NBA Picks and Predictions for March 21st

Boston Celtics -2 @ New York Knicks

New York has been scuffling lately, dropping three of their last five and falling to just 7-8 since making the ‘Melo deal. Fans hoping for a quick, automatic rise to the title might need to pump their brakes a bit.

However, New York appears to at least be turning a corner defensively. In their first 12 games together, Carmelo’s Knicks were allowing a jaw-dropping 117.3 points per game. In their three most recent efforts, despite the losses, they played better, allowing just 99.3 points a contest.

Boston has hit a little slide lately as well, dropping three of five. However, they are still dead even with the Bulls for the top spot in the East. They have taken a few losses, but don’t blame their defense. KG and crew have been stout as ever, allowing only 81.8 points a night.

Boston has played New York well this season, and tends to ratchet up the defense for these types of games. The Garden will be at fever-pitch, but that suits Pierce and Garnett just fine. Gimme the Celtics keeping the heat on Chicago with a big road win.

PICK: Boston Celtics -2 – Click here to bet it at BetED and get a $250 Bonus!!

Utah Jazz @ Memphis Grizzlies -8

What a difference a month makes… just six weeks or so ago, the Jazz were a lock for the Playoffs and the Grizz were still fighting to get in the race. Today? The Jazz are in 11th and sinking fast, while Memphis holds a 1 ½ game cushion for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

The Jazz have been dreadful of late, going just 5-15 over their past 20 games. Their problems have been on both sides of the ball; they can’t score and they seemed to have abandoned trying to defend as well.

Memphis has been playing well, forging a two-game lead in the loss column over the Houston Rockets. Tonight is a great matchup for them to extend that lead even further. The Jazz struggle mightily to defend the post. Both Milsap and Kirilenko are plus-defenders, but both are more effective outside of the paint. Zach Randolph will eat that matchup alive.

“Z-Bo” has averaged 27.5 points and 13 boards against the Jazz, and not surprisingly they have won three straight against them, largely because of Randolph. Tonight, I think they make it number four, playing great at home against the completely defeated and demoralized Jazz.

PICK: Memphis Grizz -8 – Click here to bet it at BetED and get a $250 Bonus!!

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Chris Scheeren / Author

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