NBA picks: Friday, April 11

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NBA picks: Friday, April 11

Safe sides

Toronto (-5) vs. New York

After clawing their way into playoff position with a 12-3 stretch that culminated with a 29-point thrashing of the Nets, the Knicks have dropped their last two, which has all but eliminated them from postseason contention. Furthermore, Carmelo Anthony suffered a shoulder injury in the win over Brooklyn and hasn’t looked right since, shooting just 29 percent from the field before being limited in practice Wednesday. New York has been boom or bust on the road the last few weeks, going 3-3 straight up, with each of their three losses coming by double digits. Toronto, meanwhile, has looked like a team gearing up for the playoffs lately, winning seven of their last eight straight up. The Raptors had little trouble dispatching of their division rivals in a home-and-home set earlier this season, beating the Knicks by 12 at Madison Square Garden and 15 the following night in Toronto. It’s been a miserable season in New York, one that figures to officially end north of the border.

Chicago (-10) vs. Detroit

This is the time of year to ride the surging teams and fade the tankers, and this matchup presents a prime opportunity to do just that. The Bulls are the hottest team in the NBA, having won six straight by an average of nearly 13 points per contest. They’re a perfect 6-0 against the number in that stretch and are in a dogfight with Toronto for the 3-seed in the East, so there will be no letting the foot off the pedal. Detroit, conversely, appears to have one eye on the lottery after a no-show in Cleveland on Wednesday in which they were down 30 by halftime. The Pistons are riding a 2-7 ATS stretch and are 1-2 vs. Chicago this season, with both losses coming by double digits.

Total to target

Miami vs. Indiana – under 182

Neither of these teams has been pretty to watch lately (an understatement), as the Heat are 1-3 over their last four and 10-11 since early March. The Pacers have been even worse, going 8-12 over the same stretch while dropping five of their last seven. Points have been at a premium during each team’s respective slides, with Miami going 8-12-1 to the under and Indiana 7-13. Those marks include a recent trend to the over, as the teams have combined to go 7-1 to the over in the last eight. But that just underscores how poorly they’ve both played over an extended stretch, and given that they love to bring out the ugly in one another, it’s fair to assume that this tilt will be a grinder, similar to their 84-83 slugfest from two weeks ago.

Overall picks: 14-13-2

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