Our free NBA picks are out for Friday, February 25th, 2022! Make sure you check our NBA picks before the action kicks off.
Look below to find our free NBA picks for the best five games on today’s schedule!
Miami Heat @ New York Knicks – 7.30pm ET
The Miami Heat wrap up their two game road trip in New York on Friday night when they take on the Knicks. The Heat have won six of their last seven games, including a win over the Hornets last time out, 111-107, in overtime. The Knicks will be looking to turn around their three game losing streak, which includes losses to the Trail Blazers, Thunder and Nets
The Knicks will look to start climbing back into playoff contention when they host the Heat at Madison Square Garden on Friday night. New York hasn’t played since February 16 when they blew a 28-point lead to the Nets in a 106-111 loss at home. It was the appropriate end to a disappointing first half of the season for the Knicks who have gone 20-33 since starting the season 5-1. The first half of the season went much smoother for the Miami Heat who entered the All-Star break occupying the 1 seed. They won six of their last seven games to improve their record to 38-21.
This is all despite playing 16 different starting lineups and playing 15 games without both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo (11-4 in those games). Miami did have both guys in their last game on February 17, a 111-107 double OT victory over Charlotte. Both guys had double-doubles as the Heat had to overcome a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. The Knicks recently announced they are shutting down Kemba Walker to get more playing time for the young guys, so it’s clear the Knicks aren’t playing for much this season. The Heat on the other hand have legit championship aspirations and this short road spread will be no problem for them to cover against a flat out bad New York team.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Miami Heat -5 (-110)
The Miami Heat came out of the All-Star break as the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. But their lead on top is in no way safe, as the Chicago Bulls won last night to hold a half game lead over the Heat and plenty of teams including the Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers are just a couple of games behind. The Heat will look to regain that first seed just 24 hours after the Bulls won in overtime, as they head to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks. The Knicks entered the All-Star break ranked twelfth in the Eastern Conference and in their most recent game on Wednesday the 16th, they blew a 28-point lead to their in-town rivals the Brooklyn Nets, who were playing without Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the newly acquired Ben Simmons.
There’s only one mindset for the 2nd half of the season. By Any Means 💥
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 25, 2022
This team continues to free fall just one season after being the fourth-seed in the East, and things won’t get easier for them on Friday against the Miami Heat. For the second half of the season, they’ll look to get back to the defensive identity that made them so feared last season. Part of this means guard Kemba Walker will sit the rest of the season; despite not having his scoring ability the team will also not have him as a defensive liability. Recently the Knicks have gotten closer to the defensive juggernauts they were last season, currently ranked eighth in opponent points per game and sixth in opponent field goal percentage. Still, it won’t be easy for them to fend off a Miami team that’s so blanched across the board. With everyone from Kyle Lowry controlling the pace, to Jimmy Butler’s diverse playmaking ability, to Tyler Herro’s shooting this Miami team can be tough to contain. Plus, their defense isn’t too shabby either: they currently are ranked fifth in both opponent points per game and field goal percentage. Despite the Knicks looking to get back to their ways of last year, the Heat are hungry to prove they’re the best in the East. They won’t want these “easy wins” to slip through their fingers.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Miami Heat -5 (-110)
The Miami Heat enter the second half of the season tied for the lead in the Eastern Conference, at 38-21. They’ve been able to overcome multiple different obstacles, including COVID and multiple injury scares, but none of that has seemed to slow them down. When they’re fully healthy, they feature one of the best trios in the league, with Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Tyler Herro, but the problem has been keeping everyone on the floor. With a decent seed in the postseason virtually already locked, their focus should be more on getting everyone back on a consistent basis for the 20+ games of the year.
They take on a New York Knicks team in this one that started the year off extremely hot, and had many people talking about what could be, before ultimately collapsing and showing that they’re still the franchise we know and love. They sit at 25-34, and at this point even making the postseason would have to be a success. They have a bit of talent, but can’t seem to get anything going with that talent, which has to be a concern as we get closer to the offseason and what moves they could potentially make. As for this matchup, give me Miami with relative ease as they travel north to MSG in their first game since the break.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Miami Heat -5 (-110)
Philadelphia 76ers @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 8pm ET
The Philadelphia 76ers are in the middle of a three game road trip and tonight they play the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 76ers have won three of their last four, and this takes their season record 35-23. The Timberwolves are playing on back-to-back nights and last time out they won 119-114 against the Grizzlies.
The Minnesota Timberwolves got the second half of the season off to a great start with a big upset victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. The 119-114 home victory was led by a 37 point explosion from D’Angelo Russell, who also led them with 9 assists. He scored 23 of those in the 4th quarter and with KAT in foul trouble and Anthony Edwards struggling, he knew it was on him to carry the workload. It was a statement victory for the Wolves who are trying to get out of the play-in tournament and they’ll look to keep this momentum going with another tough opponent on Friday night. The opponent got a lot tougher when it was announced on Thursday that James Harden time is expected to finally make his Sixers debut.
It will be a huge adjustment for this Sixers team that has had their entire offense running through Joel Embiid this season, but adding the former MVP to their lineup will definitely be a welcoming challenge. Tyrese Maxey will finally be able to take on a smaller role, which will suit him better and the pick and roll game with Embiid and Harden will be something that will have defenders losing sleep all season. It’s a great matchup for James Harden to get his Sixers debut, as the Wolves have struggled defensively all year long. What Minnesota lacks in defense though, they make up for with pace and a high octane offense so we should be in for another shootout. Coming away with back to back wins against Memphis and Philly in two nights seems too daunting a task but this Minnesota team is truly different. They are a group of young, hungry guys who want to erase their playoff drought and put the league on notice. I think they have what it takes to get this one done at home, spoiling the Harden debut.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves (+124)
If reports stay true, the Philadelphia 76ers will finally get to see James Harden play in a 76ers jersey on Friday night, as the future Hall-of-Fame guard is expected to suit up and make his team debut. Seeing Harden and MVP candidate Joel Embiid finally play together should be a thrill, as the 76ers are currently third in the Eastern Conference and three games out of first place. Still, their task on Friday won’t be easy, as they face off against one of the NBA’s best young teams in the Minnesota Timberwolves.
see you tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/RMv9ckyJdu
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) February 25, 2022
Last night Minnesota sent out a warning to the rest of the NBA that they’re not far from being one of the best teams in the West. They beat the current third-seed Memphis Grizzlies 119-114 last night as D’Angelo Russell exploded for 37 points. Now 24 hours later, they’ll play one of the league’s toughest teams in Philadelphia, who’ll be fully loaded with some new weapons that they’re ready to display. Still, sometimes it takes a couple of games to get used to having new teammates so don’t expect the Sixers to click right away. Plus, the Timberwolves’ Karl Anthony-Towns has always had a bit of a rivalry with Joel Embiid, with the Timberwolves playing the best they have since Towns arrived, and Embiid in MVP form, expect KAT to use those as motivation to have a great game. I think this one should be close, but for the second straight game I’ll go with the T-wolves to pull off the home win.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves (+124)
The Minnesota Timberwolves get right back to action on Friday night after getting a win at home over the Memphis Grizzlies last night. The win pushed their season record to 32-28, and showed just how dangerous they have the potential to be if they have everyone healthy and on the floor. They have three guys in Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, and D’Angelo Russell, who can lead the team on any given night, and last night it was Russell that took it upon himself to lead the way, as he threw in 37 in the win. Now they take on one of the best teams in the East in the Philadelphia 76ers in this one.
The Sixers enter this one at 35-23, which is good enough for the third spot in the Eastern Conference currently. I am curious to see if that play continues moving forward though, as just before the trade deadline they traded multiple pieces of their supporting cast in order to get James Harden, and match him up with Joel Embiid. While he hasn’t yet made his debut, it’s expected for this game to be exactly that, as Harden is planning on suiting up. With Embiid already sitting as the MVP favorite, this is arguably the best 1-2 punch in the entire league, but the question is whether it takes time for them to click, and whether they have enough help outside of just them to actually make this work. In the end, with this being Harden’s debut, and being the second night of a back-to-back for Minnesota, now in Philadelphia, I’m going to take the Sixers in a tight one.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Philadelphia 76ers -3 (-110)
New Orleans Pelicans @ Phoenix Suns – 9pm ET
The Pelicans kick off a two game road trip on Friday night when they face off against the Phoenix Suns. The Pelicans have lost four of their last five games, and this takes their season record to 23-36. The Suns are another team that is playing on back-to-back nights, and last time out they beat the Thunder, 124-104.
The Suns had no trouble in their first game without Chris Paul, beating OKC 124-104. Devin Booker took over point guard duties and had a double-double with 25 points and 12 assists in a very efficient shooting night for him. Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges also stepped up with 21 points each and six different Suns scored in double figures. Their record now sits at 49-10 and 19-1 in their last 20 games. The Pelicans will hope to start the second half of the season on the right foot after a 23-36 first half that has them sitting at 12th in the Western Conference. They went into the break losing four of five and the closest margin was 7 points. They have been in a tough spot all season without their star Zion Williamson and with him now needing a second surgery on his foot, he’ll miss the entire season.
This season is a wash and their trade for CJ McCollum will likely now be a waste, as he may test free agency in the offseason, so don’t expect many competitive efforts from this bunch for the rest of the year. Phoenix will have no problems taking care of this lifeless New Orleans team. They have a few nice pieces in Brandon Ingram, McCollum and Jonas V, but as a whole they aren’t a capable NBA team. The Suns however, are an elite team with an elite coach and they are in no position to take any opponents lightly as they have eyes set on another NBA Finals appearance. Devin Booker looks very comfortable taking over the point guard role and he’ll control the offense and guide his team to the cover in this one.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns -7 (-110)
No Chris Paul, no problem as the Phoenix Suns had no issues dealing with the Oklahoma City Thunder despite their star guard being out with a hand injury. The Suns ran away last night with a 124-104 victory, with Devin Booker taking the reins, dropping 25 points and 12 assists. Cam Johnson also did a spectacular job stepping into the other guard spot, as he scored 21 points. Now after an easy go against the Thunder, the Suns will try to nab win number 50 on the year as they face a retooled New Orleans Pelicans team. After adding CJ McCollum at the trade deadline, the Pelicans are looking to sneak into the play-in spot in the Western Conference as they currently sit in twelfth place at 23-36.
The newest episode of “The Squad” comes out tomorrow at 11 am CT 👀 pic.twitter.com/NRQ9CATtRw
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 24, 2022
They newly acquired McCollum has brought it so far, scoring 30 or more in three of his five games with the Pels. Unfortunately those haven’t quite translated to winning as the Pelicans have gone 1-4 since his arrival. Things won’t get any easier for them on Friday, as they face the league’s best team in Phoenix. They’ll have to hope that they can take advantage of the Suns playing without Paul and being in the midst of a back-to-back. The Suns might’ve won last night by 20, but they were playing a bad Thunder team without Lu Dort. The Pelicans could definitely pull off a big win against the Suns, but it’ll take a little more for me to pick against the league’s best team then a team that’s lost four of five. I’ll go with the safe bet and pick Phoenix.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns (-300)
The Phoenix Suns just continue to be virtually unstoppable. Last night they took on the Oklahoma City Thunder, without Chris Paul, and still won by 20, in easy fashion. They’ve been the best team in the NBA all year long, and last night was just more proof of that, as they’re deep enough to take care of business even when they’re missing one of their key trio. Now they host an improving New Orleans Pelicans team, on the second night of a back-to-back for Phoenix.
New Orleans is a team that has had a rough go of it for much of the year, and part of that is due to the fact that they’ve been without Zion Williamson for the entire year, and there’s still no timetable for his return. They are improving, however (apart from their last four), as Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Ingram have led the way to this point, and they also acquired CJ McCollum from Portland just before the trade deadline, which appears, as least based on his performance, to have been a solid move. I think the results will begin to get better for the Pels as they get more acquainted with CJ and how he plays, though that won’t happen in this one. The Suns just bring too much to the table, and with this one being in Phoenix, I’m going to take them with relative ease here.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns -7 (-110)
Dallas Mavericks @ Utah Jazz – 9pm ET
The road trip continues on for the Dallas Mavericks and tonight they travel to Utah and take on the Jazz. The Mavericks have won six of their last seven games, and last time out they won against the Pelicans, 125-118. The Jazz had their six game winning streak snapped last time out, thanks to the Lakers, 101-106.
The Jazz went into the All-Star break winners of six of seven but still have a sour taste in their mouth after blowing a 12 point fourth quarter lead in their last game, which they lost to the Lakers. It was the 10th time they lost this season after holding a 10 point lead at some point in the game, so they will hope to clean that issue up prior to the postseason. Coincidentally, Dallas also entered the break on a 6-1 run, including two in a row on the road over Miami and New Orleans. Luka Doncic’s last ten games were spectacular, nearly averaging a triple double with 35.4 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 9.8 assists a game.
He scored at least 45 points in three of their last four games and he will need to keep up that pace to get the Mavericks a top four seed and home court advantage in the playoffs. The Jazz won the first matchup this season 120-116 and are currently 1.5 games ahead of the fifth seeded Mavericks. The home court advantage for the Jazz in this one will play a big factor and now having a healthy Mitchell and Gobert the Jazz are ready to make a run of it in the second half of the season. This will be a game where they lock in on a conference foe and try to make a statement, and I will be taking the Jazz to get the home victory.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz (-270)
If the season ended today, these two teams would face each other in the first round, as the currently fifth-ranked Dallas Mavericks head to Utah to take on the fourth-ranked Jazz. While some questioned the Mavericks’ dealing of Kristaps Porzingis at the trade deadline, the Mavericks didn’t show any collapse in play, as they went into the All-Star break with consecutive wins against the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans. The Mavericks of course are getting great numbers from Luka Doncic, but what’s really elevated their game this year is a focus on defense. They currently allow the second least amount of points per game and have the fifth best defensive rating in basketball. They’ll need to be on their A-game on Friday as they face a Jazz team that is third in the NBA in points per game.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) February 25, 2022
The Jazz might have lost a close game to the Los Angeles Lakers right after the All-Star break, but prior to that they won six in a row and were looking complete on both sides of the ball. With Donovan Mitchell racking up the points and Rudy Gobert healthy and providing defense down low, the Jazz are looking to prove last season’s one-seed wasn’t a fluke. This should be a great game between two great defenses and two offenses that have star scorers, but ultimately I’ll pick the Jazz at home to win a close one.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz (-270)
Two teams that are competing for seeding in the Western Conference get together in this one, as the Dallas Mavericks travel to Utah to take on the Jazz. The Mavs enter at 34-24, including having won six of their last seven. They’ve been virtually a one-man show all year long, as they go as Luka Doncic goes, but since trading away Kristaps Porzingis at the trade deadline, that mentality and philosophy has only gotten worse. Currently it’s worked out okay, as Luka has seemed up to the task, but I do question for how long that can continue.
As for the Utah Jazz, they’ve also won six of their last seven, sitting at 36-22, but I actually think they’re a much better, more balanced team than their opponents in this one. They’ve played really well for much of the season, apart from a 15-game stretch or so, where they were without both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell for much of that span. Outside of that rough patch, they’ve looked quite a bit like the Jazz team that we’ve grown to expect over the past three or four seasons. With both Gobert and Mitchell expected for this one, I like Utah, in what I expect to be a reasonably close game.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz -6.5 (-108)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Los Angeles Lakers – 10pm ET
The final matchup on Friday night in the NBA will see a new edition of the battle of Los Angeles, with the Clippers taking on the Lakers. The Clippers have won three of their last four games, with their only loss during this time coming against the Suns, 96-103. The Lakers managed to snap their three game losing streak last time out, with a win against the Jazz, 106-101.
Both teams had first half disappointments and will begin the second half of the season trying to escape the NBA play-in tournament. The teams took different approaches to the trade deadline, the Clippers being buyers and Lakers staying put, and it’s appearing to be working for the Clippers. They brought in Normal Powell, Robert Covington, Rodney Hood, and Semi Ojeleye and it translated to 3 wins in the past 4 games. It was an impressive 142-111 win for the Clippers in their last game against the Rockets and it was a full team effort, with two players recording double-doubles and five others scoring in double figures. The Lakers lost Anthony Davis to a sprained right ankle in their last game, which was a 106-101 comeback win over the Utah Jazz.
That win snapped a three-game losing streak but now without Davis, the Lakers are wishing they had made a move or two at the deadline. LeBron James went on an insane run of scoring earlier this season when Davis went down, and will need a similar type run to keep the Lakers above water in the standings. Fresh out of the All-Star break and a long layoff seems like a good time to buy the Los Angeles Lakers. They are an older team and fresh legs for LeBron and company should be the main factor against this short-handed Clippers team. No Kawhi and Paul George of course, but also no Norman Powell so the scoring punch will not be there. Give me the Lakers and expect a rare big game from Russell Westbrook who will see a usage bump with no Davis.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Los Angeles Lakers (-110)
When the two teams that share the Crypto.Com Arena faced off earlier in the month, it was a classic. Reggie Jackson hit a game-winning shot to lead the Clippers over the Lakers 111-110, to give them the current crown of Los Angeles’ best team. The Clippers currently sit in eighth in the Western Conference and despite injuries running wild, this team has never used that as an excuse to underperform. Guys like Jackson, Terrence Mann, and Marcus Morris have continued to step up night in and night out. On Friday they’ll hope to get another win against their in-town rivals as they only sit 1.5 games ahead of the Lakers in the current standings.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 23, 2022
Despite the Lakers grabbing a huge win against the Jazz before the All-Star break, they lost star player Anthony Davis to yet another injury as the big man will once again be out for close to a month. That will put a lot of pressure on 37-year-old LeBron James to dominate every game and for guys like Russell Westbrook, Malik Monk, and more to be consistent on a nightly basis. Similar to the February 3rd game, this one should be close, but I’ll go with the Clippers to pull off the win, as the Lakers are a bit unpredictable without Davis in their lineup.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Los Angeles Clippers (-106)
These two teams meet in this crosstown showdown in similar spots, but for vastly different reasons. The Los Angeles Lakers have been a massive disappointment all year long, as they’re simply trying to make sure they can manage to sneak into the playoffs. Their offseason additions have made no difference at all, as they’re still way too reliant on LeBron to get anything going for the team at all. The other guy that they were planning on being able to lean on heavily, Anthony Davis, simply can’t stay on the court, which hasn’t helped matters. On the other side, the Los Angeles Clippers, record wise, have been a disappointment as well, but that doesn’t tell the whole story at all.
They’re currently hanging on to a playoff spot, which is remarkable given what they’ve been through. They’ve been without Kawhi Leonard for the entire year, and they’ve also been without Paul George for the majority of the season. On top of this, the newly acquired Norman Powell got injured almost immediately for the Clips, which hurt them even more. This means they’re currently still in a playoff spot despite being without their three best players. That goes to show the great job that Ty Lue has done coaching this squad, and why instead of viewing them as a disappointment I actually think they’re one of the better stories in the league this year. As for this matchup, I’m going to lean Clippers by a nose, as I still think the Lakers are simply too reliant on LeBron.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Los Angeles Clippers (-106)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.