Another massive night for our NBA picks and we are looking to round out the week with five more winners!
The highlight of today’s action is Brooklyn hosting Phoenix and it has been made even more intriguing with the return of KD to the lineup. Will his return be enough to help the Nets overcome the best road team in the league?
Our NBA experts put in the time to come up with the best analysis and five winners every night, so you don’t want to miss today’s addition of SportsTips’ NBA picks.
Boston Celtics @ Charlotte Hornets – 1PM ET
The Boston Celtics head down to Charlotte to take on the Hornets following a wild back to back set that saw them take on both Phoenix and Brooklyn. Both the Suns and the Nets are two of the best teams in the league while Charlotte’s last two opponents aren’t even in the play-in picture right now.
Following a 17 point loss to the lowly Chicago Bulls, the Hornets managed to turn things around against Cleveland on Friday. Behind 25 points each from PJ Washington, Terry Rozier and Miles Bridges, Charlotte managed to pull away for the 108-102 home victory.
Those three will have to be at their best again if Charlotte has any chance of getting over the top of Boston in this one, but the spotlight will be on Rozier as he goes up against his former side. There was some obviously bad blood from the separation and with former Hornet, Kemba Walker, suiting up for Boston, there are definitely a lot of feelings in this.
Miles Bridges is on pace to become the first Hornets player to have a 50/40/80 season in franchise history.
84.8 FT% pic.twitter.com/4DDR37oTdg
— StatMuse (@statmuse) April 24, 2021
Walker sat out Boston’s 104-109 loss to Brooklyn due to it being on the second night of a back to back set, leaving Jayson Tatum to carry most of the load offensively. The two time All Star ended up with 38 points and 10 rebounds but ultimately didn’t have enough help with Walker and Jaylen Brown on the sidelines.
Both of them are off the injury report for this one and will provide Tatum with the help he needs to pick up the win here. In the one meeting between the sides previously, just over two weeks ago, the Celtics picked up the 30 point home win. While the game being played in Charlotte tonight is obviously going to make the game a lot closer than that, Boston are still just too good and should win this comfortably.
Phoenix Suns @ Brooklyn Nets – 3:30PM ET
Two of the top four teams in the league face off as the Brooklyn Nets host the Phoenix Suns in a Sunday afternoon classic. Brooklyn sits on top of the East and has the second best home record in the league while Phoenix is second in the West and has the best road record, being the only team yet to register 10 losses when travelling.
This will be the fourth straight game on the road for the Suns and they will be hoping they can claim another scalp. While they lost to Boston on Friday, on the second night of a back to back, they had previously won in Milwaukee and Philadelphia, 3rd and 2nd in the East respectively.
Phoenix’s form on the road and their ability to knock off some of the best teams in the league has to have the Nets slightly worried but there is an air of confidence around the team at the moment. On top of that, they are expected to get Kevin Durant back from a three game absence and his play on both ends of the floor give them an obvious boost.
Kyrie Irving led the Nets to a 2-1 record in his absence but it was an even approach that got them the win over Boston on Friday. Irving had 15 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds and four steals but Joe Harris and Jeff Green combined for 39 points on 7/12 shooting from deep.
Adding Durant back into the mix will only give the role players more space on their shots and the Nets another wrinkle that teams have to worry about. Phoenix may be an extremely good side, especially on the road, but when KD and Irving take the floor together, magical things happen and that is what we expect here.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Portland Trail Blazers – 4PM ET
The Memphis Grizzlies will look to go two from two over the Portland Trail Blazers and follow up Friday’s two point nail-biting win with another this afternoon. Memphis led for most of the first half and managed to hold off a fierce Portland comeback to hold on for the 130-128 win, snapping their two game losing streak while extending the Blazers’ streak to four straight.
You have to feel for Portland as this was their third straight loss decided by one possession and they definitely had their chances to win it. Being down by just one point with under 20 seconds to go, the Blazers missed three shots that would have put them in front, unable to recover from there.
Despite missing two of those shots, Jusuf Nurkic had his best game of the season, taking advantage of the lack of size on the interior for Memphis. With Jonas Valanciunas still on the sidelines, the ‘Bosnian Beast’ finished with 26 points, 17 rebounds and five assists while Damian Lillard had a team high 27.
The @memgrizz recorded a 125.0 offensive rating in tonight’s road win over Portland.
Memphis has scored 120.0+ points per 100 possessions 14 times this season (13-1 record). Seven of those have come in the first 13 games of April. pic.twitter.com/ijILOLon1E
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) April 24, 2021
However, Ja Morant was clearly the best player on Friday, finishing with 33 points and 13 assists, guiding his team to victory. Jaren Jackson Jr, in just his second game back from an eight month injury, finished with 23 points on 71.4% shooting, but he has already been ruled out for tonight’s clash due to load management and his loss will be massive.
With Jackson out and Valanciunas questionable, Memphis may have some serious problems on the interior. While they managed to hold on for the win, the Grizzlies had 11 less rebounds and gave up a massive 14 offensive boards, something that normally doesn’t translate into wins. With the lineup changes for Memphis, we expect that Portland will be able to turn things around and split the two game series with a win tonight.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Atlanta Hawks – 7:30PM ET
An Eastern Conference showdown as the fifth placed Atlanta Hawks host the third placed Milwaukee Bucks, in what is a rematch of a contest that occurred just 10 nights ago. Milwaukee won that clash quite comfortably and will bring confidence into this one as they look for their third straight win.
The Bucks last two wins came at the hands of the 76ers, beating them in a two game, home mini-series. Following a 124-117 win on Thursday, Milwaukee took advantage of a weakened Philadelphia side last night to win 132-94. Seven different players scored in double figures for Milwaukee and no one reached 28 minutes, which is a big bonus given they have to travel and back it up again this evening.
Atlanta will be thankful that they have an extra day to rest, recover and prepare but they will still be without Trae Young and Clint Capela is just questionable. Neither played on Friday but the Hawks still managed to pick up the 118-103 home win over an in-form Miami side. Bogdan Bogdanovic enjoyed more responsibility with Young out of the lineup, finishing with a team best 21 points and eight rebounds.
When these sides met last week, both Young and Capela played but Milwaukee still dominated the game. Now that they aren’t playing, it is scary to think what the Bucks might do. The only thing that could trip that up is if Mike Budenholzer decides to rest some of his starters on the second night of a back to back.
Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 10PM ET
We round out the night with a Pacific Division, Californian rivalry clash between the Kings and the Warriors. Both sides are coming off wins in their last game but one side beat a playoff team while the other beat the team with the worst record in the league and just lost their best player to what is potentially a positive COVID-19 test.
After losing to them one night earlier, Sacramento turned the tables on Minnesota to come away with the 128-125 win on Wednesday. Buddy Hield had 29 points, six boards and five assists plus Harrison Barnes chipped in 22 points, seven assists and six boards of his own but the story is De’Aaron Fox.
The Kings’ main man ended the game with 30 points and seven assists but has now been sidelined for 10-14 days due to health and safety protocols meaning that the Kings are in serious trouble. Fox has been the main driving force behind anything good that has come out of Sacramento and now coming up against Steph Curry and the Warriors, the Kings are just behind the eight ball.
NBA defensive efficiency (points allowed per 100 possessions) leaders since April 6:
1. Golden State Warriors 106.0 (7-3 record in that span)
2. Utah Jazz 106.3 (6-3)
3. WASHINGTON WIZARDS 106.4 (9-1)
4. San Antonio Spurs 107.1 (5-5)
5. Philadelphia 76ers 107.3 (5-4)
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) April 24, 2021
Following a five game road trip, the Warriors weren’t only happy to return home but they were also allowed fans in the arena for the first time since March last year and they definitely made it worth it. Behind 32 points from Curry and a monster 19 assists from Draymond Green, the Warriors beat the Nuggets 118-97 and have all but cemented their spot in the play-ins.
With Fox being sidelined for the Kings, it gives opportunity for younger players like Tyrese Halliburton to step up and face off against the league’s best, but Curry is trying to get an MVP and lift the Warriors up the standings. That may be too tall of a task for Halliburton and the Sacramento squad that is just 11-18 on the road this season, compared to Golden State’s 18-10 home record.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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