Only seven games on the NBA’s Sunday schedule, but every one contains playoff implications, including one featuring one of the hottest teams in the league that everyone had left for dead not more than a few weeks ago.
Did anyone see this coming?
On April 6, the Wizards had a record of 17-32 and the 25th ranked net rating in basketball at a desultory negative 5.1, worse even than the Kings and Pistons.
In the 10 games since, Washington has lost just once, tied for fewest in the league over that stretch. Their net rating is 6th best in that span, in part because their defense in this time is the third best unit in the NBA. They have quality road wins at Golden State and Utah, and while their recent four-game home stand sweet didn’t come against anyone currently in a top-10 seed, they’ve still won seven straight.
With Cleveland coming to town, the good times figure to keep rolling. The Cavs have dropped four of five both on the court and against the spread, including losses to a banged up Hornets team and a Detroit squad playing out the string. Worse yet, Cleveland is just 9-19 against the spread as a road dog this season.
The Pick: Wizards -8.5 @ +100 (Click to Bet)
All of the sudden, the best team of most of this season by both record and net rating is 7-9-1 against the spread over their last 17 games.
They’re also suddenly struggling to score, as the Suns have been held to 85 and 86 points in two of their last four games.
The Nets have been a vulnerable opponent themselves, with a 4-4 record and middling positive 1.3 net rating over their last eight games, but they’re about to get a lot of help in the form of one of their former MVP’s, Kevin Durant.
KD (bruised left thigh) is probable to play on Sunday after missing the last three games and all but four minutes of another one. For whatever issues the Nets might have, they still outscore teams by 10.6 points per 100 possessions when Durant is on the court.
Both teams have a lot to play for, with the top seed in each conference up for grabs, but the Suns will once again be without Jae Crowder, who has been instrumental in their success this season.
With the Nets at home, they’re the choice.
The Pick: Nets -1 @ -111 (Click to Bet)
Other NBA Games
Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets
After six straight wins, the Celtics have dropped two of three, failing to cover both losses, but the Hornets are struggling far more. Without Gordon Hayward and LaMelo Ball, Charlotte have lost six of eight outright and against the spread. Boston gets back to track here.
Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers
The bottom is falling out of the Trail Blazers, who have lost eight of 10, including four straight. The last one of those game came against these same Grizzlies, but only by two points. Given the difficulties teams have had sweeping both part of two-game series this season, Portland has to be the pick.
Milwaukee Bucks at Atlanta Hawks
The Bucks are one of the hardest teams in the league to figure out, as they just took two straight from the Sixers after dropping two consecutive home games against the Grizzlies and Suns. The Hawks have been a top-seven team by net rating since the All-Star break, but the Bucks are even better, and the Hawks still aren’t fully healthy. Take the road team.
Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic
The Magic have dropped 10 of 11 overall and six of seven against the spread, with most games not competitive. The Pacers may be without Turner and possible Sabonis, but they’ve looked good despite the absences thanks to surprising performances from some bench guys. Indiana all the way.
Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors
The worst defense in league history against Steph Curry on a tear? All we need is popcorn.
NBA Expert Picks
(Click Odds To Bet)
Wizards -8.5 @ +100 (Click to Bet)
Nets -1 @ -111 (Click to Bet)
NBA Free Picks
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