NBA Picks 2/22/12

Posted Record 2-4-0 (-3.7 units)

2-0 last night, as the Spurs took the Blazers to the woodshed and dropped 137. I forgot to post the unit plays and update the record, it is updated today though. Thanks and good luck!

Atlanta Hawks +7 (19-13 SU, 15-16-1 ATS) at New York Knicks (16-17 SU, 15-18-0 ATS) 7:30 EDT

The Hawks head to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin. The Knicks have obviously been a different team since “Linsanity” blew up in New York, Lin has rattled off an 8-2 win loss record since taking over as the starter. The Hawks, on the other hand, have been reeling as they head to New York, dropping seven of their last ten games.

Lin has been tremendous for New York, although it is still a mystery how well this team will play with Carmelo Anthony in the fold. Melo was 4-11 for 11 points in Monday’s loss to New Jersey. The guys benefitting most from Lin’s productive have been shooting guard Landry Fields and center Tyson Chandler. Melo has called for Lin to continue to create and make plays for him and his teammates. Amar’e Stoudemire has been inconsistent all year regardless of who is behind the point, he averaging the least points per game in his entire career at 18 ppg. Also, defensive sub and league leader in steals, Iman Shumpert will miss this game due to injury.

The Hawks have been playing poorly recently, including losing four out of their last five, but their opponents have been some of the best in the league. In their past five games, they’ve played the Heat, Lakers, Blazers, and Bulls, with their only win coming against the lowly Phoenix Suns. Another note, Joe Johnson is out and will miss the All Star game, it is likely Willie Green will start in his place.

I really like the Hawks in this spot. They are a much better team, than they get credit for nationally. Lin is now a target, we saw Deron Williams drop 38 against the Knicks in their previous game and I’m sure everyone has their bull’s-eye on the Knicks and Lin. Also, Teague and Hinrich are excellent defenders and should be able to at least contain Lin somewhat. This line is also higher because of the Joe Johnson injury, I don’t think this matters too much because Johnson has been horrible lately anyways. Take the Hawks and the points!

The Play: Atlanta Hawks +7 2 units at BetOnline

Side Note: A moneyline play might be worth a flyer, for maybe a half unit or 1 unit. I’m not going to count this as a pick, but currently the Hawks’ ML is +245 at BetOnline. I just see the Hawks coming out motivated tonight.

Utah Jazz +5 (SU 15-16, 15-16-0 ATS) at Minnesota Timberwolves (SU 16-17, ATS 19-14-0) 8:00 EDT

The Jazz head into the Target Center on a slide going into the All-Star break, the Wolves have also had their problems, as both teams have fallen to below .500. This crucial game gets the winner a .500 record going into the All-Star break.

The Jazz have let a few slip away lately including a 106-102 loss at the Spurs, Utah has had 9 losses over their last 12 games. Things haven’t all been bad though, Al Jefferson posted 20 points and 11 rebounds in a loss to Houston and has had a double-double in five of his last six games. However, the Jazz haven’t played well on the road, losing seven of out their last ten games. Lastly, the Jazz come into this contest possibly without shooting guard Raja Bell who could miss another game with strained hip.

Minnesota suffered a tough loss Monday, as Martell Webster dunked with 5 seconds left instead of shooting a three pointer or kicking it out to his teammates. Minnesota was down three points, Webster made a mental error and Minnesota lost for fifth time in their last eight games. Love has been in a bit of funk lately as well, shooting just 31 percent over his last two games. The Wolves may be without breakout center, Nikola Pekovic who suffered a sprained ankle in Monday’s loss to Denver. Darko Milicic is also likely out, possibly forcing Brad Miller into the starting lineup.

The Jazz are not a good road team and Minnesota is a great on their home floor but I like the Jazz tonight. Pekovic’s injury is significant as they have very little other options and Love has also been off his game. Minnesota generally is poor defensively and with a hobbled frontcourt, I look for Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap to lead the Jazz to a victory.

The play: Minnesota +5 for 2 units at BetOnline

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