NBA Playoffs Round 1: Free NBA Picks Today for Saturday, April 23rd, 2022

NBA Playoffs Round 1: Free NBA Picks Today for Saturday, April 23rd, 2022
Sat 23rd April 2022

Our free NBA picks are out for Saturday, April 23rd, 2022! Make sure you check our expert NBA picks before the action kicks off.

Look below to find our free NBA picks for the four Round 1 games on today’s schedule!

Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors – 2pm ET

We kick things off in the NBA for Saturday with a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors. This series can be decided in this Game 4, as the 76ers have a 3-0 lead. The 76ers have won by a scoreline of 131-111, 112-97 and 104-101 (in overtime).

Jeffery Thomas

The Philadelphia 76ers have a chance to wrap up their series with the Toronto Raptors on Saturday in 4 games and give Joel Embiid a much needed rest ahead of their second-round matchup with either the Miami Heat or Atlanta Hawks. Embiid hit a turnaround 3-pointer in overtime of Game 3 to give the Sixers the 104-101 victory on the road and take a stranglehold on the series. It was a deflating loss for the Raptors who led by as much as 17 in the game and now is faced with the task of being the first team to ever overcome a 3-0 series deficit.

I think the 76ers have proven that they are clearly the better team and it would make sense for this series to end in a sweep. The combination of Tyrese Maxey, James Harden and Embiid provides a level of firepower that the Raptors just can’t match up with. The loss of Scottie Barnes hasn’t helped their cause and they’ll hope to get the rookie of the year candidate back for Game 4. Even with Barnes back, he won’t be 100% and I don’t think he will provide much resistance to this Philly squad that will be desperate to wrap this series up. Give me the Sixers to move on to the second round with this win on Saturday.

Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Philadelphia 76ers (-138)

Noah Dunlap

After winning Game 3 on the road in Toronto, the Philadelphia 76ers now go for the sweep of this first round series on Saturday, as they take on a Toronto Raptors team that could potentially still be undermanned, depending on the status of Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. After two blowouts in Philly, the Raptors managed to keep Game 3 close, despite dealing with those two being out, but in the end it still wasn’t enough, as they came up short in OT. The key to this matchup is going to be the availability of Joel Embiid, as it was announced that he’s dealing with some ligament strains in his arm. It looks as if he’s going to try to play through the injury, but without knowing how much he can give, or being up 3-0 on the road, how much effort the Sixers team gives as a whole tomorrow, this is a prime opportunity for Toronto to avoid the sweep. 

Toronto, if we’re being honest, already look beat in this series. From virtually halfway through Game 1, they’ve just looked outmatched, and I don’t know how they manage to flip the script. The talent is there to compete, with guys like Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam leading the way, but right now they’ve virtually had no answer for anything they’ve seen. Despite all of this, I’m going to take the Raptors in this one, as I think they take advantage of the Embiid potential injury, and the fact that Philly might just pack it in and take care of business in Game 5 instead, so give me Toronto at home to avoid the sweep, and win a tight one. 

Noah’s NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors (+118)

Tony Battalio

The Philadelphia 76ers are on the verge of closing out the Toronto Raptors only a few years after the Raptors broke their heart in the playoffs. They have been one of the better teams all season long and Joel Embiid has looked like a serious Most Valuable Player award winner. Although it is unlikely that he will win it because everyone expects Nikola Jokic to win his second straight Most Valuable Player award. Philadelphia will be looking to make sure they close this one out in four games. 

Toronto will look to pull out all the stops in this one to avoid being swept in four games and on their own home floor. They held a lead almost the entire game in Game 3 before Embiid hit a game winning three at the buzzer to end the game. They made a lot of headway in the foul shots department in their last game as they weren’t terribly outshot in the game. However, as for the result of this one, I think the 76ers will end this one in four.

Tony’s NBA Pick: Philadelphia 76ers (-138)

Dallas Mavericks @ Utah Jazz – 4.30pm ET

The next game in the NBA for Saturday will see the Dallas Mavericks take on the Utah Jazz. It’s Game 4 of the series, and the Mavericks have a 2-1 lead at the moment. After the Jazz took the first game, 99-93, it’s been back-to-back wins for the Mavericks, winning 110-104 and 126-118.

Jeffery Thomas

The Utah Jazz will play Game 4 at home against the Dallas Mavericks in a must-win situation. Game 3 saw the Jazz lose 118-126 which resulted in the fans in Utah booing their team repeatedly in frustration. The Mavericks have been without their franchise player Luka Doncic this entire series so a 2-1 lead is a surprise to everyone and they now have a chance to put the series in serious doubt for the Utah Jazz. The series lead also gives the Mavericks a little wiggle room and they now do not have to force Doncic back out there before he is ready. 

Jalen Brunson has stepped up in a major way in Luka’s absence, averaging over 30 points a game in the first 3 and he will once again be looked at to provide another big performance in what could be the kill shot win of the series to go up 3-1. Utah is still one of the toughest places to come in and get a win so it was surprising to see Dallas do that in Game 3. I like this Mavs team a lot but the chances that they go on the road and steal both games without their best player are just slim. I think we will see an inspired performance from the Jazz, who have their backs against the wall and led by Donovan Mitchell they will even this series up at 2-2.

Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz (-240)

Noah Dunlap

I’m calling it now, this series is over. The Utah Jazz are dead in the water, and they’re not going to be able to come back. They found themselves in the situation of taking on the Dallas Mavericks without Luka Doncic playing in the first three games of the series, and still find themselves down 1-2, including being absolutely worked by Jalen Brunson in Games 2 and 3, as he’s dropped 72 combined points in those two games. If the Utah Jazz were as good as they wanted to say (or believe) they are, they would’ve been able to take advantage of the Luka-less Mavs, as there’s simply no reason they should be losing games to this team without their superstar. Now, with Luka set to return in this one, I think things continue to spin in favor of Dallas, and they start to cruise.

Part of this issue isn’t just lack of effort or embarrassing basketball by Utah, as some of it is just due to the fact that it’s a bad matchup in a lot of ways, but that still doesn’t excuse the latest losses. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell find themselves having to try to do too much right now, which has been part of the problem, but that won’t be getting any better. If they were up 2-1 right now, this could be a bit of a different story, but with them trailing, and with Doncic returning to the lineup for Dallas, I think this series is just about wrapped up. Give me Dallas to get another win on the road here, and start looking to end things at home in Game 5. Take the Mavs by 7-10. 

Noah’s NBA Pick: Dallas Mavericks (+198)

Tony Battalio

The Dallas Mavericks took a 2-1 lead in Game 3 of this series. Jalen Brunson once again stepped up and scored 31 points in Game 3 as they picked up another win without Luka Doncic. Now they will be looking to get another victory on the road so they can come back home and grab the series victory in Game 5. Dallas will rely on another big performance from Brunson in case Luka still isn’t back for Game 4 of this series. 

The Utah Jazz will be looking to even the series up at 2-2 in this one. In Game 3 they once again failed to contain Jalen Brunson as he dropped another 30 plus point performance on the road in Salt Lake City. They did get a decent performance out of Donovan Mitchell as he dropped 32 points himself and they will be hoping for him to repeat that here in Game 4 so the Jazz can get level. As for the result of this one, that is exactly what I expect as I have the Utah Jazz picking up the victory in this one. 

Tony’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz (-240)

Boston Celtics @ Brooklyn Nets – 7.30pm ET

Game 3 in the series between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, and it is becoming a must win for the Nets, as they are currently 0-2 down. The Celtics got through in a nail biter in Game 1, winning 115-114, and then they got another win in Game 2, 114-107.

Jeffery Thomas

The Celtics and Nets series will now shift to Brooklyn after Boston took care of business in the first two games at home and now hold a 2-0 lead. Kevin Durant will be desperate to get back out there after a disappointing Game 2 that saw him miss all 10 of his shots in the second half of the 107-114 loss. The Nets lead by as much as 17 in the game, but the defensive-minded Celtics were able to turn up the pressure late and rally to defend home court. The Nets shot just 5-19 from the field in the 4th quarter and Jaylen Brown had 10 of his 22 in the quarter to bring the win home. 

Their goal now is to steal one of the next two games on the road to take a stranglehold on the series and close things out back at home in Game 5. The Celtics are up 2-0 in the series but could easily be down 0-2 if certain things didn’t go their way. Both games have been winnable for Brooklyn and I feel like being back at home is exactly what they need to finally get in the win column of this series. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have won championships and seen it all in the playoffs, and this moment won’t be too big for either of those two. In this must-win situation, I’m comfortable backing the Nets to get this home win and make the series a little more interesting. 

Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Brooklyn Nets (-158)

Noah Dunlap

This is another series that has been a bit odd to watch to this point, as the Boston Celtics lead 2-0, but could easily be down 0-2 as well. They used a buzzer-beater in Game 1 to get the win, and then had to erase a large deficit in Game 2 to climb back and pull out the victory. A lot of this has been due to huge shot-making from Jayson Tatum down the stretch, but it is also due in large part to the effort on the defensive side of the floor, especially in the second half. As long as they bring the effort on the defensive end, which I think they will, I think they should end up being able to control much of this series, and potentially get a sweep. Brooklyn finds themselves in a strange situation, as they haven’t played all that bad, but are still in a 0-2 hole. 

They easily could’ve gotten a win in Game 1, as Kyrie had a huge night, but inefficiency from Kevin Durant ended up hurting their chances in the eventual loss, and then, in Game 2, an atrocious second half from KD and Kyrie put a nail in their coffin. The two superstars shot a combined 1-17 in the last 24 minutes of play, and they watched a once double-digit lead turn into a loss. They clearly have to play much better down the stretch against a really good Celtics team in order to get a win to turn this back into a series, and I think that’s exactly what they do. I think we get another extremely close basketball game, but returning to Brooklyn, I like the Nets to manage a close win. Take the Nets by 5-7.  

Noah’s NBA Pick: Brooklyn Nets -3 (-112)

Tony Battalio

The Boston Celtics are looking to push the Brooklyn Nets to the brink in this one. As they have taken a commanding 2-0 lead in this series heading into Game 3. Led by another big Jayson Tatum performance as he put up a double-double in Game 2. He put up 19 points and 10 assists to help lead the Boston Celtics to another huge victory. Jaylen Brown also added 22 points on the way to the 114-107 victory. 

The Brooklyn Nets are perhaps the best seven seed in the history of the National Basketball Association. However they haven’t looked that way throughout the first two games of this series. After an incredible play-in win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, they now will need to find a way to win Game 3 to stay alive. They will need a big performance from both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to get a win. As for the result of this one however, I am taking the Boston Celtics to pick up the win.

Tony’s NBA Pick: Boston Celtics (+132)

Memphis Grizzlies @ Minnesota Timberwolves – 10pm ET

The final game on the schedule for Saturday will be Game 4 in the series between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves got the win in Game 1, 130-117, but after that it’s been all the Grizzlies, winning Game 2, 124-96, and Game 3, 104-95.

Jeffery Thomas

The Minnesota Timberwolves may have suffered their most costly loss of the season on Thursday when they dropped Game 3 at home. The 7 seeded Wolves had a chance to take a commanding 2-1 lead with another home game coming up but blew multiple 20-point leads and eventually lost in stunning fashion 95-104. Minnesota led for 39 of the 48 minutes in Game 4, but the 0-21 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters was enough to turn the momentum fully on Memphis’ side and it’s going to be hard to see the Wolves rebound from that loss. Karl-Anthony Towns’ disappearance from the series has been costly as well, as the All-Star has made just 11 shots and scored 23 points combined in Games 2 and 3. 

A huge bounce-back will be needed from him on Saturday or this series will be over quickly. Minnesota’s chance to take control of the series was squandered and like I said before, I don’t think they will be able to rebound mentally from that loss. This is a young inexperienced team that hasn’t dealt with these types of adverse situations in the playoffs and this is all going to be a learning experience for them for the future. In the present though, I don’t think they’ll win another game this series and the Grizzlies made that comeback win in Game 3 with Ja Morant only scoring 16 points. I think Ja makes his mark in Game 4 with 30+ points and leads his team to a commanding 3-1 lead heading back home for Game 5.

Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Memphis Grizzlies (-154)

Noah Dunlap

The Memphis Grizzlies have to win this basketball game. I understand the notion that you typically don’t associate must-win scenarios to teams that are up 2-1 in a series, but when you come from behind in the manner that Memphis did in Game 3 to get the win, Game 4 is the kind of situation where you can solidify that by showing that you have simply stolen a team’s soul. When you erase two different 20-point deficits, including being down by as many as 26, to get a win, you have to capitalize on that and not let the team that squandered the lead back in it. The Grizz have shown multiple times now in this series that they can just take over when they want to, as they dominated Game 2, and then used a 50-12 run to win Game 3, but they need a similar performance in this one. The good news for Memphis fans in that sense, is that despite a triple-double from Ja Morant on Thursday night, their superstar point guard didn’t play well at all, and neither did Jaren Jackson, or Dillon Brooks for much of the night. 

If they can get the win on a night like that, then this is the kind of series they should just be able to take care of in the long run. For Minnesota, the key question becomes how does a young team like this respond to that kind of collapse. They were on the verge of being up 2-1, and instead find themselves down, due to one of the worst postseason collapses we’ve ever seen. The obvious answer is that Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards have to play much better, as both have struggled in the last two games, following great performances in Game 1. They clearly have the talent and the potential to, but with the collapse, and the kind of toll that that takes on you mentally, I just don’t think they get up off the mat, even at home. Give me the Grizz to capitalize in this one and start looking towards wrapping the series up at home in Game 5. 

Noah’s NBA Pick: Memphis Grizzlies (-154)

Tony Battalio

The Memphis Grizzlies pulled off an incredible comeback in Game 3 of this series to take a 2-1 series lead. Now they will be looking to take a 3-1 lead and head back home to close out the series in Game 5. Ja Morant only scored 16 points in Game 2 and the Grizzlies still found a way to win. Now they will look to get a better performance out of Morant in this one to try and take a commanding 3-1 lead. 

The Minnesota Timberwolves are coming into this one looking to bounce back after blowing a massive lead in the third game of this series. D’Angelo Russell dropped 22 points in a great effort and now they will need another one like that to pick up a much needed victory in Game 4. Minnesota has been playing fired up ever since their emotional play-in game win over the Los Angeles Clippers a week and a half ago. As for the result of this one however, I am taking the Grizzlies to get the win. 

Tony’s NBA Pick: Memphis Grizzlies (-154)

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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.

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