NBA Picks and Predictions for March 4th

For their next Magic trick, Orlando will mke the Miami Heat dissappear! Poof!

A bit of exageration, but that’s certainly what it must have felt like for Heat fans as they watched their team blow a 24-point late 3rd quarter lead en route to yet another loss against Top 4 teams in either conference; falling 99-96.

The Heat had two chances to tie it in regualtion, but when both Chris Bosh and LeBron James missed open three-point attempts, the Magic vanished with the win. Last night’s game tied the season series between the two rivals at two wins apiece.

The frightening thing for the Heat? That’s as good of a mark as they have posted this season against any team that’s wearing white on opening night of the NBA Playoffs.

Crazy: System has one big NBA play tonight… click here to see 8)

Today’s Free NBA Picks:

Chicago Bulls +2 @ Orlando Magic

I’m less interested in stats for this game than I am basic human emotion. The Magic last night pulled out an incredible comeback, overcoming a 24-point second half deficit to take down their hated rival Miami. Now, less than 24 hours later, they have to lace ’em back up and go take on one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

Oh, and they have to guard Derrick Rose.

Surprisingly, guarding Rose hasn’t been a big issue this season for the Magic. In their December first meeting, the Magic held Rose to just 5 of 13 shooting in a dominating 107-78 win. Later on Jan 28th, Rose struggled even more mightily, shooting just 6 of 21 in another Bulls loss.

There is an old axiom in sports that it is tough to beat a team three times. I think the same thing probably holds true for holding down the probable league MVP.

I like Rose to catch a flat Magic squad a little flat-footed, and help the Bulls extend their hold on the third spot in the East with a huge road win.

Free Pick: Chicago Bulls +2

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Atlanta Hawks -3 (Total: 190)

A young, up-and-coming team likely missing their superstar MVP candidate heading on the road to play a solid, veteran playoff team? It doesn’t usually end up well for the visitors.

That’s the situation tonight for the Thunder in Atlanta, as Durant will likely miss his second game with a slightly sprained ankle. Durant has said he is OK and would like to play, but you can’t fault the Thunder for erring on the side of caution with their 22-year old megastar.

In the long run, I love the Kendrick Perkins trade, however tonight, with Perkins still hurt and Durant out having Jeff Green would have been a nice luxury to give the Thunder a second-option behind All-Star Russell Westbrook.

The Hawks have gone just 1-6 in their last seven home games against Oklahoma City, a very surprising mark in the NBA between two fairly evenly matched squads. However, an OKC team without Durant is not really the Oklahoma City Thunder at all, is it?

Free Pick: Atlanta Hawks -3

Crazy: System has one big NBA play tonight… click here to see 8)

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Chris Scheeren / Author

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