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NBA Weekend Picks – Exciting Pro Hoops Action Ahead

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 2/6/2014 1:25:22 AM

The NHL trade deadline and NHL trade rumors are certainly being monitored this weekend, but there’s also another weekend of NBA basketball to examine before the All-Star break.

NBA Betting Overview

Online betting enthusiasts have to be thinking that some order has been restored to the natural balance of power in the NBA. On Thursday night in Boston, the Los Angeles Lakers – the two-time defending champions in the league and the clear standard-bearer of excellence against which everyone else in the NBA is judged – powered past the homestanding Celtics, 92-86. Kobe Bryant overcame a three-point first half to lead the Lakers to victory down the stretch. On a night when Boston sniper Ray Allen became the all-time leader in made three-point shots, surpassing Reggie Miller, Kobe stole the spotlight with his signature competitiveness and determination.

The Lakers, in a heartbeat, erased the sting of a loss to Boston earlier in the season, and they’ve wrested back psychological control of the league as a whole. It’s definitely worth taking the Lakers in the next games of their road trip, especially the nationally-televised Sunday showdown against a reeling but still talented Orlando team (3:35 p.m. Eastern time on ABC). The Magic have not improved at all since they reshaped their team with the deal that brought back Hedo Turkoglu, a key cog on the 2009 Eastern Conference championship team, and shipped out Vince Carter, whose weaknesses were so thoroughly exposed in the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. Go with the Lakers, a cutthroat team with a ruthless superstar, against the charmin-soft Magic.

Experts in the sports betting world should also use the above loss by Boston against the Lakers as a reason to take the Celtics when they play the Miami Heat on Sunday, just before the Lakers and Magic take to the court. Boston will be smarting after losing to Los Angeles. Seeing Kobe Bryant own TD Garden has to get under the craws of Kevin Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce. Moreover, the Ray Allen three-point record served as a distraction and an emotional sideshow for the Celtics against the Lakers. It fueled Kobe Bryant’s desire to spoil the party, and it took away from the Celtics’ focus as well.

Look for Boston to deliver a strong defensive effort against a Miami team that has not yet shown it can handle the depth, length and physicality of the Celtics, particularly in the paint. Miami might own the perimeter with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James doing what they do best, but within 10 feet of the rim, the Celtics should own a distinct territorial advantage. Boston should be able to pull down a vast majority of rebounds and 50-50 balls, and that’s the kind of thing that wins contentious NBA games between upper-tier teams that are evenly matched.

The one other betting item to keep in mind on the weekend is that the San Antonio Spurs just don’t lose to bad teams. The 44-8 Spurs (heading into a Friday game at Philadelphia) should take care of the Washington Wizards on Saturday night in the nation’s capital.

Picks: Lakers over Magic (Sunday), Celtics over Heat (Sunday), Spurs over Wizards (Saturday)


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