NBA Picks and Predictions for Friday April 3

NBA Picks and Predictions for Friday April 3

Friday NBA Picks

Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their NBA picks and predictions for Friday, April 3.

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Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics, 7:35PM ET

As they chase the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics have earned three straight victories to start their latest stint without Kevin Garnett.

The last one didn't come easily, though, and the next one could also be difficult.

Two days after a dramatic double-overtime win, the defending NBA champions continue their homestand Friday night against the Atlanta Hawks, who took the Celtics to seven games in the first round of last year's playoffs.

Boston is simply hoping to be healthy going into this postseason, and that prospect is in doubt due to Garnett's knee.

The reigning NBA defensive player of the year has missed 16 of the last 20 games, and has been ruled out for at least the three remaining contests on this five-game homestand.

The Celtics (57-19) barely got by without Garnett on Wednesday night, needing Ray Allen's 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the second overtime to beat Charlotte 111-109.

Paul Pierce had 32 points, as well as the feed to Allen for the winning shot. Pierce is 29-for-34 from the free throw line in the last three games.

NBA Free Pick: Boston | Best Line: -6 SPORTSBETTING.COM

Sacramento Kings at Phoenix Suns, 10:05PM ET

Playing at home instead of on the road has made all the difference for the Phoenix Suns over the past two months. The Sacramento Kings have seen that first-hand.

Leading up to a game in which their playoff hopes could hang in the balance, the Suns go for a season-best seventh consecutive home win Friday night as they try to avenge a recent loss to the lowly Kings.

Phoenix (41-34) is four games behind Dallas for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Regardless of how the Suns fare in this game, if the Mavericks win at Memphis on Friday they would wrap up a postseason berth by beating Phoenix on Sunday.

That would knock the Suns out of playoff contention because they would be five games behind Dallas with each team having five games remaining, and the Mavs would own the tiebreaker for having won the season series.

NBA Free Pick: Sacramento | Best Line: +13 SPORTSBETTING.COM

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:35PM ET

While the Los Angeles Lakers have already clinched home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs, the Houston Rockets are trying to host a first-round series, and their next few games could determine if they get one of the top four seeds.

Houston looks to bounce back from a tough loss and avoid being swept in the season series to the Lakers for the first time in seven years when they open a difficult portion of their schedule Friday night at Staples Center.

The Rockets (48-27) are fourth in the highly competitive West, where the second through seventh seeds are separated by just a few games. Staying in the top four won't be easy for Houston, which faces Portland on Sunday and Orlando on Tuesday.

The Rockets, who have already clinched a playoff berth, boast one of the league's top scoring defenses (94.8), but didn't look sound in Wednesday's 114-109 loss to Phoenix. The fast-paced Suns shot 54.3 percent from the field and scored 18 fast-break points.

NBA Free Pick: LA Lakers | Best Line: -5 SPORTSBETTING.COM

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