Thursday night saw LaMarcus Aldridge have a career night with 44 points, as NBA fans got a break from an exciting season with just two games on the schedule. Perhaps that light night was to help prepare us all for an epic slate of games for Friday night, as 26 NBA teams hit the hardwood for a whopping 13 games tonight.
If NBA picks are your thing, then you’ve come to the right place, as we’re previewing every game and offer a prediction in case you’re up for putting some money down at a site like SportsBettingOnline.ag.
With that, it’s on to tonight’s NBA action. Here’s who we’ve got and why:
Lakers @ Magic
Los Angeles and Orlando are both in a bad way, as injuries have hit both teams and they’ve combined for just 27 wins on the year. Orlando may have the initial edge with this one being at home, but Pau Gasol has been on a tear lately and Orlando is still without center Nikola Vukevic (concussion). Expect a lot of offense and the Lakers to squeak it out.
Pick: Lakers 112, Magic 107
Raptors @ 76ers
Toronto has been a different team ever since they traded away Rudy Gay, while Philly hasn’t been able to figure things out on the defensive end all season. Philly should look to control the pace with an up-tempo feel, but if they can’t I expect Kyle Lowry to control this one and get the Raptors two games over .500.
Pick: Raptors 106, 76ers 101
Spurs @ Hawks
San Antonio is dynamite at home and solid on the road, but if ever they’re going to domb, it could be tonight. Kawhi Leonard is out for up to four weeks with a broken hand and the Hawks are a slightly underrated test. Atlanta is pretty under-manned with injuries to Pero Antic and Demarre Carroll, though, so the Spurs get the nod here.
Pick: Spurs 97, Hawks 90
Thunder @ Celtics
Boston has been much more competitive than anyone expected this year, while the recent return of star point guard Rajon Rondo certainly won’t hurt their efforts. Still, even with Rondo and this one being at home, the Celtics are no match for the red-hot Thunder. Kevin Durant is on a furious rage, averaging over 40 points per game in his last five contests. He should have his way tonight in a win.
Pick: Thunder 106, Celtics 89
Bucks @ Cavaliers
Milwaukee is headed straight for the lottery and the Cavs don’t really know their true identity quite yet. The trade for Luol Deng will help them figure it out eventually, though. For tonight, you have to side with Kyrie Irving and the Cavs, as they’re at home and Milwaukee is just a hot mess.
Pick: Cavs 99, Bucks 94
Pelicans @ Pistons
Detroit and New Orleans are closely matched in record and defensive effort. This game should offer little defense and a good amount of points, while the Pistons should be slightly favored at home. They’re also much healthier, so I’m giving Detroit the nod.
Pick: Pistons 104, Pelicans 102
Mavericks @ Nets
The Nets are old, have a rookie head coach and are under .500 for the season. You could have fooled us in 2014, though, as they’ll aim for their ninth win in 10 games for the new seasons. They’re working hard to get back to .500, and while they won’t get it done before the All-Star break, they could be one step closer after tonight. This one being on their home court surely doesn’t hurt, either.
Pick: Nets 96, Mavericks 94
Bobcats @ Knicks
New York has battled back and seemingly is any game they decide to show up and play in. Unfortunately, they’ve been marred by injuries and big man Andre Bargnani can be added to the list thanks to an awful dunk attempt. It’s hard to bet against the Knicks at the Garden, though, and I won’t start with their opponent being the inconsistent Bobcats, who are also without Kemba Walker.
Pick: Knicks 97, Bobcats 90
Clippers @ Bulls
L.A. is without Chris Paul but they just got J.J. Redick back and Darren Collison is holding the fort down just fine. Chicago plays hard every night and can give the Clips trouble with their defense, but I just can’t see them shutting down Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
Pick: Clippers 111, Bulls 90
Grizzlies @ Rockets
Memphis is getting healthier at the right time with center Marc Gasol back in the fold, but a road trip to take on Dwight Howard and the Rockets probably isn’t the desired contest on Friday night. This one should be close if Gasol can impact Memphis’ defense, but ultimately Houston has the upper hand at home.
Pick: Rockets 101, Grizzlies 97
Wizards @ Suns
Phoenix has been awesome despite many expecting them to be awful this year, and they’ve even continued on their stellar play without Eric Bledsoe. Washington is pretty shaky overall, too, despite all being improved, and it’s hard to see them coming in and beating the Suns in Phoenix tonight. Look for the Suns to earn their 25th win of the year.
Pick: Suns 108, Wizards 104
Pacers @ Kings
The last time these two teams faced off it ended badly. The Kings have a much better chance of getting the upper hand with tonight’s game in Sac-town, but with no Rudy Gay or DeMarcus Cousins, those chances aren’t very good.
Pick: Pacers 104, Kings 86
Timberwolves @ Warriors
Everyone knows Golden State is a tough out at home, but things could get a little interesting if both David Lee and Andrew Bogut (questionable) can’t go. That would offer little resistance to Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic down low, and would make it awfully hard to the Warriors to get the home win.
Pick: Timberwolves 113, Warriors 109