Friday's NBA Picks 9/4/20
The NBA playoffs roll on Friday with a pair of games down in the Florida bubble. First, Milwaukee tries to avoid going down 0-3 in its Eastern Conference semifinals series with Miami, and then the Lakers and Rockets begin a Western Conference semifinals series. How are we playing these games with our free NBA playoff picks?
Bucks -5/223 vs. Heat, 6:30 pm ET, TNT
Miami leads this series 2-0, following its 116-114 Game 2 victory Wednesday night. The Heat led almost the entire game and by six with 20 seconds to go, only to have Milwaukee, thanks in part to a phantom foul on a Bucks 3-point attempt, tie the score at 114 with four seconds left. But Miami got a phantom foul call to its benefit at the buzzer, and Jimmy Butler converted free-throws with no time on the clock for the outright win as dogs of 5.5 points.
The Heat won the opener of this series Monday 115-104 as five-point dogs.
With Wednesday's win, Miami is now 6-0 both SU and ATS in these playoffs.
With Wednesday's loss, Milwaukee is 4-3 both SU and ATS in these playoffs.
Also, the Heat are now 4-1 both SU and ATS against the Bucks this season, and they blew a 23-point lead in the only game they lost.
Free NBA Pick: We're 2-0 ATS picking this series, taking Miami and the points both games. As it turns out, we didn't even need the points. The Heat are playing the better ball, they've got Milwaukee's number, and they probably feel they should be favored. We'll take Miami and the points again for Game 3.
Lakers -6/225 vs. Rockets, 9 pm ET, ESPN
Los Angeles just dispatched of Portland in five games in their first-round series, finishing that off with a 131-122 victory last Saturday. LA lost the first game of that series, then won the next four. So the Lakers are working on five full days off, although that's not always a good thing heading into a new playoff series.
Meanwhile, Houston just outlasted Oklahoma City in seven games, winning that series with a 104-102 Game 7 victory Wednesday. The Rockets won the first two games of that series, lost the next two, won Game 5, lost Game 6, then won Game 7. So Houston is only working on one full day off, although that could work to its advantage, having played more recently.
LA finished 8.5 games ahead of the Rockets in the final regular-season standings, 52-19 to 44-28, but Houston took the season series from the Lakers two games to one, going 2-1 ATS in the process. Los Angeles outrebounded the Rockets in all three of those games, but Houston out-shot the Lakers from the floor 48 percent to 46 percent.
On the injury front, LA's LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both nursing minor injuries, but they're expected to play Friday.
Free NBA Playoffs Pick: We like the idea that Houston's played more recently than Los Angeles. We're also thinking the Rockets' style matches up well against the Lakers, and Houston's playing some good defense as of late. We'll take the Rockets and the points here.