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Breaking Down Friday’s Best NBA Bets As Eastern Conference Playoff Race Continues

Posted by on 4/9/2015 10:10:37 PM

While we may not see much drama in the Eastern Conference once the playoffs begin it’s hard to argue against the entertainment that the current battle for the final couple of postseason sports has provided. The Milwaukee Bucks still sit alone in sixth and are likely next in line to clinch a playoff spot but beyond them there are four teams separated by one game competing for the final two postseason positions. Two of those four teams are in action Friday night. Here is a quick look at what to expect and where the smart money is heading in to a full slate of action.

Charlotte Hornets @ Atlanta Hawks

Friday, 7:30 PM ET

The Hornets still technically have not been eliminated but back-to-back losses to the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors pretty much sealed their fate on the outside looking in. Charlotte still has to play out the rest of its schedule but don’t expect them to put up much of a fight with three of four on the road including games at Atlanta, Houston and Toronto. The Hornets can still take this season as a small step in the right direction but clearly they still have a lot of work to do this offseason. There is the threat that the Hawks rest some key players in this game but even then there is a good chance they will pull out the victory at home where they have won 34 of 39 overall this season.

Pick: Atlanta

Washington Wizards @ Brooklyn Nets

Friday, 7:30 PM ET

The Wizards clinched a playoff spot but they can still climb as high as third in the Eastern Conference standings with one game separating Toronto, Chicago and Washington right now. The Wizards have won four straight including a tough road win in Memphis but now they will face a team that might want the win as bad as they do or more in Brooklyn. The Nets have won seven of their last nine games with their only two losses over that span coming against the Hawks. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez have Brooklyn dialed in right now and they should get the job done in what should be a close win on their home court.

Pick: Brooklyn

Boston Celtics @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Friday, 7:30 PM ET

Boston has climbed all the way in to seventh in the Eastern Conference standings with wins in four of its last five but even though they appear to control their own destiny the schedule doesn’t agree. The Celtics will play back-to-backs against LeBron James and the Cavaliers before returning home to face the Raptors and then visiting Milwaukee for their season finale. That’s an extremely tough schedule for a team that has somewhat overachieved this year and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they suffered a letdown.

Pick: Boston

Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks

Friday, 7:30 PM ET

A fairly consistent season overall means that losing four of the past six didn’t hurt the Bucks nearly as much as it could have and now they have their eyes on clinching a playoff spot with a win over the lowly Knicks. New York won’t offer up much in the way of resistance and while it isn’t Brooklyn it is somewhat fitting that Jason Kidd returns to the area as Milwaukee locks itself in to a playoff spot while the Nets continue to fight for one of the final two spots.

Pick: Milwaukee

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