NBA Playoff Picks and Predictions for Wednesday April 29

NBA Playoff Picks and Predictions for Wednesday April 29

NBA Playoff Picks and Predictions for Wednesday

Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their NBA picks and predictions for Wednesday, April 29.

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Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks, 8:05PM ET

Zaza Pachulia spends most of his time as an obscure backup center for the Atlanta Hawks, playing a few minutes here, a few minutes there. He's rugged but hardly graceful. He's a banger who handles the dirty work, letting others claim the glory.

But in the playoffs? He's fearless. He's a leader. He's invaluable.

Two years running, the 6-foot-11 native of Georgia - the country - has taken a lead role for the team that plays in the state of Georgia.

A postseason ago, Pachulia fired up Atlanta by going forehead-to-forehead with Boston All-Star Kevin Garnett, showing his underdog team had no intention of backing down to the eventual champion Celtics in a series that surprisingly went the full seven games.

On Monday, Pachulia may have saved this season for the Hawks with his gritty performance in Game 4 against the Miami Heat. Getting down and dirty - and sporting a black eye for extra effect - he scored 12 points and grabbed 18 rebounds in a game the Hawks had to have, an 81-71 victory that sent the series back to Atlanta tied at two games apiece.

NBA Free Pick: Miami | Best Line: +6 Sports Interaction

New Orleans Hornets at Denver, 10:35PM ET

Take it from the man who just won the NBA's Sportsmanship Award, the Denver Nuggets' historic dismantling of the New Orleans Hornets left more than just the losers red-faced.

``In a strange sort of way, being up by that much is kind of embarrassing for the team that's up sometimes,'' Billups' said Tuesday, 12 hours after the Nuggets' 121-63 shellacking of the Hornets. ``Only because, you play the game with integrity and you don't want to show anybody up. But at the same time you want to play hard and you want to compete.

``It was an embarrassing thing to go through, but I thought the guys were very professional and just kept playing. There wasn't no (trash) talk or rubbing it in. It was just playing hard.''

Denver's 58-point win matched the most lopsided victory in NBA playoff history, the Minneapolis Lakers' 133-75 blowout of the St. Louis Hawks in 1956.

More importantly, it put the Nuggets ahead 3-1 in their best-of-seven series and on the verge of winning a playoff matchup for the first time since 1994. The last time they won a best-of-seven series was 1985.

Billups said the biggest thing the Nuggets have to do in Game 5 on Wednesday night in Denver is act like the roles were reversed.

NBA Free Pick: Denver | Best Line: -10.5 Sports Interaction

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