NBA Picks and Predictions for February 16th

Lebron James may very well capture his third consecutive MVP Award, but for tonight, Miami was once again located squarely in “Wade” County. D-Wade went off against the red hot Pacers, dropping a season-high 41 points to go with 12 rebounds.

Sure, the Heat may be only 1-6 against the league’s elite teams, but when Dwayne Wade is giving you 41, it is yet another stunning reminder of the incredible depth of amazing talent this team possesses. Boston may very well take the top seed in the East, and undoubtedly the road to the NBA Championship at some point is going to run through Boston, but don’t underestimate the fight they are going to have to brace themselves for in the Miami Heat.

Let’s get to today’s free picks:

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Today’s Free NBA Picks:

Washington Wizards @ Orlando Magic -11

Let’s see; the league’s worst road team in the Washington Wizards (1-26) heads to Orlando to face a well rested Magic team. That doesn’t bode well for John Wall and company.

For the Magic, their biggest obstacle might be themselves. Following Sunday’s emotional win over the Lakers with anything resembling maximum effort and focus might be difficult. However, as long as Dwight Howard shows up, it might be enough. The Magic big man has recorded a double-double in fourteen consecutive games, averaging 24.8 points and a whopping 16.1 rebounds during that stretch. Add in his 63.6% shooting percentage, and it sounds like Superman needs to be in the MVP discussion with Lebron and Derrick Rose.

The Magic are 9-1 in their past ten games against sub .500 teams. The Wizards, at a dismal 15-38 certainly fall into that category. The Wizards gave the Magic a surpringly tough 100-99 battle this season, but in their other five most recent meetings, have been handled by an average of 19.2 ppg; never finishing closer than 14 down.

Despite the large sum of points the Wizards receive on most nights, they are still a pathetic 7-16 against the spread over their past 23 games… Hmmm, bad road team versus a rested good home team who has historically blown them out? Too many strong indicators to ignore. Take the Magic and lay the points.

PICK: Orlando Magic-11

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Los Angeles Lakers -11 @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Cheer up Cleveland fans, tonight you finally get the preview of the long-anticipated NBA Finals dream match-up! Kobe versus… oh, um… nevermind.

I suppose it is cruel to pour on the poor fans of Cleveland, and even though I feel bad, you can rest assured the Lakers and Kobe will not. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll see his Lakers team at their peak effort. The one predictable thing about the Lakers’ unpredictability has been their tendency to completely mail it in against the league’s worst teams. They own the fourth best record in the NBA, yet have eight losses to teams under .500, including the Clippers, Kings and Timberwolves.

Does that mean Cleveland can pull the upset? No. Even Lamar Odom and Pao Gasol can’t mail it in quite THAT much. It does mean that the Cavs will likely be allowed to hover far closer than they have any business being. For that reason, and that reason ONLY, I like the Cavs tonight getting a bundle of points at home.

PICK: Cleveland Cavs +11

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Chris Scheeren / Author