Our free NBA picks went an incredible 4-1 last night and brought in a massive $187.72 profit for a $100 bettor! We are on fire right now, going 10-5 through the first three days of the week and we aren’t slowing down any time soon!
With all five of tonight’s contests that we have analysed, previewed and picked winners for having playoff and play-in ramifications, you won’t want to miss out on this!
Los Angeles Clippers @ Charlotte Hornets – 7PM ET
The Charlotte Hornets host a Western Conference team for the third straight game and the Los Angeles Clippers will be hoping to make it three losses from three games for the home side. Charlotte have dropped two straight, seeing them now tied for eighth with Indiana and in serious danger of slipping into the 9v10 play-in game. The Clippers on the other hand simply need to keep winning to hold Denver off, currently one game up on the Nuggets for third in the West.
LA started their four game road trip to finish the season off in style. Just one week after playing the Raptors at home and only winning by five points, the Clippers came out with better intent from the jump, eventually winning 115-96. Kawhi Leonard had team highs of 20 points and five assists while Ivica Zubac had a nice game inside, finishing with an 18 point, 10 rebound double double.
When these sides met in LA, in the middle of March, the Clippers were far too good, winning 125-98. While Charlotte gets back home for this one, which should be a positive for them, they won’t have Gordon Hayward tonight, who was their best player in that previous encounter.
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) May 12, 2021
Over the last few games, despite getting LaMelo Ball and Devonte’ Graham back from injury, the Hornets have lacked the polish and crunch time play that Hayward brought to the team through the early parts of the season. In Tuesday’s 112-117 loss to the Nuggets, Charlotte had five players score 13+, including a game high 31 from Graham, but their defense let them down again.
Charlotte have been able to keep in games, especially against good sides, by having a shooting contest against them. That might be hard against this defensive minded Clippers side that ranks ninth for defensive rating and allows the fourth fewest points per game. On top of that, Charlotte’s defense comes in at just 17th and with the Clippers having a top three offense all season, they won’t be able to slow them down in this one.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Indiana Pacers – 7PM ET
Could the Indiana Pacers beat two of the top three teams in the East in the space of three days? Two nights after beating an Embiid-less Sixers side, the Pacers host the Milwaukee Bucks with a win meaning everything for both sides. Indiana are tied for eighth in the East with Charlotte and they will be desperate to avoid Washington and the 9v10 play-in game, while Milwaukee are a game behind the Nets and would much prefer to jump to second, playing the seventh seed in comparison to the sixth seed.
Milwaukee comes in with some spotty form and playing on the road continues to be an issue for them. The Bucks started the week with a massive 125-146 loss in San Antonio, before returning home to beat the lowly Magic 114-102. Six different Bucks scored in double figures in the win with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way with 27 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
The worry for Milwaukee, and a big reason they struggle on the road, is that they allow the second highest three point percentage when travelling. In their loss to the Spurs, a team that averaged just over 10 threes per game heading into the matchup, the Bucks allowed San Antonio to make 17 threes, including 12 in the first half. That could be a worry against the Pacers who have won their last two games and made 14 threes against Philly on Tuesday, who have the second best defensive rating in the league.
Domantas Sabonis had another spectacular game for Indiana, finishing with a 16 point, 15 assists, 13 rebound triple double. His playmaking ability, in the absence of Malcolm Brogdon, had seen the likes of Doug McDermott (20 points) and Caris LeVert (24 points) an opportunity to find their spots and knock down open looks.
Given there is so much on the line for both sides, we expect both teams to put their best foot forward. However the advantage has to go to Milwaukee in this one. The Pacers may have won two straight, but they beat the Cavs and the Sixers, without their best player. A full strength Milwaukee is a lot better than either of those two teams and have a lot more to play for, and a lot more to prove, in this one.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Miami Heat – 7:30PM ET
The Miami Heat have taken their destiny by the scruff of the neck and are playing some incredible basketball lately. The Heat have now won three straight games, six straight in which Jimmy Butler has played, and now host the East-leading Philadelphia Sixers in the matchup of the night.
While sitting two games clear on top of the conference, the Sixers still need to win one more game to clinch first place and home court advantage throughout the playoffs. That wasn’t what happened on Tuesday, losing 94-103 in Indiana. To be fair, Joel Embiid and Shake Milton were both late outs for that one, but the worry is that the pair are listed as just questionable for tonight’s game.
Butler, the ex-Sixer, had made a statement against one of his former teams, the Timberwolves, within the last week and we can almost guarantee that he will want to make another in this one. He is listed as just questionable for this clash but if fit, he will want to get up in Ben Simmons’s grill in this one, but Simmons has some good recent form, putting up 20 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals on Tuesday.
The Heat are back 🔥
Miami has clinched its playoff spot! pic.twitter.com/jwdH61nwm6
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 12, 2021
Miami’s form is superior though, with their 129-121 win in Boston being their second straight over the Celtics and third straight overall. This win was impressive as Butler lasted just 17 minutes before being sidelined, with Bam Adebayo (22 points), Duncan Robinson (22 points) and Tyler Herro (24 points and 11 boards) all stepping up in his absence.
These sides have already met twice, in Philadelphia, this season with the Sixers winning both. Miami were without Butler and Adebayo in both of the losses, so there is some upside for them in this. Philly has performed worse away from home this season and if Embiid is unable to suit up, they will be behind the eight ball. However, Butler’s status is the big one. Miami are just 6-12 in games played without their superstar and whether he plays or not could determine the outcome.
Miami have already clinched a top six seed in the East, but they have an opportunity to climb up to fourth and host a first round playoff series. Given that is on the line and Philly don’t need to win this game, we expect Butler to come out and lead his side to victory.
San Antonio Spurs @ New York Knicks – 7:30PM ET
The New York Knicks return home from a six game, West Coast road trip to host the San Antonio Spurs this evening. The Knicks ended up going 3-3 across the six games but now return to The Garden having clinched a playoff berth with their sights now set on securing a home playoff series. The Spurs on the other hand need just one win from their last three games to ensure they stay 10th in the West and their playoff dreams are still alive.
Things didn’t go the way San Antonio would have wanted last night, losing in Brooklyn 116-128. DeMar DeRozan had an equal game high 21 points while Dejounte Murray filled the stat sheet with 15 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and three steals but the Spurs’ defense let them down. They allowed eight different Brooklyn players to score in double figures with the 128 being the most they have given up over the last two weeks.
This might be San Antonio’s best opportunity to get the win that they so desperately need, given they host Phoenix for their last two games of the season. They also beat the Knicks in their only other matchup this season, winning by 26 points in early March. New York will have other ideas though, hoping their offense can get back in the swing of things after such a long road trip.
The Knicks have averaged just over 100 points per game over their last four, relying on their defense to get them wins. Ranking 25th for points per game this season, New York’s offense actually improves by five points per game when playing at home and after the Spurs’ defensive showing last night, they’ll be hoping to capitalize. With that being said, Julius Randle and Derrick Rose have been giving everything they have on a nightly basis and are a big reason why the Knicks are where they are at the moment.
Despite losing 99-101 to the Lakers, in overtime, Randle finished with a game high 31 points, eight rebounds and five assists while Rose had 27, six and six off the bench. Those two have led the Knicks to within striking distance of a home playoff series in the first round and will be the reason they get the job done tonight. San Antonio is just 5-9 on the second night of back to backs while New York is an incredible 13-1 as home favorites.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Phoenix Suns – 10PM ET
Just like Golden State earlier in the week, the Portland Trail Blazers have defeated the league-leading Jazz one night and have an opportunity to beat the Phoenix Suns the next. Portland became just the fourth team to defeat the Jazz in Utah last night and now head to Phoenix in an attempt to further their chances at avoiding the play-in.
Damian Lillard led from the front, putting up a game high 30 points while his trusty sidekick CJ McCollum finished with 26, four and four. Things were looking bleak for the Blazers, going down by as many as 12 in the first six minutes but a 35-25 second quarter put them in front and they never looked back.
The question now is, whether they can back it up against a really good side again tonight. They should be up to it, winning 10 of their last 11 games but are susceptible to a poor night when travelling for a back to back. Two weeks ago the Blazers beat Boston by 10 but then lost to the Hawks by nine the next night. On top of that, Phoenix will come out hard after a disappointing fourth quarter on Tuesday.
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) May 13, 2021
Holding a six point lead heading into the final 12 minutes, Phoenix had a breakdown on both ends of the floor, losing the last 18-30 and subsequently the game 116-122. Devin Booker had a team high 34 points, Chris Paul finished with a 24 point, 10 assist double double and Jae Crowder shot 6/10 from deep for 20 points, but they still couldn’t get over the line.
The Suns do return home, where they are 26-9 for the season, but Portland are 22-13 on the road, the second best road record in the league, and have everything to play for. If Portland wins, it will put them 1.5 games up on the Lakers and clear of the play-ins. Meanwhile Phoenix are 1.5 games behind the Jazz for top of the West and a win here would put them just one game behind with two games remaining.
This game has so many ramifications with up to five different teams being impacted by the results, but we have to side with the in-form team. As mentioned, the Blazers have won 10 of their last 11 games, have the second best road record in the league and will be hungry for this win.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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