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Jonathan Macri previews Thursday's NBA games and gives us his picks

Trade deadline day is finally here, and with it, one of the more precarious betting days of the year. It’s impossible to know which teams will make deals that could leave them without a key rotation piece for a game, although we already have an inkling of a few organizations that may look at making a move or two before 3pm.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

The Sixers have long been rumored as a possible destination for Kyle Lowry, who sure looked like he had played his last game in Toronto after Wednesday night. Lowry has spoken openly about how strange it will be to play elsewhere, but given how the Raptors season has gone, it seems to make sense for all parties.

If the Sixers swing a deal, Danny Green will almost certainly be going out in the transaction for salary purposes, and either Seth Curry, who is currently out, or several other rotation pieces, including Mike Scott and younger players Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle.

In other words, if the Sixers make a trade, there’s a decent chance they’ll be playing with an extremely shortened rotation comprised of Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, a few backup bigs, and not much else.

If that’s the case on the road against the short-handed Lakers, it still might be enough to cover against the defending champs, who have gotten thoroughly wiped in Phoenix and New Orleans since LeBron went down. The Sixers are 7-6-2 as an away favorite this season, including recent double digit wins against the Warriors, Wizards and Bulls, and Joel Embiid was present for only half of the game against Washington and neither of the other two.

If anything, wait to see if a trade gets made and this line goes down. Either way, Philly is the better bet. They have the NBA’s best net rating since the All-Star break, and will take care of business here.

The Pick: Philadelphia -5 @ -110 (Click To Bet)

Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks

Break up the Knicks!

Well, not quite. Although they have been very generous to bettors recently, covering five of their last six contests and nine of their last 12. They’re also 7-2 against the spread as a home favorite this season, which ties them for the best winning percentage in the NBA in such situations.

But this is also the first time all year that they’ve played the same team twice in a row at home, and the league as a whole has won both games in these sorts of series just 25 percent of the time, according to Ben Falk of Cleaning the Glass. The Knicks just throttled these same Wizards two nights ago in Madison Square Garden, so that means they’re set up for failure, right?

Not necessarily. The Knicks under Tom Thibodeau never take any opponent lightly, and besides their first game out of the break, on the road against the almighty Bucks, and one other road dud versus the Spurs, they’ve been in every game they’ve played for more than a month. They also sneakily have an offense that ranks in the top half of the league since February 12, and have put some of their early shooting struggles behind them.

The opponent also matters here – a lot. Wizards are just 4-19 when they score under 117 points, which is a total the Knicks have given up just six times in 44 games. They won’t add another time to the list.

The Pick: New York -3 @ -105 (Click To Bet)

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Other NBA Games

Portland Trail Blazers at Miami Heat

The Heat are the other major possibility for Kyle Lowry, and like Philly, would need to significantly deplete their rotation to accommodate a trade. It probably doesn’t matter either way though, as Miami has been seriously scuffling, dropping four straight on the court and against the spread thanks in part to the lowest ranked offense in the league over the last four games. Go with Portland on the road, who is somehow getting points.

Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs

These teams faced off last night, with the Clippers winning by 33 points. If everyone plays for the Clippers, there’s no reason to think the result will be much different, as LA seems to be hitting its stride after three straight impressive wins.

Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings

The Kings kicked off deadline day with an early morning move, trading backup point guard Cory Joseph and two seconds for an upgrade in Delon Wright. Clearly they don’t think they’re out of the playoff race just yet, which means that Harrison Barnes isn’t going anywhere. They’ve also made a mini-push of late, winning (and covering) four of five, and now they face a Warriors’ team missing its MVP candidate in Steph Curry. Take Sacto.

NBA Expert Picks

(Click Odds To Bet)

Philadelphia -5 @ -110 (Click To Bet)

New York -3 @ -105 (Click To Bet)

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Article Author


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


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