NBA picks: Tuesday, Feb. 18

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NBA picks: Tuesday, Feb. 18

With the All-Star break in the rearview, the NBA’s sprint to the finish line begins with a full slate of action on Tuesday.

Safe sides

Miami (-2) at Dallas

After predictably spending extended stretches of the first chunk of the season on cruise control, the Heat started to turn it on before the break, knocking off the Clippers, Suns and Warriors, all on the road. Betting the Heat is all about gauging their level of motivation. Against a Mavs team that’s all that’s kept them from a three-peat and in the first game of the second half, bettors can expect a motivated and focused Heat squad in Dallas.

Charlotte (+4.5) at Detroit

The Bobcats went into the break playing solid basketball, winning four of their final seven. That included a run of five straight games against current playoff teams and a 3-2 mark on the road. That last point is key, considering the Pistons have been one of the league’s worst home teams (12-16) while the Bobcats have traveled relatively well (11-16). Charlotte left the Motor City with a 116-106 win in the teams’ first meeting of the season, using a 41-17 fourth-quarter eruption to turn a big deficit into a comfortable win.

Total to target

Suns vs. Nuggets – over 215.5

The Nuggets, quite simply, don’t stop anyone. They’ve been particularly bad this month, allowing at least 115 points in five of their six games while giving up an average of 115.6. The Suns, for their part, are more than willing to oblige a track meet. In two of their three games heading into the break, they fell to the Rockets, 122-108, and beat the Warriors, 122-109.

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