Another successful night for our NBA picks, going 3-2 across our five picks including picking the Suns as +110 underdogs. We have another five games for you tonight and you won’t want to miss out on all the action.
The Lakers and the Heat face off in an NBA Finals rematch and while both sides aren’t playing at that same level this season, we are predicting a very close contest in this one. Both Utah and Phoenix have to back up after their overtime extravaganza last night, but we have only one of them winning tonight. Find out who in our NBA picks below.
Chicago Bulls @ Toronto Raptors – 7:30PM ET
The Chicago Bulls will look to make it three on the trot when they head down to Tampa Bay to take on the Toronto Raptors tonight. Wins over Brooklyn and Indiana have given the Bulls some very nice form and they will be hungry for the win in a battle of the 10 and 11 seeds in the East.
With the new Play-In this season, the 10th seed gets a chance to still make the playoffs while the 11 seed gets an early start on the offseason. Chicago is currently two games ahead of Toronto in 10th and took the first game of the season series, so a win here would clinch the tiebreaker and give themselves a bit more cushion down the stretch.
Tuesday’s 113-97 win over Indiana saw Nikola Vucevic return to his Orlando, All Star ways with a massive 32 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. Zach LaVine was one of five other Chicago players in double figures with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists with the Bulls being too much for the Pacers to handle.
“Zach & I can be a very dangerous two-man punch in this league.” -Vooch pic.twitter.com/YxgIXGqG3p
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 4, 2021
Toronto’s performance on Tuesday was nowhere near as good, falling to the Lakers 101-110. The Raptors were without six players including Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Rodney Hood, all of which will be unavailable again tonight and it is hard to see how they will be able to compensate for that. Pascal Siakam top scored once again with 27 points and Chris Boucher added 19 and eight boards but the team managed just 101 points, shooting under 40% from the field and going 5/33 from deep.
With Toronto coming off a really bad loss and being short handed at the moment, combined with the Bulls playing positive, winning basketball, it is hard to see how the Raptors can turn things around. Whether it be LaVine or Vucevic hitting shots and dominating play, Chicago has an All Star duo that not many can compete with, especially not this Toronto side.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Miami Heat – 7:30PM ET
The second and final NBA Finals rematch of the season as the Los Angeles Lakers continue their road trip in South Beach, facing the Miami Heat tonight. Miami took the first meeting in LA by two points, but things have obviously changed for both teams since then and tonight’s result is no foregone conclusion.
The Lakers are coming off a 110-101 road win over the Raptors and have now won their last two games away from Staples Center, despite missing LeBron James and Anthony Davis. An even contribution got the job done on Tuesday night with Talen Horton-Tucker leading seven Lakers in double figures with 17 points and six assists off the bench.
The Lakers, who average the fifth fewest threes per game, shot an incredible 18/40 (45%) from behind the arc for the game whilst restricting Toronto to just 5/33 shooting from deep themselves. LA will want to continue their team play and hot shooting against a Miami team that just allowed Memphis, who average the fourth fewest threes per game, to make 17 for the game.
Miami’s poor defense was the biggest factor in their 112-124 home loss to the Grizzlies, unable to keep up after leading most of the first quarter. Jimmy Butler scored a game high 28 points, Bam Adebayo had an 18 point triple double and Tyler Herro had 19 off the bench but Miami, who are the fourth best scoring defense in the league, gave up too many points in this clash.
Against a lacklustre Lakers offense, Miami will be looking to knuckle down defensively to return to the winners list, led by Butler, Adebayo and new recruit, Avery Bradley. Before this loss to the Grizzlies, Miami had won four straight games and restricted opponents to under 110 on each occasion. The only issue is whether they can score enough but we think they can. Led by Erik Spoelstra, the Heat play with so much pride and passion, especially with Butler as their leader.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Dallas Mavericks – 9PM ET
A pair of teams coming off disappointing losses last time out will face each other in an attempt to get back on track and continue their push up the standings. The Milwaukee Bucks had their three game winning streak snapped by the Warriors on Tuesday night while Dallas’ loss in Houston last night snapped a five game streak of their own.
Both Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic scored 23 points, the former added 12 rebounds and the latter added nine boards and five assists, but the Mavs could only manage 93 points in a nine point loss. As a team, Dallas shot just 37.9% from the field and only 25.6% from deep with their other three starters contributing just 12 points in a disappointing display.
Luka appeared to be upset during the 4th quarter of the Mavs’ loss to Houston. pic.twitter.com/GMlTqT8AxN
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 8, 2021
They may get some respite however as Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful to suit up for the clash after missing the last two with a knee injury. While the Bucks could escape Sacramento with a one point win, results were reversed in Golden State, losing 121-122. Jrue Holiday continued his exceptional play with a team high 29 points with Khris Middleton adding 28 points and seven assists but the Bucks crumbled late, giving up 39 fourth quarter points to the Warriors.
Steph Curry went off for 41 against the Bucks on Tuesday night and Dallas should be looking to exploit this Milwaukee defense in a similar fashion. With no Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee players have to work harder offensively to post a winning total meaning they lapse on the defensive end. The Bucks are 3-2 when Giannis doesn’t play but all three wins were against teams against 0.500 and the Mavs, at home, should be a much tougher assignment. This pick is solely on the proviso that Giannis doesn’t suit up.
Phoenix Suns @ Los Angeles Clippers – 10PM ET
After a massive overtime victory over the Jazz last night, the Phoenix Suns get on the road to take on the team on the other side of them in the standings, the Los Angeles Clippers. After knocking off the #1 team in the West, Phoenix moves just 1.5 games behind them in the standings whilst pushing themselves three games clear of the Clippers in third.
LA are doing their best to keep up, winners of two straight and eight of their last ten. Tuesday night saw them dominate the Blazers, using a massive 47 point first quarter to eventually win 133-116. Paul George broke out of his slump to score a game high 36 points on 61.1% shooting, going 6/9 from deep. Kawhi Leonard had another brilliant all around game putting up 29 points and team highs of 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Patrick Beverley finally returned to action for the Clips and was a big reason that Damian Lillard shot just 2/14 for only 11 points. His defense will be vital against a Phoenix team that just had Devin Booker score 35 and Chris Paul score 29, on the fourth best defense in the league.
Phoenix may have needed an extra five minutes to seal the victory but were always in control, winning 117-113. As mentioned, their backcourt had massive games and hit clutch shots to keep some distance on the Jazz but they definitely had help along the way. Both Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder had 12 rebounds, Ayton adding 18 points, three blocks and two steals with it.
While they played just last night, the Suns are actually an incredible 9-2 on the second night of back to backs this season. LA stole the only previous meeting between these two sides, winning by five points in Phoenix, and the Suns will want to return the favour whilst putting some more distance between the two in the standings. However, we are taking the home team here to get the job done and close the gap. LA has more to play for and come in hungry and rested.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Utah Jazz – 10PM ET
The league-leading Utah Jazz have dropped two straight games and seem to be returning to the pack, but they return back home from a massive matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers tonight. The Jazz may be on tired legs after an overtime clash in Phoenix last night but are yet to lose three straight games for the season and won’t want that to start here.
Donovan Mitchell put up a game high 41 points and hit the game tying shot to send it to overtime but the Jazz ran out of legs, giving up 15 points in the extra five minutes to lose 113-117. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 20 points and Rudy Gobert had 16 points, 18 boards and three steals but after a 19-31 second quarter, the Jazz never looked like winning it, despite it being so close.
— utahjazz (@utahjazz) April 8, 2021
Portland will also be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 116-133 showing against the Clippers on Tuesday night. Damian Lillard was restricted to just 11 points on 2/14 shooting, relying on Norman Powell’s 32 points and CJ McCollum’s 24 points and six assists to help keep the game relatively close. Like Utah, Portland had one terrible quarter that stopped them from truly competing, giving up a massive 47 points to the Clips in the first quarter.
Both teams are right in the mix in the Western Conference standings and while Utah’s two game losing streak is far from ideal, the return to their home floor may be the difference here. The Jazz have won 22 straight games at home and are 8-1 on the second night of back to backs, so that isn’t an issue here. Portland will be wanting to get back on the winners list as soon as possible but this is just a case of wrong time, wrong place.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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