NBA Picks and Predictions for Tuesday April 7

NBA Picks and Predictions for Tuesday April 7

Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their NBA picks and predictions for Tuesday, April 7.

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Atlanta Hawks at Toronto Raptors, 7:05PM ET

The Atlanta Hawks have a tenuous grip on the highly coveted No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. They might need to step up their play in the last week of the regular season to hold onto it.

The Hawks look to avoid a season high-tying fourth consecutive defeat and strengthen their hold for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs when they visit the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.

Atlanta (43-34) has clinched its first winning finish since the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season with its highest win total since going 50-32 in 1997-98.

The Hawks, though, have dropped six of their last eight during a brutal stretch following a season-high seven-game winning streak. They shot 39.0 percent from the field in an 88-82 home loss to Orlando on Saturday.

Atlanta is two games ahead of fifth-place Miami and 2 1/2 games ahead of sixth-place Philadelphia.

The Hawks host the Heat in their second-to-last game of the regular season April 14. Though the Hawks play their other four remaining games against teams either already eliminated or likely soon to be out of the postseason mix, coach Mike Woodson isn't taking anything for granted.

NBA Free Pick: Toronto | Best Line: +1 Sports Interaction

New Orleans Hornets at Miami Heat, 7:34PM ET

Though the New Orleans Hornets and Miami Heat recently clinched playoff berths, neither will feel real good about its chances in the postseason if its inconsistent play continues.

One of them, however, will get a confidence boost Tuesday night by winning this matchup of teams still seeking home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Hornets (47-29) have split their last 12 games, with five of those six wins coming against teams that won't make the playoffs. The Heat (41-36) have lost seven of 12 and none of the victories were against teams currently above .500.

New Orleans only wrapped up a postseason berth Sunday because Phoenix, the ninth-place team in the West, lost to Dallas. Miami clinched one Friday night by beating Charlotte.

The Heat have five games left and are in fifth place in the East, two games behind Atlanta for the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the opening round. New Orleans is sixth in the West and 1 1/2 games behind Houston for fourth.

NBA Free Pick: Miami | Best Line: -4 Sports Interaction

Philadelphia 76ers at Charlotte Bobcats, 7:05PM ET

Neither the Philadelphia 76ers nor the Charlotte Bobcats played particularly well in their last game. The difference is Philadelphia has clinched a playoff spot while Charlotte may have fallen too far back to still make a run at one.

The 76ers look to bounce back from a dismal offensive performance on Tuesday when they visit the slumping Bobcats, whose latest loss has pushed them closer to elimination from postseason contention.

Philadelphia (40-36) clinched its second straight playoff berth following a 95-90 win over Detroit on Saturday, but still has plenty to play for.

The 76ers are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference - a half-game behind fifth-place Miami and 2 1/2 back of fourth-place Atlanta with six games remaining. If they can catch the Hawks, the Sixers would get home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs because they won the season series.

NBA Free Pick: Philadelphia | Best Line: +5 Sports Interaction

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