NBA Picks and Predictions for April 26th

The Denver Nuggets stayed alive last night, narrowly escaping with a 104-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Nothing too surprising so far in that series. However the other team that moved to a 3-1 series lead last night is a bit of a surprise.

The Memphis Grizzlies pushed the San Antonio Spurs to the brink of elimination last night – and pushed them with some authority. Memphis used a 14-2 run to open the second half to blow the game open and never looked back. Now Pop and his Spurs will head home, and start the long climb back towards avoiding only the second opening round loss by a #1 seed since the format expanded to best of seven.

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Today’s Free NBA Picks:

Indiana Pacers @ Chicago Bulls -9 (Total: 18)

The Spurs 3-1 deficit can be seen as a bit embarrassing. Meanwhile, the Pacers 3-1 deficit has been downright impressive. If not for a few Derrick Rose takeovers, the series could very well 3-1 in the opposite direction. The intensity of the Playoffs seems to have been a bit of an eye-opener for the youthful Bulls.

The get their next lesson in Playoff education tonight; attempting to win a close-out game. The Pacers have been anything but an easy-out thus far in the Playoffs. Every single game has come down to the wire, and if anything, the closeness of the games has emboldened the young Pacers rather than intimidated them.

Yes, they still have no answer for Derrick Rose, but they seem to have figured out how to slow most of the other Bulls. The lone exceptions have been Luol Deng and Kyle Korver. Korver has been especially problematic, hitting back-breaking late game threes to seal Chicago wins.

Tonight, I guess Vegas figures the Pacers have finally run out of gas – that’s the only explanation for a nine point line that would break the trend set in the first four games. I’m not sure I agree. I thing tonight is going to be another exciting game. It is pretty likely the Bulls will close out the series, but I’ll gladly take Indy with the 9 points.

PICK: Indiana Pacers +9

New Orleans Hornets @ Los Angeles Lakers -10 (Total: 183)

Betting on the Lakers has been a dicey proposition lately, as you never quite know what team is going to show up. I could make a compelling argument for a Laker blowout win tonight; and I could make the same argument very convincingly for the Hornets getting 10 points in a series they have played very well in…

Rather than waver back and forth, I’d rather take the wager I feel very confident in; the OVER 183. Scoring has been the issue, especially for the Hornets, where Chris Paul has been a triple-double machine, sparking the hornet offense, even without David West scoring from the post (he’s out injured).

The Lakers have not quite been clicking offensively, but I expect Lamar Odom and Pao Gasol to begin to exploit some favorable matchups. I like this score approaching triple-digits tonight, enough to easily cover the 183 total.


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Chris Scheeren / Author

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