Today's NBA Picks Aug/2/20

The first weekend of the NBA restart concludes Sunday with a six-pack of games for our betting pleasure. Here's a quick look at a couple of those games with our free NBA picks.

Celtics -4/230.5 vs. Blazers, 3:30 pm ET, ABC

Boston opened its restart Friday night with a tough 119-112 loss to Milwaukee. The Celtics actually trailed the Bucks 17-2 out of the gate but rallied to tie the game in the third quarter. The game was tied again at 107-107 with two minutes to go, but the Celtics got outscored 12-5 from there to not only lose but miss out on the cover as dogs of 3.5 points.

Boston got no help from the refs, either, when a charging call on the Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo with 1:28 left, which would have been his sixth, got overturned on review.

At 43-22 overall (38-24-3 ATS), the Celtics sit in third place in the Eastern Conference, 3.5 games behind second-place Toronto, and just two games ahead of fourth-place Miami. Those three teams are basically fighting for the right to play either Orlando or Brooklyn in the first round of the upcoming playoffs rather than Indiana or Philadelphia.

Portland opened its restart with a 140-135 overtime victory over Memphis Friday night. The Blazers trailed the Grizzlies 112-103 with six minutes to go but rallied to force OT. A trio of 3-pointers by CJ McCollum and Gary Trent then propelled Portland to the W and the cover as 3.5-point favorites. At 30-37 overall (28-37-2 ATS), Portland now trails Memphis by 2.5 games in the battle for the eight spot in the Western Conference. These teams met back in February in Portland, a 118-106 Celtics victory. Boston led by double-digits most of that game ended up shooting 19/39 from 3-point range and covered at -7.5.

Free NBA Pick: Boston got a bit unlucky late in the game against Milwaukee Friday night, while the Blazers pulled a short upset. We expect a reversal of fortunes Sunday. We'll take the Celtics minus the points.

Bucks -3.5/243.5 vs. Rockets, 8:30 pm ET, ABC

Milwaukee opened its re-set schedule with that 119-112 win over Boston Friday night. As mentioned above, the Bucks broke out to a big early lead, only to eventually give it all up. With the game tied at 107 late, Milwaukee pulled away for the win and the money at -3.5.

The Bucks shot 46 percent from the floor Friday while holding Boston to 41 percent shooting.

At 54-12 overall (37-29 ATS), the Bucks need one more victory to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Houston, meanwhile, began its restart Friday with a crazy 153-149 overtime victory over Dallas. The Rockets gave up 85 points in the first half, trailed by seven with 45 seconds to go but rallied to force OT and not only came away with the win but also the cover at -1.5.

Houston allowed the Mavericks to shoot 48 percent from the field Friday but shot 52 percent itself.

At 41-24 overall (30-35 ATS), Houston is tied with Oklahoma City for the 5-6 spots in the West, a half-game behind fourth-place Utah. Realistically, though, nobody in the West will catch the Lakers for the No. 1 seed in the conference playoffs, and having already clinched a post-season berth these last eight "seedings" games might not mean that much to the Rockets. At least, that's the way they played defense Friday night. These teams met earlier this season, way back in October in the season opener, the Bucks winning 117-111 in Houston as 1.5-point underdogs. Milwaukee actually trailed that game 66-50 at the half but outscored the Rockets in the second half 67-45 for the win.

The Bucks also held James Harden to just 2/13 shooting from the floor that night.

On the personnel front, Milwaukee is playing without both Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton, who are recovering/conditioning after testing positive for the C-19 a few weeks ago, while Houston is without Eric Gordon.

Free NBA Pick: The Bucks shoot the ball better than the Rockets, play the better defense and do a better job on the boards. We like Milwaukee here minus the points.

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