A massive Friday of hoops to round out the working week and our NBA picks have selected the best five games of the night to bring you some winners!
Today we have the Pacers and Jazz kick off the action with an early afternoon game and Indiana come in with the much better form but will that translate to a win? Can the Clippers roll into Philadelphia and collect their eighth straight win, even if Kawhi doesn’t play?
We have all of the answers for you below, so don’t miss out on our NBA picks for Friday, April 16th!
Indiana Pacers @ Utah Jazz – 3PM ET
The Utah Jazz are out of form and out of sync at the moment, going just 2-4 over their last six games, but have to focus up and switch into gear as they host the Indiana Pacers tonight! Utah’s lead on the West is getting smaller and smaller as the days go on and their opponents for tonight are trending in the other direction.
Indiana have won four of their last five games and have won each of their last four games on the road too. While Nate Bjorkgren won’t be happy with their effort on the defensive end, the Pacers still left Houston with a 132-124 win. They are absolutely humming on offense, averaging 126.2 points per game over their last five with their new ‘big 3’ leading the way.
Wednesday night saw Caris LeVert score a team high 27 points while Domantas Sabonis added 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists however the player of the night was Malcolm Brogdon. Indiana’s playmaker was just one assist shy of a big triple double, finishing with 23 points and team highs of 14 rebounds and nine assists, all with just one turnover.
Caris LeVert last 7 games
Pacers are 5-2 in that stretch 🔥 pic.twitter.com/vdYS1IlwlU
— RD 🇨🇦 (@NorthsidePace) April 15, 2021
Indiana rolls into town and seems like they will be tough competition for the Jazz but the fact that this one is in Utah still gives them the edge. While their home winning streak may have been broken earlier in the week, the Jazz are still 25-3 at home and have had the ability to give their players some extra rest over their back to back set to start the week, whilst having an extra day to prepare for this.
Utah’s last game was Tuesday evening, a 106-96 win over the lowly Thunder. The 10 point margin is OKC’s smallest over their current eight game losing streak, highlighting Utah’s poor form. They were without Royce O’Neal and Joe Ingles, both due to rest, for that clash, but ultimately they were just too good for the Thunder. Both Donovan Mitchell and Bojan Bogdanovic scored over 20 while Rudy Gobert was the pick of the rest with 13 points, 14 rebounds and a massive seven blocks.
Utah should simply just win this game, but there is an emphasis on the should. They obviously aren’t playing at their best right now, but could get an added boost of Jordan Clarkson returning to his role off the bench after a four game absence. They are the better team in this game, but Indiana has all of the form and can easily give them a run for their money.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Philadelphia 76ers – 7PM ET
The matchup of the night as two Championship hopefuls face off when Philadelphia hosts the Clippers at 7pm ET. The Sixers were lucky to escape with a win after a late collapse against Brooklyn on Wednesday while the Clippers won their seventh straight game in Detroit.
All of their regular starters sat out due to rest or pre-existing injuries on the second night of a back to back on Wednesday but LA didn’t need them, leaving Detroit with a 100-98 win. Reggie Jackson benefited most from the increased responsibility, finishing with a game high 29 points while both Luke Kennard and Ivica Zubac had double doubles.
The positive is that Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr are confirmed starters for this marquee matchup however Kawhi Leonard, who has missed the last four, is still just questionable. Looking at the injury room for the Sixers, Tobias Harris, who has been battling some knee soreness lately, is also just questionable.
Harris managed 26 points, five boards and two blocks in Philly’s 123-117 win over Brooklyn while Joel Embiid continued his MVP campaign with 39 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. However, Doc Rivers can’t be happy after the Sixers allowed Brooklyn to go on a 21-2 run in the fourth quarter despite Kyrie Irving sitting on the pine with James Harden and Kevin Durant being in street clothes.
If both Harris and Leonard miss, LA has proven to be able to cover the absence of a star better than the Sixers, but Philadelphia are an East-leading 21-5 at home and have Embiid on the inside. How LA deals with that big issue is anyone’s guess, especially with Serge Ibaka on the sidelines. Could this be another game Philly’s big man can use in his MVP case at the end of the season?
Charlotte Hornets @ Brooklyn Nets – 7:30PM ET
The most talked about team in the league returns home for a matchup with the struggling and depleted Hornets tonight. Charlotte is missing multiple starters and, while they managed to stay afloat to begin with, three straight losses are not the sort of lead up you want to take into a game against one of the best teams in the league.
Brooklyn have been managing injuries and load management throughout the season with the Championship the only goal and expectation for the team, but it may have cost them a win and the one seed in the East. Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia saw Kevin Durant sit out due to rest and Kyrie Irving sit the final 8:39 of the game despite Brooklyn cutting the Sixers’ lead to just three points at one stage.
He still managed 37 points and nine assists for the game and along with Durant, looks good to go against the Hornets tonight. However, they may not need them as Charlotte is playing pretty average basketball right now, losing in Atlanta before home losses to the depleted Lakers and underperforming Cavaliers.
Kyrie’s handle is elite 😯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 15, 2021
Terry Rozier has stepped up as the leader of the team in the absence of LaMelo Ball and Gordan Hayward, putting up 22 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and four steals in their 90-103 loss to the Cavs. Despite making more threes and having fewer turnovers, the Hornets continued to struggle on offense and that is not a good thing to be doing ahead of a matchup with the number three ranked offense.
Given the Nets will have two of their big three playing, while Charlotte is missing two of their top three players, this should be a pretty straightforward home win for Brooklyn. Durant and Irving will be the best two players on the court and with the Nets’ new additions, despite unfortunately losing LaMarcus Aldridge to a heart condition, they have too much fire power across the board.
Portland Trail Blazers @ San Antonio Spurs – 8:30PM ET
A pair of struggling Western Conference teams face off with massive seeding implications on the line. Portland, who are sixth in the West, have dropped four of their last five games and are now just one game ahead of the Mavs in seventh, which is play-in territory. San Antonio has been out of form too, losing six of their last eight games, falling to 10th in the West and just two games ahead of 11th, out of the playoffs entirely.
The Spurs ended their five game road trip with a 112-117 loss to the struggling Raptors, despite having a fully healthy rotation and Toronto missing multiple key players. Derrick White was the top scorer for the team with 25 points while DeMar DeRozan had a 19 point, 11 assists double double, but their defense was the issue.
The Spurs gave up 46% shooting from both the floor and from deep whilst also having more turnovers for the game, something they can’t do against the Blazers, no matter how bad they are playing at the moment. Damian Lillard had another sub 40% shooting game on Tuesday night, something that is becoming a regular in Portland’s losses.
Despite a fourth quarter surge, the Blazers fell short of the Celtics, losing 115-116 at home. Even though he shot terribly from the field, Lillard was the clear best player for Portland with 28 points, 10 assists and four rebounds while Carmelo Anthony had a throwback game off the bench, scoring 25 points on 10/15 shooting.
The sides have already met once this season, a San Antonio 21 point win in Portland. Being at home for their second clash might normally seem like a positive but the Spurs have actually been playing better on the road this season while the Blazers are 15-11 on the road. It is impossible to know which versions of these inconsistent teams will rock up but Portland have Lillard, who was considered as an MVP contender just weeks ago, and he should be able to turn things around for his side.
New York Knicks @ Dallas Mavericks – 9:30PM ET
We round out the nightly NBA picks with a pair of teams that are in the middle of the road in their respective conferences and need all the wins that they can get down the stretch. The Knicks have been the surprise story out East, exceeding expectations and come into this one on the back of a four game winning streak.
Three wins at home were expected but a 116-106 win in New Orleans was a pleasant surprise for Knicks fans, given their road struggles throughout the season. Julius Randle had his usual great, all around game with 32 points, eight rebounds and five assists, shooting 5/8 from deep in the game.
The team shot 17/33 (51.5%) from deep against a Pelicans’ defense that lacks urgency at times, something that can also be said for Dallas at times. The Mavs have allowed 113+ in three straight games and were some Luka-magic away from losing all three of those games.
🚨 MAGICAL LUKA GAME-WINNER! 🚨
— NBA (@NBA) April 15, 2021
Trailing by two with seconds remaining, Luka Doncic heaved an awkward, three point floater that found the bottom of the net, handing Dallas the 114-113 win in Memphis. The 22 year old phenom finished with 29 points, nine assists and two steals for the game while Kristaps Porzingis had 21 points and six boards.
While there are some big names, as mentioned above, in this game, it may come down to the bench mobs for both sides. Alec Burks had 21 off the bench for the Knicks last time out while Jalen Brunson had a near triple double off the bench for the Mavs, finishing with eight points, eight boards and nine assists.
The Knicks definitely has the better form of late, but when these sides met just two weeks ago the Mavs escaped New York with a 13 point win. They get home now and seem to have more of an urgency to win right now and that is where we are going for this clash.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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