Kevin Durant’s second Suns game is coming in Chicago

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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 01: Kelly Oubre Jr #12 of the Charlotte Hornets guards Kevin Durant #35 of the Phoenix Suns during the third quarter of their game at Spectrum Center on March 01, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: The user expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and or using this image, the user accepts the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

What can Kevin Durant do in his second game with the Phoenix Suns?

Durant scored 23 points on 66% shooting Wednesday as the Suns beat the Hornets by 14. The game was the team’s first with Durant on the court and it went well – although it should have gone well. Phoenix is ​​a title contender and Charlotte is one of the worst teams in the league.

The Suns will get a slightly tougher test on Friday night against the Bulls in Chicago. Phoenix is ​​a 5.5-point favorite over the Bulls at BetMGM as Chicago has won three of its last four games to get to 29-34.

The Bulls need a win to stay in the thick of the playoff race. Chicago enters the game 1.5 games back of the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets for the 9th and 10th spots in the Eastern Conference. Phoenix, meanwhile, is in fourth place in the West but just four games ahead of 11th place in the conference and three games back of third place.

The margin of error for the Suns is slim to none as they get Durant into the team. Phoenix can’t afford to slip up as it focuses on home court in the first round of the playoffs.

Nine more NBA games

After only four games on Thursday night there are 10 NBA games on Thursday. ESPN’s doubleheader features the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) before the Memphis Grizzlies visit the Denver Nuggets.

The Celtics are 10.5 point favorites and currently sit a half game back of the Milwaukee Bucks for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and the best record in the NBA. The Bucks have the same number of wins as the Celtics but have one less loss.

The Nuggets are a 5.5 point favorite over a Grizzlies team that is just 12-18 on the road. Denver is 28-4 at Ball Arena and can extend its lead over Memphis in the West to six games with a win.

The lines closest to the night both reveal some of their favorite roads. The Utah Jazz are 1.5 point favorites over the Oklahoma City Thunder while the Minnesota Timberwolves are 1.5 point favorites over a Lakers team that will be without LeBron James for the next few weeks.

Jon Rahm is a favorite at Bay Hill

Jon Rahm was +650 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational before the tournament. After shooting an opening 65 and holding a two-shot lead over three players at 5 under, Rahm is now an incredible +140 to hold onto the lead.

Rahm has been the best player on the planet so far in 2023 with three wins in five starts. Rahm has not finished lower than seventh so far this year and his lowest finish in seven PGA Tour starts in the 2022-23 season is eighth.

There’s also a big gap between Rahm and everyone else on the board. Scottie Scheffler is three shots back of Rahm and is the No. 2 favorite at +850. Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele each also shot 68 in the first round and are at +1200.

The composition of the board of directors could change significantly on Friday. High winds are expected to wreak havoc at Bay Hill and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the overall scores on the leaderboard at the end of the day looking similar or worse than they are now.

Conference championships continue

The betting action starts early in men’s college basketball on Friday. The first conference championship game of the day tips off at Noon ET when Charleston Southern plays UNC Asheville. The final game of the day will begin shortly before midnight when Pacific will play San Francisco in the West Coast Conference championship.

Who bought tickets on Thursday?

The Golden State Warriors outscored the Los Angeles Clippers in the third quarter en route to an easy victory and a sweep Thursday night. The Clippers had an 11-point lead at halftime before Golden State outscored LA 42-16 in the third.

The San Antonio Spurs beat the Pacers 110-99 as 5.5-point home underdogs while the Mavericks covered at home against the Sixers and the Wizards easily beat the Birds prey like small domestic dogs.

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