NBA picks: Saturday, Feb. 22

0 Comments 📁 Slider 🕔22.February 2014
NBA picks: Saturday, Feb. 22

Safe sides

Washington (-6) vs. New Orleans

It’s been a grueling stretch for the Wizards, who have played nine of their last 11 games against current playoff teams. They’ve managed a solid 5-6 record in that span, knocking off the Warriors, Thunder, Blazers and Hawks while dropping a handful of one-possession contests. The only concern here is a letdown against a lesser opponent like the Hornets, but Washington nearly blew a 21-point fourth-quarter lead in New Orleans on Jan. 8 before holding on for a 102-96 win, so a wire-to-wire effort can be expected. The Hornets, meanwhile, have been one of the league’s poorest teams on back-to-backs, dropping their last eight by an average of 10.4 points per game. New Orleans fell in Charlotte, 90-87, on Friday.

Atlanta (-2.5) vs. New York

A straight situational play here, as the Knicks are coming off a double-overtime loss in Orlando, a game in which they blew a 14-point third-quarter lead. Carmelo Anthony (50), J.R. Smith (49) and Raymond Felton (45) all played huge minutes, which never bodes well for a road back-to-back. While it’s never wise to bet on a team that’s dropped eight straight games (as the Hawks have), it’s not like the Knicks have been surging, having won just twice in their last nine tries.

Total to target

Grizzlies at Bobcats – under 180

Memphis has come alive since the calendar flipped to 2014, going 18-6. A return to the stifling defense that’s been their calling card in recent years has been the catalyst of the run, as the Grizzlies held 11 opponents to under 90 points in that stretch. They’ve been especially stingy on the road lately, surrendering a mere 84.2 points per game over their last 10.

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