sportsbooks) will have the top overall seed in the playoffs and has no reason to put forth much effort until then. Need proof of that? Witness the Spurs' half-hearted 110-91 loss in Minnesota on Tuesday night. San Antonio point guard Tony Parker tweaked his back in Sunday's win over Memphis and didn't travel to Minnesota, and he won't be in Dallas. That's just fine with the Mavericks. Cory Joseph likely will start again for Parker and Patty Mills also would pick up extra minutes.
Coach Gregg Popovich could easily rest the other two of his Big 3, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, on Thursday because the Spurs are then back home Friday night against Phoenix. So San Antonio will definitely have a say whether the Mavericks and/or Suns claim one of the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference. Duncan played only 20 minutes Tuesday and Ginobili suffered a minor calf contusion. That's all the reason Pop needs to sit him -- the NBA can't give him grief for doing so in a national TV game if Manu is actually hurt.
The Mavericks (43-36 ATS, 43-36 O/U) could conceivably clinch a playoff spot with a win -- if Memphis lost at home to Miami on Wednesday -- after missing out on the postseason a year ago. Dallas enters on a four-game winning streak, all coming on the road. Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points in Tuesday's 95-83 win in Utah and jumped to No. 10 on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
The Spurs are 3-0 against Dallas this season and have won eight straight against their Texas rivals, three in a row in Big D. Parker is averaging 23.3 points this year against Dallas. Duncan 18.0 points and 11.7 rebounds. The Spurs are averaging 113.3 points in the three wins this season and have seven players averaging double-digit points vs. Dallas. Monta Ellis leads Dallas in averaging 20.3 points against San Antonio in 2013-14. Nowitzki is at 18.3 ppg.
Nuggets at Warriors
Golden State (37-37-3 ATS, 30-45-2 O/U at sportsbooks) can't clinch a playoff berth with a win against Denver but nearly so. The Warriors got a bit of a break from the schedule-makers in that they have been off since winning 130-102 against Utah on Sunday. That will help heal some guys up. However, this one starts a stretch of five games in seven nights. The Warriors are currently No. 6 in the West and could finish anywhere from No. 5-8 (or technically out if they don't win again).
Warriors forward David Lee has missed six straight games with a nerve/hamstring problem and did participate in some of practice Wednesday but is not expected to play. Just a few days ago, Coach Mark Jackson said the issue would keep Lee out indefinitely and that he might not even be ready for the playoffs. Draymond Green will continue to start with Lee out. He's averaging a solid 9.5 points and 7.3 rebounds this month.
While the Warriors might be able to win a playoff series without Lee -- he's terrible defensively -- they won't without center Andrew Bogut. He returned from a four-game absence Sunday and had 11 rebounds in 23 minutes against the Jazz. With all due respect to Stephen Curry (another terrible defender), Bogut might be the Warriors' most important player because of his defense and rebounding.
Denver (20-19 ATS, 20-19 O/U on road) will miss the playoffs for the first time since going 17-65 in 2002-03. After losing Andre Iguodala (to the Warriors) and Coach George Karl this past offseason, plus Danilo Gallinari not playing a minute after more knee surgery, it's not surprising the team will sit out the postseason. The Nuggets hosted Houston on Wednesday night without their best remaining player, point guard Ty Lawson. He's dealing with an ankle injury, and Coach Brian Shaw has hinted Lawson might not play again this season. Wilson Chandler probably won't either.
Golden State and Denver have split two meetings this season, each winning on the other's court. Lee is averaging 28.0 points and 10.5 boards in the two. Curry 19.0 ppg. The top four leading scorers for the Nuggets this season against Golden State won't play in this one because of injury or that they are no longer with the team.
NBA parlay picks: Mavericks -1.5 on NBA odds and Nuggets-Warriors over 213.5 points. That would payout around +245 on a parlay with Dallas approximately -125 on the moneyline at that number. The motivated Mavericks should roll over a disinterested Spurs club. Golden State will score at will against a bad Nuggets defense and a team in the second of a back-to-back. The over has hit in eight of the Warriors' past 10 against teams with a losing record.