NBA Picks and Predictions for April 1st

Either the Celtics made a great statement, winning 107-97 at San Antonio, or the Spurs made an even bigger statement, losing, again, at home in unspectacular fashion.

There is probably some truth to both statements, but the larger importance has to be attached to San Antonio. The Spurs have been completely lost the last two weeks without Tim Duncan. The losses are piling up quickly and the Lakers are closing rapidly.

What once looked like a possible run at the Bulls all-time single season wins record is quickly unraveling to a potential first-round playoff exit.

Today’s Free NBA Picks:

Boston Celtics -1.5 @ Atlanta Hawks

Boston got a much needed win last night, knocking off the Spurs in San Antonio. Tonight they try to keep it going on the back-end of a back-to-back in Atlanta.

This is a battle of two teams who have experienced their fair share of troubles the last few weeks. However, Atlanta is settled pretty comfortably in the fifth position in the East while Boston is in an absolute battle with the Heat for the #2, as well as still in shouting distance of the Bulls for the top slot.

The biggest reason for the Celtics decline since the controversial Kendrick Perkins trade hasn’t been defense; it’s been scoring the basketball. They’ve averaged just 88.5 points over that stretch and shot under 43% from the floor. It’s hard to say ANY of that has to do with Kendrick Perkins’ 4ppg being subtracted.

It is much more likely a little fatigue setting in as the season grows long before the second season begins. The Celtics have played well against Atlanta, punishing them on the glass with rebounds and second shots – outscoring them by 30 points in two games.

Tonight, none of the size inside that damaged the Hawks previously will be here – no Shaq, no Jermaine O’Neal, and no Kendrick. Just a tired Celtics team on the road for the second straight night. It’s hard for me to lay points on the road because of that. I do not love the Hawks tonight, but I love the C’s even less… Give me the Hawks with the points.

PICK: Atlanta Hawks +1.5 – click here to check out the crazy betting system

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Portland Trailblazers -2.5

The Thunder have a chance to sweep the Blazers for the season with a win tonight. OKC has played fantastic lately, and with the lull in Dallas and the injuries in San Antonio, have emerged as the primary threat to the Lakers in the Playoffs.

Portland might be right behind them. That makes tonight’s game a fantastic one. OKC has reeled off five straight wins, wrapping up March with a 14-2 record.

In two of the Thunder’s three wins over Portland, the margin was a slim three points (Sunday they won by nine). I think that bodes well for the Blazers tonight. They have played close, competitive games and now gets to try and exact some revenge at home in the Rose Garden where they rarely lose.

I like the Blazers tonight, don’t worry about laying the 2.5.

PICK: Portland Trailblazers -2.5 – click here to check out the crazy betting system

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Chris Scheeren / Author

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