Free NBA Picks and Predictions: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks and L.A. Lakers at Utah Jazz
by Alan Matthews - 5/10/2010
Is there really any reason not to think the Magic (especially) and the Lakers won’t sweep their way into the conference finals tonight? Both games are on TNT.
Magic at Hawks, 8 p.m.
The line: Magic -6 (193)
How they enter: Atlanta clearly isn’t in the Magic’s class, as the Hawks have lost the first three games of this series by an average of 29 points (needless to say, all Magic covers). In fact, Orlando now holds the second-largest point differential through three games of a playoff series ever. Atlanta’s 105-75 Game 3 loss was its worst ever in the playoffs at home. Orlando has won 13 games in a row overall. The Magic are one of only four teams in NBA postseason history to win two or more games by at least 30 points in a single series.
Scouting report: In a series this lopsided there are obviously issues all around for the Hawks. But if you had to pinpoint two main ones it would involve Magic center Dwight Howard and Atlanta guard Joe Johnson. Atlanta simply can’t stop Howard, as he is averaging 23.7 points and 15 rebounds in this series. Johnson might be costing himself millions of dollars on the free agent market this summer. He's shooting just 29 percent against the Magic, averaging 12.3 points a game. Over the last six postseason games, he's averaging 13.3 points on 31 percent shooting. You aren’t going to get a max contract with those numbers. Tonight’s game could well determine if Atlanta coach Mike Woodson returns, because if the Hawks show no heart he’s probably gone. This team was 34-7 at home this season, so there is no excuse for Game 3. “I know we’ll come out and give everything we’ve got,” Johnson said this morning. “You know, it’s either win or go home. I don’t think nobody wants the season to end, especially not like this, at our house. We’ll come prepared.” There is no team in the NBA that lives on the three-point line than Orlando. The Magic have hit 42 more three-pointers than their opponents in posting a 7-0 playoff record so far. Mickael Pietrus has shot 51.5 percent (17 of 33) from long range and Rashard Lewis 44 percent (20 of 45).
Key trends: The Magic are 14-3 in their past 17 as a road favorite.
Atlanta is 1-10-1 ATS in its past 12 as a playoff dog.
The ‘under’ is 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings.
The pick: Despite all I wrote above, I think the Hawks do show up tonight just to avoid further embarrassment. I think they win straight up, but definitely take the points. And the ‘under’.
Be sure to get set up with our weekly NBA picks for guaranteed winners each and ever day.
Lakers at Jazz, 10:30 p.m.
The line: Jazz -3 (207)
How they enter: Utah at least has been competitive and probably should have won Game 3 – a Wesley Matthews tip at the buzzer that would have won it rolled out. There were 22 lead changes in Game 3.
Scouting report: No doubt the Lakers would like to finish this off tonight and rest up for the red-hot Suns. L.A. looks for only its 13th sweep in 100 best-of-seven series since the team’s 1948-49 inception – it has never swept Utah. Kobe Bryant has been unstoppable for L.A. In 2008, he became the first opponent in Jazz playoff history to score at least 30 points in four consecutive games. I can’t believe Michael Jordan didn’t do that in those two Finals, but he didn’t. Well, Kobe is poised to do it again, as he has totaled 30, 31 and 35 points in the first three of this one. But the real difference in Game 3, in which Utah welcomed back Andrei Kirilenko, was Ron Artest and Derek Fisher. In L.A.’s first eight playoff games those two combined to average just under 19 points per game. In Game 3, they totaled 40. Lakers coach Phil Jackson actually was fairly critical of his team going 13-for-29 from three-point range in Game 3, suggesting the Lakers will go back inside more tonight. L.A. dominated the paint in the first two games but was the teams both scored 32 in there in Game 3. Lakers center Andrew Bynum was scoreless in Game 3. Utah’s Deron Williams is averaging 22.3 points and 8.7 assists in the series but he missed the potential game-winning shot at the end of Game 3, which led to Matthews’ tip chance. Tonight could well be the final game of Carlos Boozer’s career in Utah.
Key trends: L.A. is 2-11 ATS in its past 11 following a straight-up win.
The ‘under’ is 7-3 in the past 10 meetings.
Utah is 20-6 ATS in its last 26 games following a ATS loss.
The pick: I’ll admit that I have no idea what the Hawks will bring tonight in the first game listed above, but I know the Jazz will bring everything they have. Take Utah and the ‘under’.
Be sure to visit our homepage for daily exclusive NBA betting content, free NBA picks, updated odds, matchup reports, scores and predictions. Click Here. Doc’s Sports NBA picks have profited in four straight NBA seasons and we have picks in both games for Monday including a rare 5-Unit play for LA Lakers/Utah.
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- LA Lakers Could be in Real Trouble with LeBron and AD Injuries
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/20/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/15/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/13/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/8/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 1/6/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 1/1/2021 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/30/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 12/25/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 12/23/2020 and Opening Line Report