NBA Predictions: Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers Picks

Jonathan Macri previews Tuesday's NBA games and gives us his picks
Jonathan Macri
Tue, March 2, 3:56 AM EST

We start off Tuesday’s slate of games with a matchup between a team that just fired its coach and one of the hottest squads in the league.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami Heat

Did Lloyd Pierce, who was fired on Monday thanks to leading the revamped Hawks to a 14-20 record in his third season as head coach, really deserve to get canned?

On one hand, the Hawks spent a ton of money this offseason and had the seventh best over under in the Eastern Conference before the season began. On the other hand, many of those additions have been injured and Atlanta still has the 15th ranked net rating in the NBA.

They haven’t been good, but they haven’t been lucky either. According to Cleaning the Glass, they should have 2.7 more wins based on their point differential, and they’re 16-18 against the spread this season.

One of those losses – on the court and against the spread – came on Sunday night facing these same Miami Heat on the road. It was Miami’s sixth straight win and cover, and they seem to be playing Heat basketball after an uneven start to the year. Atlanta may get the new coach bump to start, but their problems run deeper than the guy calling the plays.

The Pick: Miami -3.5 @ -110 (Click To Bet)

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Washington Wizards

Break up the Wizards.

They’ve covered eight of nine and are starting to turn their season around. Entering play on Monday night, Washington was just two games back of the 10th seed in the East. That may not matter to some franchises, but to one that just took on the remainder of Russell Westbrook’s untradeable contract, it does. They are in it for the long haul whether they like it or not.

In Memphis, they get a team that has been thoroughly mediocre since opening night, ranking 14th in net rating over the season and the last two weeks. They’re 8-5 against the spread on the road, but just 2-4 in their last six, including a cover in their last game against the horrific Rockets.

The Wizards have been making every game interesting, so at the very least you’ll be in it till the end if you back the home team.

The Pick: Washington +0.5 @ -110 (Click To Bet)

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Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers

It’s unclear why this spread is what it is.

Let’s start with Phoenix. The Suns are 14-3 both on the court and against the spread in their last 17 games. They enter this one coming off decisive victories in Chicago and Minnesota, and face the world champs with a chance to move ahead of them in the standings. They also have an 11-5 record against the spread on the road and own the best point differential in basketball over the last two weeks.

The Lakers? They haven’t exactly been weathering the storm without AD, although they’ve won and covered two straight after losing four in a row. The last two wins have come with Dennis Schroder back in the lineup, and he’s made his presence known. He scored 22 in his first game post-injury, and although he was just 3-for-9 for 12 points in LA’s blowout win against Golden State, he was also a team-high plus 32.

But one big win shouldn’t diminish just how much the Lakers were struggling for three weeks before that victory. They held a negative 1.2 net rating over that time, and didn’t have a single win by more than 10 points.

Los Angeles just isn’t the same team without Anthony Davis. Don’t let one game fool you into believing otherwise.

The Pick: Los Angeles -2 @ -103 (Click To Bet)

Other NBA Games

Los Angeles Clippers at Boston Celtics

The Celtics have won two in a row but by a total of seven points. Prior to that, they’d lost four of five and they have a negative 1.3 net rating over the last two weeks. But they’re 10-5 at home against the spread this year, and this is as favorable a line as they’ve gotten at the TD Garden all season. LA has also dropped four of seven against the spread. Boston gets the slight edge. 

New York Knicks at San Antonio Spurs

The Knicks are above .500 and sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They also claimed after Sunday’s win that they weren’t shocked to find themselves there. Under Tom Thibodeau, we should probably take them at their word. He’ll have them ready to go against a Spurs team with a better record but a worse point differential. They’ll also either be without or reintegrating several rotation pieces due to recent health and safety protocol absences. Keep backing the Knicks.

Denver Nuggets at Milwaukee Bucks

The Nuggets have the point differential of a 21-12 team, which is neck and neck with Milwaukee’s 21-13 record. The only problem is that the Bucks have been the only team with less luck with that Denver, and they should be 24-10 according to their point differential. They’re also coming off arguably their best win of the season against the Clippers and have five victories in a row, four of which they’ve covered. Back the home team.

 

NBA Expert Picks

(Click Odds To Bet)

Miami -3.5 @ -110 (Click To Bet)

Washington +0.5 @ -110 (Click To Bet)

Los Angeles -2 @ -103 (Click To Bet)

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Jonathan Macri
JCMacriNBA
Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball than Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.
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