Our free NBA picks are out for Thursday, February 24th, 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!
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Detroit Pistons – 7pm ET
We have an inter division rivalry game to kick things off after the All-Star break, as we will see the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Detroit Pistons. The Cavaliers will be hoping the break will do the trick to turn around the two game losing streak they are on. On the other hand, the Pistons finally managed to snap their eight game losing streak in their last game before the break, with a victory over the Celtics.
The surprise Cavs went into the All-Star break on a little two game slide, but still sit only 2.5 games back of the 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Now, after hosting all the All-Star festivities over the weekend, the Cleveland Cavaliers will get back to business in Detroit against the Pistons Thursday night. The Pistons are heading towards another high lottery pick, as they come into this game with the second worst record, with just the Magic performing at a lower level. They did however, beat Boston 112-111 in their last game which snapped an eight game losing streak they were on.
They also got to see their #1 pick in this past year’s draft, Cade Cunningham, earned MVP honors in the Rising Stars Challenge over the weekend, which is a game consisting of the best rookies and sophomores in the NBA. That means this game on Thursday will feature two of the top rookies in this class, as Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley is also a top candidate for rookie of the year honors. These two have met twice already this season, with both teams splitting those games. The Cavs will look to become the first road team to get a win in this season series and I think they’ll be able to do just that. Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen are fresh off their first All-Star appearances and will be fired up to get back with their guys and make a push for that 1 seed in the East. This Pistons team is the exact opponent that they can exploit and gain a lot of confidence on and they should have no problems covering this spread.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers -7.5 (-110)
The Cleveland Cavaliers were this season’s first half surprise, as the team that went 22-50 in 2020-21 is currently 35-23 and the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs will look to carry that momentum over to the second half of the season, but they look like they’ll be starting it off on a bit of the wrong foot as All-Star Darius Garland and newly acquired Caris LeVert are expected to miss the game with injuries. Luckily for the Cavaliers, they can allow those two to rest as they’ll be facing the team with the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Pistons.
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) February 23, 2022
The Pistons may only be 13-45 on the season, but at least they’re seeing some big things out of their young talent with players like Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey showing some major upside. The Pistons even got possibly their biggest win of the year right before the All-Star break, as they halted the Boston Celtics win streak, beating them 112-111. It was a confidence booster for sure and now this young team gets a chance to keep it going as they face a Cavaliers team that’s coming into the final two months a little debilitated. The Cavaliers have plenty of guys who step up when injuries occur, but I’ll take the home team Pistons to at least stay in this one and cover the spread.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Detroit Pistons +7.5 (-110)
Despite a two game skid heading into the All-Star break, the Cleveland Cavaliers were far and away one of the most surprising teams in all of the NBA. They’ve faced multiple injury obstacles that would’ve caused a lot of teams to falter and potentially crush their season’s chances at success, but instead the Cavs, behind first-time All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, have just continued to roll along. Now we find out if they can keep that success from the first half going, as we move on from the break.
On the other side, the Detroit Pistons are just bad. They’ve been arguably the worst team in the league all year, as only Orlando has the ability to make a different argument for holding that title, and I don’t think that’s going to change in the second half of the season. We could see more confidence coming from Cade Cunningham, which would be good for the Pistons, but not even that would be enough to assume that Detroit as a whole starts playing better ball. Give me Cleveland with ease in this one, even with them having to travel to the Motor City.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers -7.5 (-110)
Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago Bulls – 8pm ET
The Atlanta Hawks are on the road for their first game back after the All-Star break, and they will be going toe-to-toe with the Chicago Bulls. The Hawks are currently on a two game winning streak, and this takes their season record to 28-30. The Bulls have won their last five games in a row, with wins over the Hornets, Timberwolves, Thunder, Spurs and Kings.
The main question is did the All-Star break halt the scoring momentum Bulls’ guard Demar DeRozan was on? He is the first player in NBA history to score 35 points and shoot over 50% in seven straight games, passing Wilt Chamberlain’s record of six consecutive games (twice). Demar also has 30 or more points in eight straight games, becoming the first Bull to accomplish that since Michael Jordan in 1996. The most important streak though, is the Bulls current five game winning streak that they will look to extend in this home game on Thursday. They’ve averaged over 120 points a game during the streak and it has allowed them to tie the Miami Heat for the 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Atlanta Hawks won two straight games themselves before the break and averaged 127 points in those contests.
They are however, only sitting at 10th place in the East, a game ahead of the Washington Wizards. It’s been a disappointing season so far for Atlanta, especially after a run to the Conference Finals last season. They’ll look to stay in the playoff hunt with a statement win in this one, and you better believe you’ll get an explosive game from superstar guard Trae Young. These two met in December for a home and home that the Bulls swept by scores of 130-118 and 131-117. With a total currently set at 234.5, there’s going to be a fast paced tempo with a lot of points being scored so I love the prop bet of over on Trae Young’s points. As far as the game goes, it’s hard to back this Atlanta side that has struggled all season. Bulls guard Zach Lavine will also be back after missing the final three games before the All-Star break, giving the Bulls even more firepower. Give me the home Bulls to cover this short spread.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls -4 (-110)
The Chicago Bulls are 38-21 and have the same record as the Miami Heat to sit atop the Eastern Conference; the only thing separating them is that the Heat have one more in-conference win. The Bulls will have a shot to change that on Thursday as they take on an Atlanta Hawks team that’s looking to make a run. The Hawks are currently in tenth—just enough to get them into the play-in picture. But this team that made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals last season won’t be satisfied just hanging on by a thread. They’re due for a big run here as they’re starting to get healthy, despite John Collins being probable for this matchup.
Great to have these two back on the same team for tomorrow.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 24, 2022
Trae Young should continue to put up big points, but expect a healthy Deandre Hunter and the veteran play of Danilo Galinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic to all play a big role if this team is to go on a run. Meanwhile, back in Chicago, DeMar DeRozan is putting on a MVP performance as he’s had 35+ points in seven straight games. With Zach LaVine back in the lineup and some of the core defenders getting healthy, the Bulls are ready to make that push and jump ahead of Miami for the conference lead. This one should have a lot of firepower in it, but I’ll go with the Bulls, who have big-time scorers and some key defenders who should be able to give the Hawks some trouble.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls -4 (-110)
Can the Atlanta Hawks play better in the second half of the year? That’s the question in this one, as they’re going to have to if they plan on making a legitimate playoff push. They’re sitting at 28-30 on the year, but they are on a two game winning streak from before the break that they’re now trying to improve on. At this point it seems almost certain that Trae Young is going to show up every night, the biggest concern, and problem, for the Hawks this year has been the production from a supporting cast. That’s going to have to improve greatly if they plan on getting better results.
Now they get the Chicago Bulls, and this isn’t an easy matchup by any means. The Bulls have been one of the best teams in the East, as well as the league, all year long, and in the second half of the season they’re going to be looking to take sole control of the 1-seed for the postseason, which they’re currently tied for right now. It currently looks as if they’re going to do this largely without Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball, who are both out with injuries. As for this matchup though, I’m still going to take the depleted Bulls to get the win, as even without LaVine or Ball, I think they’re a more balanced team. Give me Chicago in a tight one at home.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls -4 (-110)
Memphis Grizzlies @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 8pm ET
The Memphis Grizzlies kick off a short two game road trip on Thursday night in the NBA when they travel to Minnesota and take on the Timberwolves. The Grizzlies had their six game winning streak broken last time out, as they went down to the Trail Blazers, 119-123. The Timberwolves have won two of their last five games, and this takes their season record to 31-28.
After opening the season 9-10, the Memphis Grizzlies are now sitting with the third best record in the NBA and are no longer under the radar. They are led by emerging star Ja Morant who is averaging 26.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game. In the game prior to the break, he tallied a season high 44 points to go along with 11 assists and 5 rebounds in a loss to Portland. The Wolves come in ready to start up the second half of the season and secure just their second playoff berth since 2004. Their young center Karl-Anthony Towns had a great All-Star weekend, appearing in his third All-Star game and winning the three point contest. He’s averaging nearly a double double with 24.4 points and 9.7 rebounds a game on the season.
This game sets up as another high scoring bout on Thursday, as Minnesota has the best offensive efficiency over the past 15 games and should have Anthony Edwards back to full health. The Grizzlies are tied with the Hornets in scoring, at 113.8 points a game. A nugget to keep an eye on is if they cross the 120 point plateau, because when they do they are yet to lose a game this season (19-0). The over/under is set high at 239 for a reason and that shouldn’t scare you off. These teams will be going up and down at an extreme pace and will eclipse that total with ease.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Over 239 (-110)
The Minnesota Timberwolves have found themselves in the playoff picture, currently sitting in seventh place. On paper, it should come as no surprise as this team has Karl Anthony-Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell, plus veterans like Pat Beverley and up-and-comer Jaden McDaniels. The Timberwolves will have a big test on Thursday as they face one of basketball’s best young teams; a team they should follow the blueprint of in the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis is currently 41-19 and only 1.5 games behind the Golden State Warriors for the two-seed in the conference. Ja Morant has been immaculate this season, as he continues to develop into one of the league’s biggest stars. But he’s not doing it alone: guys like Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. are also evolving, giving Memphis one of the league’s strongest young cores.
THE 1️⃣ pic.twitter.com/5mKTOrFxpQ
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) February 22, 2022
They’ve overcome plenty of challenges this year and they’ll be looking to put a beatdown on a team they should have some epic matchups against in the future if everything goes according to plan. So far this season, these two have faced off three times: the first game went to overtime and went in the Grizzlies favor; the second time Minnesota got payback winning by 40+; and in the most recent matchup the Grizzlies won comfortably. So far, home court has been the advantage in this season’s series, so with this one in Minneapolis, is it safe to give it to the T-Wolves? I’ll take a shot and pick them; even though the Grizzlies have been one of the most consistent teams in the last two months, I’ll go with the young Wolves to grab a big win.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves (+128)
Much like the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Memphis Grizzlies have been the other massive surprise of the season so far. They entered the All-Star break as the 3-seed in the West, with a 41-19 record, and now they look to at least hold onto that positioning through the remaining quarter of the year or so. Ja Morant has been the driving force for this young Grizzlies team, with Jaren Jackson Jr and Desmond Bane giving solid production as well. While the offense has been ridiculously efficient, hitting at least 120 in 6 of their last seven, the biggest concern surrounding this Memphis squad has been their defense, as it’s shaky to say the least.
They now get a Minnesota Timberwolves team that is looking to solidify a playoff spot, as they’re currently right on the edge, sitting at 31-28 on the year. The key for this Minnesota team is to make sure they have their core trio all healthy, as when D’Angelo Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Anthony Edwards are healthy and playing, they’re one of the more dangerous teams in the league. As for this matchup, I’m actually going to take the Wolves to get the win, as I think they get huge minutes from KAT and Edwards, and I think being at home ends up giving them the slight edge. I think this ends up being a close, high-scoring affair, but one I think Minnesota sneaks away with.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves (+128)
Phoenix Suns @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 8pm ET
A clash of two teams in the Western Conference that are on completely different levels. We have the Phoenix Suns, who are leading the Western Conference, with a record of 48-10, and are on a seven game winning streak. On the other hand, we have the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are second to last in the Western Conference, with a record of 18-40, and have lost six of their last seven games.
No team has more wins in the NBA since the start of last season than the Phoenix Suns. That lines up perfectly with them acquiring Chris Paul from the Oklahoma City Thunder and now they’ll need to adjust to life without their Hall of Fame point guard for the next 6-8 weeks. He fractured his thumb in their last game before the break against the Houston Rockets, but a silver lining is they have built up enough wins in the first half of the season with Paul that they will only need to go 12-12 the rest of the way to get to 60 wins. They’ve also gone 4-0 in their games without Paul since he joined the Suns, all coming last year and two in the playoffs. OKC went into the break losers of six of their last seven.
They’re hoping to get some of their players back from injury soon, most notably Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who leads them in scoring and hasn’t played since January 28. Rookie Josh Giddey has stepped up in his absence with three straight triple doubles before the break. He has four on the season and is one of nine players in the NBA averaging 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists this season. This meeting is the third of four between the two this season and the first in Oklahoma City. Phoenix one the first two by an average of 15 points but of course those were with Chris Paul. Now they’ll be without their star, but on the other side, OKC won’t have their leading scorer Shai, so it’s going to be hard for them to get things going offensively. The Suns still have enough depth and firepower even without Paul to cover this spread and win this game against an inferior opponent by double digits.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns -9.5 (-110)
The Phoenix Suns come out of the All-Star break with the NBA’s best record, sitting at 48-10 and dominating on both sides of the ball. Chris Paul continues to show no signs of aging and his backcourt mate Devin Booker keeps putting up big scoring numbers. But it’s not just these two who get the job done, young big man Deandre Ayton continues to evolve and role players such as Cam Johnson, Mikal Bridges and JaVale McGee keep coming up big when the team needs them. On Thursday the Suns get a pretty favorable matchup, as they face the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even though the Thunder are 18-40, they’ve shown a great deal of potential.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) February 22, 2022
That includes Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is averaging nearly 23 points per game and should return from an injury against the Suns on Thursday. Unfortunately, the Thunder will still be without young playmaker Lu Dort, who is battling a shoulder injury. While Dort and Gilgeous-Alexander have battled injuries, the Thunder have seen rookie Josh Giddey grow into a star in the making as he’s had triple-doubles in his last three games. Still, even with this Thunder team seeing some strong play from their youngsters, they probably aren’t looking forward to their Thursday matchup as the Suns outmatch them in almost every department. If the Thunder had all their players available they might have a fighting chance, but with Dort still sidelined and Gilgeous-Alexander just returning for the first time in weeks, I expect the Suns to run away with this one.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns -9.5 (-110)
This game shouldn’t be remotely close, as these two teams are light years apart. The Oklahoma City Thunder enter at 18-40, and while they aren’t the worst team in the league, they’re trying to hover around the conversation. They don’t have much talent, and the talent they do have is extremely inexperienced, which has just compounded problems for them all year long. With a few more pieces, they’ve shown flashes that they could compete, but for now they simply aren’t that close.
On the other side, the Phoenix Suns are the best team in basketball, and similarly, it’s not all that close right now. With Chris Paul putting up major production despite aging, and Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton both playing at high levels, with a solid supporting cast as well, that includes Cameron Johnson and Jae Crowder, this is the team that for me has to be the favorite to win the title as we come out of the All-Star break. Having time to catch their breath, I expect Phoenix to come out and show that in this one, as I think they travel out to OKC and take care of business in a serious manner.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns -9.5 (-110)
Golden State Warriors @ Portland Trail Blazers – 10pm ET
One of the last games of the day will see the Golden State Warriors travel to Portland and take on the Trail Blazers. The Warriors will look to get back on track after the All-Star break, as they have lost four of their last five games, and their season record currently stands at 42-17. The Trail Blazers have won their last four games in a row, including wins over the Lakers, Knicks, Bucks and Grizzlies.
Stephen Curry will hope his All-Star game brilliance will translate to the second half of this regular season when the Warriors travel to Portland on Thursday night. His eighth All-Star game appearance was one of the best performances of all time, as he went off for 50 points on the back of 16 three pointers! It was just an All-Star game but no NBA player has ever hit more than 14 threes in a game so it was definitely a performance for the record books, as he earned the inaugural Kobe Bryant All Star Game MVP. Last time we saw Golden State, they were getting overpowered by Denver’s Nikola Jokic to the tune of 35 points and 17 rebounds. Good news for them is that Portland will be without their big man Jusuf Nurkic, who is out at least four weeks with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
The Blazers will also of course be without Damian Lillard, which makes this the 10th time in the last 18 meetings between these teams that either Curry or Lillard won’t be able to play. Anfernee Simons has stepped up in his place and during Portland’s current four game winning streak he’s scored 29, 30, 30, and 31 points on 51% overall shooting and 47% 3 point shooting. The Blazers had started getting things going a bit before the break, winning four straight but now the halt in play and loss of their center could send things downward quickly. They now only have two healthy players averaging double digits and I just don’t see a way they can compete with the Warriors. Curry and company will feast on this leaky defense and this game will get ugly. Give me the Warriors and the spread.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -9.5 (-106)
Right as there was a glimmer of hope for the Portland Trail Blazers to still contend for a playoff spot, this team just continued to get hit by the injury bug. Newly acquired veteran guard Eric Bledsoe is down with an achilles injury and even worse, center Jusef Nurkic just learned he’ll miss about a month with a foot injury. This will put a lot of pressure on a young backcourt of Anfernee Simons and Josh Hart to keep this team in games. Especially when you’re faced with the task of the Golden State Warriors. Even as the Warriors continue to be without Draymond Green, they still find a way to get it done. Steph Curry is still doing Steph Curry things, and the team recently got back his “splash bro” Klay Thompson from a two year injury.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 24, 2022
They’ve also seen the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and rookie Jonathan Kuminga continue to evolve. This Warriors team has so much depth on both sides of the ball and so many guys who are willing to step up. Still, without Green, they’ve had a couple of questionable slip ups here and there. They lost to an Indiana Pacers “B-team” a little over a month ago at home. Then when everything seemed to be going in their favor with a nine-game win streak the team went onto lose four of five before the All-Star break. This included losses to the lowly New York Knicks and a blowout loss to the inferior Los Angeles Clippers. Nothing is for certain with this Blazers team, but with no Nurkic available to take advantage of Green being out, I’ll take the Warriors to cover in this one.
Michael’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -9.5 (-106)
The Golden State Warriors have been the second best team in basketball for much of the year, though they did falter a bit heading into the break. They’ve lost four of five, but despite that they’re still solidly in the second spot in the West, with a 42-17 record, and I don’t think there’s much of a chance that anyone catches them. With Klay Thompson having finally returned this year, and playing better basketball, I think this is a team to watch out for come the playoffs, as the core of Steph, Klay, and Andrew Wiggins can be absolutely lethal.
Portland, on the other hand, has struggled for a lot of the year, as they spent much of the first half without Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum, and that showed. Now, with them trading McCollum to New Orleans, and it being reported that there’s a really good chance Dame is gone for the rest of the season, they proceeded to run off four straight wins to head into the All-Star break, which surprised a lot of people. Despite the fact that they’ve played better as of late, I still think this Warriors team is just too talented, especially having finally gotten the chance to catch their breath during the break. Give me Golden State on the road in this one, though I do think Portland manages to keep it close.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors (-405)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.