We had a split in our NBA picks last night with Washington dropping a game at Orlando and Denver routing the Nets at home to resume their reliable winning ways. Tonight, we will aim for a winning night with a trio of quick NBA picks.
Portland Trailblazers at Golden State Warriors -9.5
The Warriors have all but secured their playoff spot after flirting with some vulnerability a month ago. Part of it is the continued inconsistent play of Utah, Los Angeles and Dallas. Another part of it is the improved play of the Warriors. They have won six of their last nine games, and aside from the most recent outing, an inexplicable home loss to Sacramento, have been winning the games they are supposed to.
Tonight falls into the “should win” category. Portland is on the back end of a road back-to-back, and last night’s loss all but sealed their lottery fate. There is no way they’ll rush LaMarcus Alderidge back to the court tonight, and without him, it is hard to see them putting up a big fight in the Bay Area tonight. I like Golden State to win comfortably tonight at home.
Free Pick: Golden State Warriors -9.5
Memphis Grizzlies -3.5 at Minnesota Timberwolves
The Grizzlies have beaten the Wolves all ten times they have met since the 2010-2011 season, and more often than not, it hasn’t been pretty. All ten of their wins have been by four or more points with the average margin being in double-digits. In short, they OWN Minnesota.
Which might be a relief for a Grizzlies team that has struggled of late, especially on the road where they have dropped five straight games. A few of them are excusable; losing at Utah, Denver and the Knicks. Losing at New Orleans is a little tougher to rationalize. Tonight is a good chance for them to clean up their road woes before the playoffs. I suspect they will.
Free Pick: Memphis Grizzlies -3.5
Los Angeles Clippers at Houston Rockets -1
This is an interesting matchup and a possible first-round preview if LA can secure the third spot in the West. Both teams are much better at home this season than on the road, but the Clippers have been an abve-average NBA road team at 21-16.
However, the Clipps have struggle away from Staples recently, dropping five of their last six road games. Their last outing was a respectable 104-102 loss at San Antonio, but prior to that they got bounced by 15 at both Sacramento and Denver. Houston has won six of their last eight at home and is outscoring opponents by an average of 7.1 points per game at home this season.
I like Houston and James Harden to come up big tonight, if for no other reason than to let the Clippers know it won’t be an easy path through them should they meet again in a few weeks.
Free Pick: Houston Rockets -1