Truth is you only have to go back nine months or so to witness the Toronto Raptors beating the Golden State Warriors in six games in the 2019 NBA Finals … geez, doesn’t that now feel like it happened years ago?

It’s safe to say that this here-and-now G-State Warriors’ squad doesn’t at all resemble the team that captured three championships and played in five consecutive NBA Finals between 2015-19 – no more Kevin Durant (hello, Brooklyn), no rehabbing Stephen Curry and no still-injured Klay Thompson.

The stress and strain of playing all those extra post-season games the past five-plus seasons really wore out the Warriors – but don’t believe for a minute that the “window has closed” for Steve Kerr’s club: The Dubs could be a major menace in the 2020-21 campaign, really.

Still, this first Thursday night in March is reserved for the here-and-now happening teams as the TNT folks bring us an uber-captivating game in the opener – that’s the Los Angeles Clippers at the Houston Rockets — and that’s followed by an NBA Finals “rematch” (we know that’s stretching it!) between the defending champion Toronto Raptors at the new-and-not-so-improved GS Warriors.

Hey, there’s Side & Totals to be won here, so remember this …

Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep beating the Las Vegas and offshore books with more College Basketball and NBA winners. So, let’s cash in big all this week right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Just keep rollin’ in the profits with Jim Hurley – America’s #1 Handicapper!


Here’s what is on the NBA docket on this first Thursday in the merry month of March:

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (42-19) at HOUSTON (39-21) – 8 p.m. ET, TNT

Major NBA Western Conference hoedown here in Space City and remember the last time the Clippers travelled to “H-Town” they lost 102-93 way back on Nov. 13th. Now, Doc Rivers’ crew zooms into town sporting a five-game SU (straight-up) winning streak and looking to ride Kawhi Leonard / Lou Williams to the winner’s circle. P.S., Houston is fresh off back-to-back barnburners – the 111-110 overtime win in Boston last Saturday night (a Jim Hurley winner!) and then the 125-123 loss at New York on Monday. Neither James Harden nor Russell Westbrook could hit the clutch shots late in that latter affair at Madison Square Garden … will they make ‘em here?

Spread Notes – The LA Clippers have covered four of their last five games but note they’ve failed to cover all three of their head-to-head matchups with Houston this season. The Rockets, meanwhile, are 31-29 versus the vig this hoops season and that includes a solid 9-6 ATS run in home games since Dec. 28th.

TORONTO (43-18) at GOLDEN STATE (14-48) – 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT

Say this for the Toronto Raptors: They haven’t missed a beat this year while playing without above-mentioned Clipper Kawhi Leonard – heck, Nick Nurse’s squad sports six guys averaging 16 points-or-more per game with All-Star Pascal Siakam (23.7 ppg) leading the way but can the North-of-the-Border crew cover a hefty road price tag here? Note the last time Toronto was a big away fav it failed to cover the 9.5-point price in Cleveland … see Raptors 115, Cavaliers 109 back on Jan. 30th.

The Warriors – sitting in the NBA’s Western Conference basement this year – do come off Tuesday’s rather stunning 116-100 win in Denver where the Nuggets were 16.5-point betting favorites. Yow-ie!

Spread Notes – Toronto is a respectable 33-27-1 ATS this hoops season and note the Raptors are 10-6-1 spreadwise away since mid-December. On the flip side, Golden State’s 28-33-1 versus the vig – better than you thought, right? – but the Warriors have failed to cover six of their last nine games.


Here’s more from this week’s College Basketball mini-tournies – there’s Southern Conference Tournament action that starts up Friday and Colonial Conference, the Summit League and Sun Belt Conference action that tips off Saturday …


At Asheville, NC

Most “bracketologists” have Southern Conference top seed East Tennessee State penciled in as a #10 or #11 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament – even if the Buccaneers don’t win this mini-tourney. Still, we’d advise ETSU not to take any chances and we’d be shocked if the Bucs fell short of at least getting into the championship game with the one-two punch of guards Tray Boyd III (13.6 ppg) and Bo Hodges (13.2 ppg) leading the way.

The Favorite: East Tennessee State

The Dark Horse: Chattanooga

Pointspread Note: The league’s best spread side is Chattanooga (19-10 ATS) and the worst is Samford (8-20)


At Washington, DC

No doubt about it: Playing this Colonial Tournament in the D.C. / Virginia areas is a major advantage to the local schools …and a big disadvantage here to Long Island-based Hofstra, the league’s regular-season champ at 14-4 SU. So, notice we’ve installed William & Mary (13-5 SU in Colonial play) as “The Favorite” here.

The Favorite: William & Mary

The Dark Horse: Delaware

Pointspread Note: Hofstra’s scintillating 22-and-8 spread record is far-and-away the best in the Colonial Conference and note the Pride heads into this mini-tourney having covered nine of its last 10 games.

SUMMIT LEAGUE – Sat-thru-Tues

At Sioux Falls, SD

Could have flipped a coin as to whom the “favorite” is here as our choice – North Dakota State – sports a slew of quality three-point shooters that could make the difference in a potential title tilt against South Dakota State … NDSU’s G Vinnie Shahid has drilled 74 trifectas this year.

The Favorite: North Dakota State

The Dark Horse: Nebraska-Omaha

Pointspread Note: South Dakota State is a league-best 20-9 ATS this season and that features an 11-4 spread log since the start of January

SUN BELT CONFERENCE – Sat / Mon / Wed / Sat (Mar. 14) / Sun (Mar. 15)

There’s only gonna be one bid from this league when it comes to NCAA Tourney time and – we submit – that either #1 seed Little Rock or #2 seed South Alabama will be cutting down the nets in the end. A player-to-watch here? Set your orbs on Little Rock G Markquis Nowell who averages a team-high 17.2 ppg and shoots 40 percent from “3”.

The Favorite: Little Rock

The Dark Horse: Georgia Southern

Pointspread Note: Little Rock is 20-10 spreadwise and Arkansas State is 18-10 ATS … not bad investments at all this hoops season.

NOTE: We’ve got NBA and NCAA Basketball coverage all this week right here at Jim Sez – so don’t miss out and make sure you’re rollin’ up all the winners at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com.