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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, April 8, 2016 at 9:43 AM



Say this about the NBA: There's always some sort of drama as we head down the home stretch of the regular season and this 2015-16 campaign is no exception.

In fact, tonight's uber-busy card - there's 10 games in all - includes only a couple of games without any real post-season significance in terms of playoff seeds, home court advantage, etc. and so let's zip 'round the league and get you some quick-hitter previews/comments from some of the more important showdowns:

Tonight, it's ...
BROOKLYN (21-57) at CHARLOTTE (45-33) - 7:05 p.m. ET
The playoff-bound Hornets entered last night's action sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference but only a mere one full game back of the third seed and so G Kemba Walker (34 points in 111-97 win/cover at 4.5-point underdog New York the other night) and friends have lots to fight for in this next-to-last home game of the year. Note Charlotte's in Washington come Monday night and in Boston on Tuesday before wrapping up regular-season play Wednesday at home versus Orlando.

WASHINGTON (38-40) at DETROIT (42-37) - 7:35 p.m. ET
Maybe the best thing you can say about the Pistons is they never quit on the season: The Motowners suffered through a painful five-game losing streak in February and yet Stan Van Gundy's club is closing here with a flourish (see eight wins in its last 11 games) and tonight G Reggie Jackson (24 points in 108-104 upset win in Orlando this past Wednesday) and Company eyeballs catching Indiana at #7 so as to avoid that first-round playoff series with LeBron James and Cleveland. Note that Detroit's covered nine of its last 13 home games against the Wizards.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers/Bloggers are hitting their stride these days in pro hoops and we'll be cashing in big with the NBA and with Major-League Baseball too each and every day this month. Just go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 and we'll send you straight into the winner's circle.
Remember: The NBA Playoffs will begin on Saturday, April 16th.

In other NBA games tonight, it's ...

MEMPHIS (42-36) at DALLAS (40-38) - 8:35 p.m. ET, NBA Network
Don't look now but the Dallas Mavericks own the longest current winning streak in the league at five in a row and this past Wednesday's rollicking 88-86 triumph against 1.5-point road favorite Houston was the Mavs' biggest win of the year ... bar none. Dallas owns a two-game lead in the loss column against the aforementioned Rockets with just four games to play and another superstar showing here by guard J.J. Barea (27 points including 10-of-16 FG makes and four triples in all against the Rockets two nights ago) would help matters. Note the Mavs are a better-than-you-think 43-34-1 ATS (against the spread) this season.

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (50-28) at UTAH (39-39) - 9:05 p.m. ET
Okay, so we won't "bury the lead" here as the playoff-hopeful Utah Jazz are the real story but can we at least say it's rather amazing the Clippers have played .641 ball despite all the drama, all the injuries and all the shenanigans surrounding this LA team ... wow, hats off to head coach Doc Rivers for getting this club to locking down the #4 seed out West. Meanwhile, the Jazz enter this home tilt right now on the inside-looking-out at a playoff berth (Utah holds the #8 seed at press time) and it's hoping the return to the lineup of G Alec Burks will help - he's missed a whopping 49 games with an ankle injury. Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood likely need to combine for 50 points here for the Jazz to mark this in the "W" column and note that recent pointspread results have gone in Utah's favor in this rivalry ... the Clips are just 10-23-1 ATS in their last 34 head-to-head matchups with the Jazz.


Thanks goodness for a day off ... already!

The San Diego Padres badly needed Thursday off after getting swept and outscored 25-to-0 in that three-game, season-opening home series against National League West rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Pods were slam-dunked 15-0, 3-0 and 7-0 in that three-game set - the first team in MLB history to get shut out in their first three games of a season -- and here's some of the really debilitating stats from that series:

San Diego batters struck out 28 times and walked just twice;

Among the regulars, CF John Jay leads the team in hitting (.250) while the likes of 2B Cory Spangenberg (.091), 1B Will Myers (.182), C Derek Norris (.000) and SS Alexei Ramirez (also .000) are all hitting below - or well-below - the infamous "Mendoza Line" and how about the fact the Padres have one extra-base hit - that's one double - among only 11 hits so far. Hey, SD, maybe you can change your fortunes with a weekend series in hitter-happy Colorado ... if not, you may want to fold up the tent and call it a year!

Lots of fun weekend series on tap but one that's a little more important than you might have thought is the St. Louis Cardinals at the Atlanta Braves ... hey, the Redbirds won 100 games a year ago before getting KO'd in the National League Divisional Series against the Chicago Cubs but right now things are real shaky after St. Loo was swept three straight in Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals - speaking of lack of offensive punch - scored a grand total of seven runs in that three-game set at PNC Park and All-Star 3B Matt Carpenter (1-for-11 with 4 Ks) was a major culprit but now Mike Metheny's crew heads to Atlanta where it's not exactly Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz awaiting 'em on the mound!

NOTE: More NBA goodies plus MLB and NFL Draft News in the coming editions of Jim Sez.

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