NBA Picks and Predictions for February 27th

The stars are certainly aligned on this Sunday’s slate of matchups. First, Kobe, Pao and the Lakers square off with Durant, Westbrook, and the Oklahoma Thunder. Unfortunately we won’t get the sneak preview many of us NBA fans are anxious to see – how well the Thunder can defend the Lakers’ bigs with the addition of Kendrick Perkins. Perk is still about two or three weeks from healthy, according to the Thunder’s reports.

I suppose we will have to wait until the Playoffs to find out for sure. Meanwhile tonight in Miami we didn’t even have to wait a week to get a chance to see how the Knicks new star-studded roster fares against the talent conglomerate assembled in South Beach.

I’m not sure the Knicks can defend even close to well enough to win a playoff series in the West, particularly in the sixth position they now, and will likely continue to, occupy. However, that doesn’t take away from the intrigue when Amare’, Carmelo and Chauncey taken their collective talents to South Beach tonight.

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Today’s Free NBA Picks:

New York Knicks @ Miami Heat -8.5

Well, I’m not sure if the Knicks are truly much better in the short run, but they sure are a heckuva lot more interesting. The new-look Knicks are playing just their third game together tonight, and the early reviews have been mixed. Their first outing, which Knick fans allegedly shelled out as much as $10,000 to sit courtside for, was a success as Carmelo’s 27 and 10 led them to a 114-108 victory.

Their second outing, not so much. The Knicks joined some rare and dubious company, being one of only nine teams to fall to the Cleveland Cavaliers. More disturbing than the loss? The 115 points they gave up to the offensively challenged Cavs in the process. There is no doubt this team will be able to score points. The question as to whether or not they can defend starting at least three starters who are below-average defenders remains to be answered.

For tonight, I’m wagering they can’t. The Miami Heat are not the team you want to try and solve your defensive woes against. Even worse for the Knicks, their minus defenders likely have to matchup with a prolific and dangerous scorer.

The Heat have been sharp, and likely will be forced to continue to be thanks to the consistent fantastic play by both Boston and Chicago. The Heat are 12-2 over their last 14 games, but nine of them have been by seven points or less. That means they are doing enough to win, but not burying opponents, even clearly inferior ones. Washington, Toronto and Indiana were all allowed to hang around until late in the game.

However, I think the Heat tend to get ‘bored’ if you will; meaning they know they have the win easily so they take their foot off the gas pedal a little bit. The Knicks may not be a truly great team, but the media coverage and star power tonight will make it feel like it. Perhaps just enough to get Miami’s attention.

PICK: Miami Heat -8.5 – click here to bet it at BetED.com and get $250 free!

Houston Rockets @ New Orleans Hornets -8

It looks like the Hornets are finally getting healthy. Emeka Okafor returned after missing ten games, and it looks as if David West should make his return this evening. That’s not just a huge talent life, but a great emotional life for New Orleans as well.

The Rockets have been lighting up the scoreboard over their last three games they have averaged a sizzling 115.3 points a contest. However, the Hornets have all but owned the Rockets the last two years, winning five consecutive games.

Perhaps adding even more importance to David West’s return is the fact he has averaged over 27 points and 11 boards in their previous six matchups. Even more impressive, the Hornets last three wins over Houston all came on the road. That should make tonight’s Cajun home cooking even a little bit more tasty for the Hornets.

PICK: New Orleans -6 – click here to bet it at BetED.com and get $250 free!

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Chris Scheeren / Author