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Knicks vs Heat Pick April 2nd + NBA Bonus Pick

The Grizzlies made a valiant comeback last night to extend their home winning streak and get a much-needed victory over the Spurs.  Mike Conley’s driving layup with under a second to go sealed the win, but they came up just shy of the cover.  The Grizz winning streak extends, but unfortunately, ours does not.

Let’s get back on track with some picks for tonight’s light slate of NBA games.  There are only three to choose from, but the pair on TNT are both very interesting games.  The Knicks head to Miami one half game back of the Pacers for the second spot in the East, while Miami should be, ehem, ‘well rested’ after the breather Lebron and Wade got in San Antonio.

The second game is do-or-die for two aging star-laden teams, the Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks.  The Lakers enter tonight even with the Jazz but behind in the tie-breaker and a game and a half ahead of Dallas.  A Dallas loss tonight would all but seal their lottery fate.  A win however…. Things get really, really interesting out West.

So – who’s winning tonight’s pivotal contests?  Let’s dig into some numbers to get a better glimpse.

New York Knicks at Miami Heat -7.5

It looks like James and Wade will again sit this one out, and despite the heroic performance from Chris Bosh and the reserves in San Antonio, repeating that effort and output against a Knick team that needs a win seems unlikely.

The Knicks have been playing great basketball lately, going 5-0 ATS in their last five games against teams with winning records and covering in eight of their last nine games overall.  JR Smith became the first reserved to be named NBA Player of the Week in 22 years (since Ricky Pierce in 1990), and the entire offense is clicking.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Knicks win tonight straight up.  After all, they’ve played the Heat well this season when they are at full strength, let alone when they are without their two best players.

Give me the Knicks to cover, with a lean towards taking a flyer on the moneyline at +275

Free Pick:  New York Knicks +7.5

Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers -3 (Total: 207)

Both of these teams desperately need to win tonight, not just to out-position the other, but to keep pace with the pesky Utah Jazz who continue to narrowly hold onto the 8th spot in the Playoffs.  If both these teams were healthy the entire season, based on their play since the All-Star break, we’d be having a different conversation; but they weren’t – so tonight’s showdown is one of survival rather than positioning in the tourney…

These two teams are not noted for their defensive prowess, and have each allowed a ton of points in their head-to-head matchups.  In fact, four of the last five games have gone over tonight’s total of 207.  I expect a similar offensively-oriented game tonight.  Both teams are allowing over 101 points per game, well over the league average of 98.  And both have prolific scorers who will be focused on doing WHATEVER it takes to win tonight.  That generally means a big output from both Dirk and Kobe.

It should be an entertaining game tonight.  I have a lean toward the Lakers at home, but my official pick is on the OVER 207.

Free Pick:  Total Points OVER 207