It may be April 1st but there are no fools here. Our NBA picks are changing things up, hand selecting the best five games of every night and providing you with our trusty, in-depth analysis and predictions.
Will James Harden suit up after leaving the game early with hamstring tightness last night, and if he doesn’t, will the Nets be able to manage? Can the Heat continue their turn of form when they host the Warriors tonight?
We have all the answers for you below, so don’t miss out on our NBA picks from the best five games of the night.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Cleveland Cavaliers – 7PM ET
The Philadelphia 76ers have finally fallen off their perch as the top team in the East, thanks to a two game losing streak. Positive news broke yesterday that Joel Embiid is returning, however it will be on Saturday and the side will still be without their All Star centre for this clash with the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight.
The Cavs come into this with some poor form of their own, losing three straight games including by 39 points in Utah last time out. The Cavs were stripped bare, missing both big men, Jarrett Allen and Larry Nance Jr, and both will be out again for this clash which is a massive blow for Cleveland. The Cavs still had Collin Sexton and Darius Garland to float their chances but their 20 and 18 points, respectively, were not enough with no one else reaching double figures.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) March 28, 2021
Philly’s last game may have been just as bad, a 95-104 loss in Denver where Tyrese Maxey was the leading scorer for the team with just 13 points. Tobias Harris, who has been averaging 22 points over the last few weeks, managed just 12 points on 6/13 shooting and the team shot just 31.4% from deep.
While this was a dismal performance from the Sixers, it was up against a red hot team in Denver and just have to play the Cavs here. While Cleveland plays much better at home and should relish returning from a four game trip, without their two big men they will struggle against Philadelphia in this one.
Charlotte Hornets @ Brooklyn Nets – 7:30PM ET
One night after a massive comeback win over the Rockets, the Brooklyn Nets are looking to make it two wins in two nights when they host the Charlotte Hornets. Brooklyn’s win has propelled them above the Sixers to sit on top of the East while Charlotte have surprised many to currently sit two games above 0.500 and in fourth place in the East.
Since losing LaMelo Ball five games ago, the Hornets have gone 4-1 and their most recent performance was an impressive 114-104 win in Washington. Charlotte were on top from the start, led by Terry Rozier’s team high 27 points and Gordon Hayward’s 26 point, 11 rebound double double.
Both Rozier and Hayward have stepped up with the loss of their Rookie of the Year frontrunner and the Hornets will need them both to step up again against the best team in the East. However they might be facing an easier opponent than expected as James Harden left last night’s come from behind win over Houston early.
Harden couldn’t even reach 27 minutes in the clash but it didn’t stop Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris leading Brooklyn to a 30 point turn around, coming back from 18 down to win by 12 points. Irving led the team with 31 points and 12 assists while Harris had 28 points on 7/12 shooting from deep.
We are expecting Harden to sit out this game and that doesn’t bode well for Brooklyn, especially since Charlotte stole the first clash between the two sides. Since joining the team, Harden has missed just two games and the Nets lost both of them. Irving hasn’t shown the ability to lead the team to victories as the solo star and with Charlotte playing some really impressive basketball lately, they might be able to steal this one against a tired Brooklyn side. However Irving’s class along with the new additions the Nets have added, we like Brooklyn to get this in a close one.
Golden State Warriors @ Miami Heat – 8PM ET
The Miami Heat have turned things lately, with two impressive wins in a row, both on the road. They now return home to host the Golden State Warriors, who enjoyed the return of Steph Curry with a comfortable 116-102 win over Chicago on Monday night.
All five starters scored in double figures, led by Curry’s 32 points, six assists and five rebounds. His return opened things up for the entire roster as they shot 42.1% from deep, making 10 more threes than Chicago whilst having five less turnovers.
All five starters in double figures.
16 made threes.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 30, 2021
They will need all of that against a Miami team that has kept two straight opponents under 90 points, has the sixth best defensive rating and fifth best scoring defense. In last night’s 92-87 win in Indiana, Duncan Robinson led the team with 20 points on 6/11 shooting from deep while Bam Adebayo had a massive 16 point, eight rebound, seven assist and two block night.
When these sides met in their only other meeting, the Warriors had a massive come from behind overtime win. However the Warriors aren’t as good offensively when travelling, averaging five less points per game on the road this season, which doesn’t bode well against one of the best defensive teams in the league. Especially given they are finally adding Victor Oladipo to the rotation for this clash, an added boost for the Heat.
Atlanta Hawks @ San Antonio Spurs – 8:30PM ET
The Atlanta Hawks are flailing towards the end of their monster road trip, losers of two straight and four of their last five. They have just two games left before getting home, with the first being against the San Antonio Spurs tonight.
After losing to the Kings by 17 points, the Spurs managed to bounce back against that same Sacramento team last night, winning 120-106. DeMar DeRozan led seven different Spurs players in double figures with a game high 26 points, adding seven assists and five boards with it.
The worry for San Antonio is that they are just 2-6 on the second night of back to backs and are coming up against an Atlanta side that really needs to turn things around. The Hawks have followed up an eight game winning streak with a 1-4 run where their defense has fallen apart, allowing at least 110 in all four of their losses for an average of 118.
Tuesday night saw the Hawks fall 110-117 in Phoenix despite a season best game from Bogdan Bogdanovic who enjoyed his new role in the starting lineup with 22 points, six assists and four steals. Trae Young added 19 points, 13 assists and three steals while Clint Capela had a 16 point, 16 rebound double double but the team couldn’t overcome the loss of John Collins, who lasted just 15 minutes.
Collins has already been ruled out for this clash and without him the Hawks may struggle to keep up with the well-oiled machine that is the Spurs. San Antonio may have a poor record when playing with no rest but the way the Hawks are playing right now, especially now they are shorthanded, we like the Spurs at home.
Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Clippers – 10PM ET
The matchup of the night sees the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers face off in LA, a rematch of the famous Western Conference playoff series that saw Denver come back from 3-1 down to steal the series. These sides have played just once already this season and the Clippers enacted some revenge, winning 121-108 in Denver on Christmas night.
The Nuggets started the season off quite sluggishly however and have turned things around, especially of late where they have moved up to fifth in the West and have won three straight. Tuesday night saw them restrict the Sixers to just 95 points in their nine point win. Jamal Murray had a game high 30 points but the game ball went to Michael Porter Jr who had 27 points on 68.8% shooting along with 12 rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block.
Michael Porter Jr. in March:
✅ 20.3 PPG
✅ 59.4 FG%
✅ 53.2 3P%
✅ 70.3 eFG%
Porter Jr. is the first player in @nuggets history to average 20+ PPG with a 70+ eFG% in a calendar month, and leaguewide he is just the fourth player in the last 50 seasons to do so (min. 10 GP). pic.twitter.com/dAFwSmlD4Z
— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) March 31, 2021
They will be looking to pick up a fourth straight against a weakened Clippers side, that just had an embarresing 96-103 home loss to Orlando on Wednesday and is still without Paul George, Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverley. Kawhi Leonard paced the team with 28 points but it was a similar story of LA blowing a big lead. The Clippers led by as many as 16 at one stage but still managed to fall to the lowly Magic.
We expect a much better performance from the Clippers in this one, especially given how big the matchup is, but will Leonard be able to do enough for the win without his running mate, George, in the lineup. Denver has been rolling right now and the addition of Aaron Gordon is just another athletic wing for the team to throw at Leonard and it should help them get over the line here.
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.