After a 5/5 night, we are looking to round out the weekend with more winners and more cash in the accounts!
We kicked off the action with an afternoon showdown between the Heat and the Celtics, sixth and seventh in the East respectively. We have the winner of that clash for you, plus four others, so you won’t want to miss our NBA picks for today!
Miami Heat @ Boston Celtics – 1PM ET
The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics are about to go to war. One game separates the sides in the standings with this being the first of two straight games between the teams and a locked in playoff spot is on the line.
Having won four of their last five games, the Heat come in with much better form and have been playing better basketball of late too. Friday night saw Miami dominate the Timberwolves, winning 121-112 on the back of some incredible guard play off the bench. Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro combined for 50 points while Jimmy Butler had a point to prove, finishing with 25 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Butler will have to be on top of his game for Miami to have a chance of coming out on top in Boston, however he has some fierce competition on the other side of the court. Boston has breakout star Jayson Tatum leading the way for them and after their disappointing showing last time out, he has extra incentive to get the job done this afternoon.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 9, 2021
Tatum managed just nine points on 3/15 shooting and his poor play led to Boston losing to the lowly Chicago Bulls, 99-121. Kemba Walker was Boston’s main instigator on offense, putting up 33 points for the game. Another factor that resulted in the Celtics’ result was Jaylen Brown’s absence, and it may be something they have to deal with again for this one as he is just questionable to return from his ankle injury.
While Boston is a much better side at home, 21-13 compared to 14-19 on the road, but they are just 4-6 over their last 10 games, which is the worst of any Eastern Conference team seeded 10th or higher. Miami is playing the right basketball at the right time and may have gotten lucky with Brown unlikely to suit up.
New York Knicks @ Los Angeles Clippers – 3:30PM ET
The New York Knicks continue their West Coast road trip and are looking to turn things around. After two wins to start the trip, the Knicks have lost in Denver and Phoenix in their last two games and now face an equally tough opponent in the Los Angeles Clippers this afternoon.
LA seems to have regained some form, beating the Raptors and Lakers in their last two games. Thursday’s beat down of the shorthanded Lakers was as good as it gets, dominating throughout. All five starters scored in double figures, with Paul George’s 24 points leading the way, helping them win 118-94.
New York’s last showing was a similar result but they were on the other side of the beat down. The Knicks lost to the Suns, 105-128, but actually had a chance to win it heading into their fourth quarter. That was when everything went south, losing the final period 17-38. Julius Randle and RJ Barrett both had it going on offense with 24 and 23 points respectively, but they couldn’t hit anything down the stretch.
The Clippers have a top 10 defense and the second best offense in the league, something that the Knicks can’t compete with. New York’s offense is their biggest weakness and against a good defense like the one LA has, they will struggle to stop their skid.
Dallas Mavericks @ Cleveland Cavaliers – 7PM ET
After facing each other on Friday night, the Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers face off yet again this evening. The Mavs got a comfortable 110-90 win in their first meeting and are clearly favorites in this one, despite the Cavs getting back home.
Cleveland has now lost nine straight games with each of the last five having a margin of 16+ points. Collin Sexton led the way for the Cavs with 28 points but with Darius Garland, Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr among those on the sidelines, they never really had a chance against a side as good as Dallas.
— Bally Sports Southwest (@BallySportsSW) May 8, 2021
The Mavs have won three straight and six of their last seven, all with Kristaps Porzingis playing in just one of those games. Luka Doncic has gone into superstar mode with his partner in crime sidelined, scoring at least 23 points in each of those games and averaging 8.5 assists per game.
Porzingis has already been ruled out of this clash but that really makes no difference. The Cavs have no reason to win games at the moment while Dallas, fifth in the West, is just half a game clear of Portland in the standings. Every win is vital and this one is almost a given.
New Orleans Pelicans @ Charlotte Hornets – 7PM ET
Two nights after they almost stole one in Philadelphia, the New Orleans Pelicans gear up to go out and steal another, this time against the Charlotte Hornets. Both sides seemingly have their final seeding all sewed up, but there are slight possibilities that some movement could occur.
The Pelicans, who are currently 11th in the West and two games behind San Antonio in the standings, need to be close to perfect in their last five games if they are to have any chance of jumping into the play-in. Seven different players scored in double figures for them against Philadelphia, but it still wasn’t enough in their 107-109 loss. Jaxson Hayes had one of the best games of his young career, leading New Orleans in scoring with 19 points, adding eight rebounds and three blocks as well.
Charlotte on the other hand are eighth in the East, two games behind Boston and 1.5 games clear of the Wizards, with only five games remaining. Their recent form has been spotty, alternating wins and losses for their last six games, but Friday’s 122-112 win over Orlando was impressive. Terry Rozier, LaMelo Ball and PJ Washington all scored 23+ points and their offense was humming.
New Orleans’ defense ranks just 25th in the league, meaning the Hornets should be able to hit their shots and put points on the board yet again. In saying that, their own defense is in the bottom half of the league while the Pelicans’ offense is 10th in the league, much better than the Orlando side they just gave up 112 to. With both sides thriving on offense, it is a matter of who can rock up and perform on the night and Charlotte has the edge there. The Pelicans are far worse when playing on the road and the Hornets even beat the first matchup between the sides, in New Orleans.
Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Lakers – 10PM ET
The struggle continues for the Los Angeles Lakers and things could get even worse for them tonight, hosting the Phoenix Suns. LA has lost their last two games and gone just 2-8 in their last 10 while Phoenix is coming off a 23 point win and has won six of their last seven games.
Deandre Ayton broke out of his slump against the Knicks, dominating with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Six other Phoenix players scored in double figures with Chris Paul being the next best in the box sheet, finishing the game with 17 points, 11 assists and six boards.
Most career games of 25+ points on 70%+ FG and 15+ rebounds in Suns history:
🔸Deandre Ayton, 4
(including last night)
🔸Charles Barkley, 4
🔸Amar’e Stoudemire, 3 pic.twitter.com/xIzq4rGLia
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 8, 2021
Phoenix is now 1.5 games behind Utah for top spot in the West but just one game behind in the loss column. This form of the Lakers may be their easiest remaining opponent meaning they simply must win, but Anthony Davis, albeit listed as just questionable for this clash, will make life much harder for them.
Davis is expected to play through his questionable tag after his incredible performance on Friday night. The 8x All Star had a massive night with 36 points, 12 rebounds and five assists but it wasn’t enough as the Lakers still fell 101-106 in Portland. Kyle Kuzma and Andre Drummond combined for just eight points in the game, shooting a combined 4/15 from the field.
While occasionally performing well enough to be competitive, the Lakers really aren’t a match for the Suns in this one. Phoenix is 22-10 on the road this season and should have no problems dealing with LA tonight. While the Lakers need wins, the Suns are the ones who will be victorious.
If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our NBA hub page for all your basketball needs.
*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
Want more picks? We have just launched our Premium Picks service, and for a limited time only, it is free! *T&Cs Apply.