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NBA West: Warriors, Thunder and Lakers in Action Today

We should get some exciting games out West in the Association today as some of the conference’s powerhouses take the floor against one another. The Thunder will look to lay claim to the West’s top spot in the standings as it they visit Portland, the Lakers will attempt to get things back on track against the Cavs and the surging Nuggets will have a tough test at home against the surprise Warriors. Here’s a look at the spreads and the matchups today.

Minnesota Timberwolves +12 at San Antonio Spurs -12

The Spurs have once again quietly put together a fine season so far, getting off to a 28-11 start, which is currently good for third place in the West and first place in the Southwest Division. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves’ injury woes continued as Kevin Love  re-fractured his right hand–an injury that will keep him out 8-10 weeks.

When you add in San Antonio’s 15-2 home record to the mix, the 12-point spread is certainly warranted, but the Timberwolves have continued to right hard and compete in games without their best players all season, so I expect them to keep things close in what will most likely be a losing effort. Take Minnesota to cover +12 here.

Look for the Thunder to roll into Portland and get a W

Oklahoma City Thunder -5 at Portland Trail Blazers +5

With the Clippers loss to the Magic on Saturday night, the Thunder have a chance to climb atop the top of the Western Conference standings with a road win today against the surging Trail Blazers, which have won seven of their last 10 and are 13-4 at home this season.

The Thunder are coming off a nice road win against the undermanned Lakers on Friday, but will face a tougher challenge, today–though it will be one they should be able to handle. After all, OKC has handled just about every team they have faced so far, including Portland, which it defeated in Oklahoma City 106-29 on Nov. 2. The Blazers are playing better ball since then, but I like the Thunder to cover -5 in this one.

Even the Cavs will likely give LA a hard time

Cleveland Cavaliers +8 at Los Angeles Lakers -8

Just when it looked like the Lakers were starting to figure things out, they went on a nasty six-game skid, one in which they will try to put an end to tonight as they host one of the NBA’s worst teams, the Cleveland Cavs.

You would like to think that the Lakers could easily dispose of the nine-win Cavs, but with Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard still out, it becomes a lot tougher. However, Cleveland will also be without its man in the middle, Anderson Varejao, so that may even the playing field a bit.

Unfortunately, the Lakers handed the Cavs one of those nine wins back on Dec. 11, as they fell to Cleveland 100-96. I do think they can bounce back, especially at home and beat a Varejao-less Cavs team, but don’t expect it to be pretty and certainly don’t think for a second that the Lakers will cover eight points. The fact is they can’t beat any NBA team by more than eight points right now, so take Cleveland to cover +8 in the loss.

Golden State Warriors +6 at Denver Nuggets -6

The Nuggets are another club that has gotten hot recently and has remained downright stingy against visitors. Denver is 13-2 on its home floor and is currently riding a four-game winning streak, but it will certainly be tested as the Warriors come into town as one of the conference’s biggest surprises this season.

Golden State is a winner of five of its last seven, but did lose against the Nuggets at home earlier this season. I like the hot team in this one, which also happens to be the home team. Take Denver to cover -6 and extend its streak to five games.

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