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Expert handicapper Stephen Rodriguez is back with his picks for Sunday's NBA action

BET OF THE DAY: (2u) Boston Celtics -5 @ - 110

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Boston Celtics, 6:00 PM:

  • Boston has won each of the last five meetings with Oklahoma City.
  • The Celtics and Thunder have the two best ATS records in the NBA. Boston ranks best at 38-22-2, and Oklahoma is second with a 39-24 record. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we're backing Boston

Boston (42-20) stumbled at home, and struggled to find production outside the starting rotation, losing 99-94 to the Utah Jazz. Four out of five of the Celtics starters scored in double figures while the bench combined for only 13 points.

Marcus Smart led the way by knocking down six three-pointers for a game-high 29 points. Jayson Tatum added 18 points with seven rebounds, and Kemba Walker contributed 13 points and seven assists in an off night shooting.

Oklahoma City (39-24) took care of business on the road by winning a second straight game with a 126-103 victory over the New York Knicks. The Thunder played stout defense, forcing 14 turnovers and under 17 per cent shooting from three-point range.

Chris Paul was making plays for the OKC offense, totaling a double-double with 21 points and 12 assists. Steven Adams crashed the boards to post a double-double of his own with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Danilo Gallinari added a team-high 22 points.

The Celtics have dominated this series lately, most recently winning 112-11 on the road in early February. With both these teams being the best of the best ATS this season, this pick becomes a bit of a toss-up. However, I’m giving the edge to the home team and taking the Boston Celtics to cover the spread.

(1u) Chicago Bulls +6.5 @ -110

Chicago Bulls @ Brooklyn Nets, 3:00 PM:

  • Since 2010-11, the Bulls have held an edge in this matchup having won 23 of the last 41 meetings.

The reason we're backing Chicago

Brooklyn (28-34) got back on track with an efficient 139-120 victory against the San Antonio Spurs. Eight different Nets scored in double figures as Brooklyn shot over 53 per cent from the field and 40 per cent from three-point range.

Despite the win, the Nets and head coach Kenny Atkinson decided to mutually part ways. After four seasons with Brooklyn, Atkinson was 118-190 as a head coach.

Chicago (21-42) lost for the fourth time in the last five games, falling at home 108-102 to the Indiana Pacers.

The shorthanded Bulls nearly pulled off an upset in a home clash with Indiana behind a sparkling effort from rookie Coby White, who came off the bench and contributed a game-high 26 points with six assists. Shaquille Harrison added 25 points on 5-of-6 shooting from three- point range with four assists, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks.

My expectation is Brooklyn will start slowly following the loss of their head coach. The Nets may have the better overall team, but I’m anticipating them to have their work cut out for them against an unpredictable Bulls team. Take Chicago to at least hang close and cover the spread.

(1u) Los Angeles Clippers -2.5 @ -110

Los Angeles Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers, 3:30 PM:

  • The Clippers have a 7-3 ATS record at home against the Lakers since 2017-18.
  • The Clippers have won 27 of the last 37 meetings between these teams.

The reason we're backing the Clippers

The Lakers (48-13) proved to be the top dog in the NBA with an overpowering win over the Milwaukee Bucks 113-103. With the win, the Lakers clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 2013.

LeBron James matched the reigning MVP stride-for-stride with a game-high 37 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Anthony Davis was next in line, totaling 30 points with nine rebounds and two blocks.

The Clippers (43-19) picked up a sixth consecutive win in commanding fashion, blowing out the Houston Rockets 120-105. Los Angeles jumped out to a 23-point halftime lead and held on with firm defense and efficient shooting.

Kawhi Leonard was the difference maker scoring a game-high 25 points with four made three- pointers, six rebounds and five assists. Montrezl Harrell came off the bench and contributed a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Each of the previous two matchups between these teams have resulted in narrow five and 10-points wins for the Clipper been won by the Clippers narrowly.

Although the Lakers have been making statements, I’m anticipating the Clippers to hold the edge against the Lakers for the foreseeable future. Take the Clippers to cover the spread.


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