We are rounding out the working week with five winners for our followers! Our NBA picks are on fire so far, so you don’t want to miss this.
Can the Celtics beat the Nets to get their second win in as many nights after beating Phoenix last night? Can the Warriors end the Nuggets four game winning streak?
Our NBA picks have all of the answers and information you need before placing your bets on a wild Friday of NBA action.
Boston Celtics @ Brooklyn Nets – 7:30PM ET
The Brooklyn Nets return home from a 1-2 road trip to host the Boston Celtics in an Easter Conference showdown between two of the conference’s top six teams. The injury bug has been a massive impact for both teams this season, so it will be interesting to see who actually suits up for the two sides.
Boston found some form against a tired Phoenix side last night, winning 99-86 at home. Kemba Walker had one of his best games for the Celtics with 32 points on 64.7% shooting, helping make up for another poor shooting night from Jayson Tatum. While the two-time All Star finished with 15 points, 11 boards and six assists, he shot just 3/17 from the field and had five turnovers for the game.
That sort of performance won’t cut it against the high octane offense in Brooklyn, especially if Kevin Durant (questionable) is able to return. Durant went down early against the Heat on Sunday with Brooklyn going on to lose that game. Kyrie Irving then led them to victory in New Orleans but the quick backup against Toronto was too much for the Nets to handle.
Right back in the win column 💪 pic.twitter.com/HhVlZ9KKEU
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 23, 2021
Irving had 28 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and the steals in the 103-114 loss but had minimal help from the rest of the starters. Bruce Brown continues to impress whenever he gets his chances, putting up 21 points and 14 points off the bench but ultimately without Durant or Harden, this Brooklyn team will struggle.
With the Celtics playing last night and having to travel for this clash, it puts them at a big disadvantage. Boston is just 13-16 on the road and 5-6 when playing with no rest while Brooklyn is 11-4 when playing with a rest advantage. Given their clash last night, no one knows the status and availability of the likes of Walker, Tatum or Jaylen Brown, so Brooklyn is the clear play in this one.
Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks – 7:30PM ET
The Miami Heat have recaptured some form and will put their three game winning streak on the line against a depleted Atlanta Hawks side tonight. After Jimmy Butler publicly called the team soft over the weekend, Miami have responded as well as they could have and will want to keep the momentum going.
Following home wins over Brooklyn and Houston, the Heat travelled to San Antonio and left with a 107-87 win. Bam Adebayo was the leading scorer for the game for 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals while Tyler Herro had 22 points off the bench. This game was a dominating performance for the Heat, shooting 41.9% from deep while allowing the Spurs to make just 28.6% of their triples.
That sort of defense will go a long way to allowing them to pick up another win here too, with Atlanta being banged up at the moment. Trae Young, who had 20 points and 14 assists, went down with an ankle injury in the Hawks’ 127-137 overtime loss to the Knicks on Wednesday and has been diagnosed with a grade 2 ankle sprain. Clint Capela, who finished with 25 points and 22 rebounds, is also questionable for this after his back tightened up on the flight home from New York.
This is obviously the last thing Atlanta wants as the playoffs are near and the seeding race is as tight as ever. The Hawks may be 3-2 without Young this season but two of their wins were against teams currently out of the playoff picture, something that Miami certainly is not. The Heat are seventh in the East and are just one game behind the Hawks in the standings. This is a massive game and Miami seems more prepared to come out on top.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Houston Rockets – 8PM ET
The Los Angeles Clippers get on the road for a quick three game road trip, kicking it off against the Houston Rockets tonight. LA have picked up three straight ones, playing just the first of those with Kawhi Leonard, while Houston have dropped two straight and seven of their last eight overall.
Wednesday night saw the Rockets fall victim to the Jazz, losing 89-112 at home. John Wall had 21 points and six assists while Christian Wood had 16 points and eight rebounds but the starters shot just 6/31 (19.4%) from deep and couldn’t get enough points on the board against the #4 defense in the league.
No Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Patrick Beverley, Rajon Rondo, Reggie Jackson, or Serge Ibaka… and the Clippers still defeat the Grizzlies.
Luke Kennard and Marcus Morris combine for 53 points on 19-of-25 FG and 10-of-13 3PT in the win. pic.twitter.com/al8hVJTvNm
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 22, 2021
While the Clippers are just 11th in defensive rating for the season, they are in the top five since the All Star break and should be able to shut down this middling, mediocre Houston offense. Their clash on Wednesday night saw them pick up the 117-105 win over the Grizzlies, who had averaged 126 points per game over their last four before that.
Paul George has really come into his own as the leader on this side that is fighting for the top spot in the West, averaging 32 points, seven boards and six assists over the last two weeks. The best bit about their win on Wednesday is that he, among others, sat out due to rest and are expected back for this clash.
The Clippers are good enough to beat just about anybody, let alone a struggling Houston side that they beat by 17 points less than two weeks ago. LA wins this game, it is just a question of how much they win it by…
Denver Nuggets @ Golden State Warriors – 10PM ET
The Denver Nuggets return to the scene of the crime. The place where they lost Jamal Murray to a torn ACL and also where they suffered their most recent defeat. Since a 107-116 loss to the Golden State Warriors last Monday, Denver have come out and won four straight games. The Warriors on the other hand completed a five game road trip, going 3-2 on their travels.
Wednesday night saw an end to Steph Curry’s magnificent shooting and scoring streak. The sharpshooter managed just 18 points on 28% shooting, but added eight assists and seven boards in his side’s 114-118 loss in Washington. Kelly Oubre Jr, in just his second game back from a wrist injury, was the Warriors’ best player with 24 points and nine boards off the bench.
They will be hoping to recapture the form that saw them beat Denver less than two weeks ago and they will certainly need it. The Nuggets have come together well as a team to be able to win four straight games, but it has been taxing. Their most recent performances saw them need double overtime to scrape by Memphis before going down to the wire in Portland on Wednesday
All five starters scored in double figures for the Nuggets but Nikola Jokic was the clear star in the game. The MVP favorite finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists and was the driving force behind their come from behind win, with Denver winning the final frame 24-21.
There is no doubt that Golden State is a much better team when they are playing at home and will enjoy returning to the Bay Area after a long trip. This should give them an edge over the Nuggets, who have been playing in some long, close games that have to be taking a toll. Jokic has already played over 80 minutes of basketball this week and the heavy legs will prove to be too much.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Portland Trail Blazers – 10PM ET
A pair of struggling, playoff-bound Western Conference teams come together for a two game series, as the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers face off for the first time this season. These two sides will face off tonight and then go at it again on Sunday, but this clash presents an opportunity for both sides to find some form and for one to snap their current losing streak.
After winning the first two of their seven game road trip, Memphis have lost their last two, against the Nuggets and Clippers. Their 137-139 loss in Denver came after two overtime periods and it caused them to run out of legs late against the Clippers on Wednesday. Despite a 39-24 first quarter, the Grizzlies lost each of the last three quarters by at least six points, including a 20-34 third quarter.
— NBA (@NBA) April 22, 2021
Ja Morant had team highs of 22 points and four assists but the big positive for Memphis was the return of Jaren Jackson Jr, who hadn’t played since the Orlando Bubble last season. In his 18 minutes off the bench, the dynamic forward finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, something that the Blazers will have to be wary of in this clash.
While Memphis have lost two straight, Portland have lost their last three. However, each of their last two losses, funnily enough to the Clippers and Nuggets, have been by just one point. Both games saw the Blazers have a shot on the buzzer to win it but CJ McCollum missed on Tuesday while Normal Powell missed last night against the Nuggets.
Portland enjoyed the return of Damian Lillard, who missed three straight with a hamstring injury, but his 22 points and five assists wasn’t enough to help them pick up the win. He shot a dismal 9/23 in the game, part of the starting lineup that shot 40% overall and will need to lift against a Memphis defense that ranks ninth overall and forces the third most turnovers per game.
The Blazers are so close to a win, falling just one shot short in each of their last two but Memphis is playing with an edge and has more of a need to win right now. It is a seriously tough matchup but with the Grizzlies still being without Jonas Valanciunas, that is a big loss in the middle and Portland should be able to capitalize at home.
NBA Pick – Portland Trail Blazers (-138)
NBA Spread – Memphis Grizzlies +2.5 (-110)
Total Points Pick – Over 233 (-110)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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