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Thursday, April 6

   by Larry Ness - 04/06/2006

With one swing of the bat, Ken Griffey Jr moved past two Yankee greats last night. Junior's solo HR in the Reds' 8-6 win over the Cubs was the 537th of his career, giving him sole possession of 12th-place on the all-time HR list. "The Mick" has 536.

The RBI was the 1,538th of his career, moving him out of a tie for 31st he had shared with Joe "D". It wasn't a good day for the current Yankees either, as the A's won 9-4, to take two of the three games in the series.

My free play for Thursday is on the Tor Blue Jays over the Min Twins at 7:05 ET. Tonight in the NBA, I'm looking to continue my 8-1 run (since Mar 28) with my 20* TV GOY. Don't miss it as I'm 6-1 on 20* plays or higher since the All Star break. In MLB, I'm releasing my first Las Vegas Insider Play of the year and another 15* "Best of the Best" (off to a 2-1 start after a tough one-run loss last night with the Pirates.

Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins didn't need any late-inning dramatics yesterday, as his doubled in his first at-bat last night against the Cardinals. Rollins has now hit in 38 consecutive games, one shy of the longest hitting streak since Paul Molitor's 39-game streak with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1987. The ML record is of course held by DiMaggio (56) but the NL record is held by Willie Keeler, who hit in 45 straight games in '96 and '97. That's 1896 and 1897!

News flash! The White Sox lost to the Indians yesterday afternoon (4-3 in 11 innings) and have dropped below .500 for the first time since August 20, 2004. How the mighty have fallen! Remember when an Atlanta/LA Dodgers series was a battle of the pitching staffs? The Braves and Dodgers completed a three-game series last night in LA with all three games being decided by one run. However, Atlanta had 34 hits while scoring 24 runs, with the Dodgers getting 39 hits and scoring 23 runs!

The Giants won 3-1 in San Diego last night over the Padres, with Bonds getting on base three times without a hit. Barry was booed at every plate appearance but will likely hear nothing but cheers this afternoon, as the Giants play their home opener against the Atlanta Braves on WTBS at 4:05 ET.

While that's the only game on TV, there are eight other games on the MLB card. Pedro makes his 2006 debut for the Mets at 7:10 ET against the Nationals and former-Met, Kris Benson (now with the Orioles), makes his season debut as Baltimore hosts Tampa Bay at 7:05 ET. No confirmation yet but hopefully, Benson's wife Anna will be throwing out the first pitch!

The Spurs got beat at home last night by the Kings, dropping the Spurs 2 1/2 games behind the Pistons for the league's best overall record and leaving them just two games up on the Mavs in the Southwest (and the Western Conf) with seven games remaining for both teams. The Bulls (winners of four straight and six of seven) beat the 76ers in Phiily last night and moved a half-game ahead of the slumping Sixers (have now lost 12 of 16) for the East's final playoff spot.

The Knicks ended their nine-game losing streak by winning just their seventh game in their last 40, with a 96-94 home win over the Cavs. Cleveland had won nine straight, the second-longest active winning streak behind the Nets. The Blazers ended the league's longest active losing streak last night (11 straight) with a 76-75 win over the Rockets. Portland is just 4-25 since Feb 4 and the Rockets lost their 10th game in their last 13 (are 5-23 TY without T-Mac).

The T-wolves did it again, losing their 13th straight on the road, 101-99 in Atlanta. Minnesota has now lost 26 of its last 29 games on the road! The Pacers ended a five-game losing streak by beating the Raptors 111-103, leaving the Raptors with a six-game losing streak. Golden State's 114-109 OT loss to New Orleans also leaves the Warriors with a six-game losing streak, which is now the longest active losing streak in the league after both the Knicks and Blazers won.

Tonight's three-game NBA schedule features a TNT doubleheader (Pistons/Heat and Lakers/Nuggets) plus the Nets hosting the Bobcats.

The Nets are favored by 11 points (total is 193 1/2) in the 7:35 ET start. New Jersey's 13-game winning streak ties a franchise-high and matches Dallas for the longest winning streak this year. The Nets have held their 13 'victims' to an average of 82 PPG and 40 percent from the field in going 9-3-1 ATS during the streak. New Jersey has won 23 of its last 26 in the Meadowlands and faces a Charlotte team that is just 6-31 on the road this year.

Miami hosts Detroit at 8:05 ET and is favored by one point (189). Detroit has the East's best record wrapped up and should soon clinch the overall home court advantage, while Miami may be worried about the hard-charging Nets, who are just 3 1/2 games behind the Heat. Detroit is 26-9 over its last 35 games but just 12-22-1 ATS, including 4-12-1 on the road. Since beating Detroit on Feb 12 (100-98), Miami is 19-5 SU but just 9-15 ATS.

The Lakers visit Denver to play the Nuggets at 10:35 ET. The Nuggets lead the Jazz by 5 1/2 games in the Northwest Division with just eight games to go, so will undoubtedly win their first division crown since 1987-88. However, the Nuggets limp into this game having lost four of five, while the Lakers come in having won six of seven (only loss was to the Spurs). While Denver is favored by four points (206), LA has won 15 of the last 18 meetings, including both this year.

Ness Notes is available Monday through Friday by 1:00 ET.

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