TheSpread.com NBA Picks and Predictions 2/6

TheSpread.com NBA Picks and Predictions 2/6

Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their NBA picks and predictions for Friday, February 6.

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Orlando Magic at Indiana Pacers, 7:05PM ET

The Orlando Magic got some devastating news earlier this week when they found out point guard Jameer Nelson might miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum, and on Thursday they made a trade to give themselves some depth at the position.

In Orlando's first game without Nelson, Anthony Johnson didn't look like he needed much help.

Coming off one of the best games of his 12-year career, Johnson will see what he can do for an encore Friday when the Magic visit the Indiana Pacers, one of his former teams.

Orlando (37-11) was rolling along atop the Southeast Division heading into February, and a 113-90 victory at Toronto on Sunday was its 10th win in 12 games.

The Magic came home the next night to face Dallas, and not only did they lose 105-95, but they also lost Nelson to a potentially season-ending shoulder injury. That left Orlando with the 34-year-old Johnson as the only natural point guard on the roster.

Johnson came into the Magic's game Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers averaging 4.3 points and 2.6 assists in just about 18 minutes per game, but in his first start since Dec. 3, he more than adequately filled in for Nelson. Johnson scored a team-high 25 points - two off his career high - and missed just two shots in 27 minutes, as Orlando routed the Clippers 125-96.

NBA Free Pick: Orlando – Best Line: -6 Sports Interaction

Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Bobcats, 7:05PM ET

The Atlanta Hawks compensated nicely when All-Star Joe Johnson couldn't play. The Charlotte Bobcats haven't been as successful trying to figure out how to make do without Gerald Wallace.

The Hawks expect to have Johnson back in the lineup Friday night as they try to take advantage of a Bobcats team that has faltered with Wallace injured.

With Johnson at home due to an illness, Atlanta (28-20) got a 23-point, 10-rebound performance from Marvin Williams in a 94-86 win at Minnesota on Wednesday night.

Hawks coach Mike Woodson said he hoped to have Johnson - the team's leader in scoring, assists and minutes - back for this contest.

Charlotte (19-29) doesn't expect Wallace to return until after this month's All-Star break. The Bobcats' leading scorer with 16.4 points per game, Wallace is recovering from a partially collapsed lung and broken rib suffered in a 117-110 double overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 27 - the team's only victory on its recently completed five-game road trip.

Charlotte averaged 86.3 points en route to losing its next three games after Wallace went down.

Atlanta has also had to deal with missing top players for lengthy periods. Josh Smith missed 12 games early in the season due to an ankle sprain, and Al Horford (knee) was also out 12 straight before returning against the Timberwolves.

Horford had four points and six rebounds in 24 minutes, and should see his playing time increase in this contest.

Williams helped make up for Horford's limited play and Johnson's absence, and is averaging 17.1 points and 8.4 rebounds in seven straight starts since missing two games with a concussion in January.

NBA Free Pick: Atlanta – Best Line: +2 Sports Interaction

Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, 7:35PM ET

In perhaps the most difficult homestand possible for the New York Knicks, Madison Square Garden has already seen a pair of remarkable individual performances from the NBA's two biggest superstars.

Now, the world's most famous arena will welcome the defending league champions.

The Boston Celtics' 12-game winning streak came to an end Thursday, but they'll try to bounce back less than 24 hours later against the improving Knicks, who play a third consecutive game against one of the NBA's top three teams.

New York (21-27) had won five straight home games and six of seven overall before Kobe Bryant and LeBron James arrived in Manhattan this week.

Bryant set an MSG record with 61 points in the Los Angeles Lakers' 126-117 win on Monday, and James may have been even better two days later, becoming the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975 to score 50 points as part of a triple-double. James had 52 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as Cleveland won 107-102.

While no member of the defending champs is likely to put up such numbers, it likely won't get any easier for the Knicks on Friday against Boston's harassing defense.

NBA Free Pick: Boston – Best Line: -6.5 Sports Interaction

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