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NBA Weekend Specials: Door opens for Spurs as Warriors falter

Fri, Mar 3, 3:00pm by Staff Writer

The Spurs and the Clippers will be hoping to take advantage of the injury to Kevin Durant and claw back some ground in the Western Conference. The Spurs take on the Pelicans, while the Clippers will be looking to put a dent in the Bulls’ playoff hopes. At we give you our thoughts on the weekend hardcourt action.

Spurs @ Pelicans

Smoothie King Centre, New Orleans – Saturday March 4, 1.30pm AEDT

TV: Live on ESPN

The Spurs head to the Smoothie King Centre on the back of a five-game winning streak which has closed their gap to the Warriors in the race for the west to just three games.

They will be confident of beating the Pelicans having dominated clashed between these two teams 41-14 over the past 14 seasons.

Kawhi Leonard is having one of his best seasons in Spurs colours, with 31 points in the one-point win over the Pacers earlier in the week. Leonard became the fourth player in the history of the franchise to have 20 games with 30+ points in a single season.

The Spurs will have to tackle the Pelicans without veteran guard Tony Parker who is suffering from a quad injury. Parker didn’t suit up against the Pacers earlier in the week, his injury opens the door for Aussie Patty Mills to get more court time.

The Pelicans were the talk of the town, with the blockbuster trade for DeMarcus Cousins. They finally found some form with Cousins suspended for the 109-86 win over the Pistons after losing the last three games. Anthony Davis will lead the line for New Orleans, having shot 33 points in that win.

The Spurs are $1.39 favourites for this game, with the Pelicans as outsiders at $3.09

I like the Spurs for this game. They are proven performers over the business end of the season, and the Pelicans have rivalled the Knicks with their dramas over trades. Davis is posting some stellar numbers but I’m expecting the Spurs big men to keep him quiet. I’m tipping the Spurs for the win.

BEST BET: Spurs to win 1-10 – $2.39

Clippers @ Bulls

United Centre, Chicago – Sunday 5 March, 12.30pm AEDT

TV: Live on ESPN

The Bulls caused a massive upset on Friday when they rolled the Warriors, a result which has thrown the Western Conference wide open. But it also capped a run of strong results for the Bulls, who have won five of their past six, including victory over both last year’s finalists in the past week.

They are now 31-30 which puts them seventh in the East, but with some momentum on their side after Jimmy Butler, who had 22 points, led them to their first win over the Warriors in two years. Bobby Portis had a season-high 13 baod as wella s 17 points to provide support.

This is the second of a back-to-back assignment for the Clippers, who play the Bucks the night before. They were smashed by the Rockets during the week and their playoff credentials are firmly in question.

However, Chris Paul has had just three matches back from injury and the Clippers will expect more from him than the 16 points a game he has averaged in that time.

With Blake Griffin and Paul back fully fit and the presence of DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers can turn things around and they did beat the Bulls 102-95 when these two met in LA in November.

The markets haven’t been released yet but expect the Clippers to start warm favourites, with the Bulls as outsiders. We’ll update the markets as soon as they’re released.

The Bulls’ recent heroics may have given their fans some hope, but even back-to-back road game on the road, the Clippers should prove too slick here.

BEST BET: Clippers to win.

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