Brooklyn’s D’Angelo Russell defends Charlotte’s Kemba Walker in a Feb. 23 game (Chuck Burton)
Brooklyn’s D’Angelo Russell defends Charlotte’s Kemba Walker in a Feb. 23 game (Chuck Burton)|Associated Press

NBA Friday: A Night for Taking the Points

Hornets-Nets / Wizards-Celtics

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

HORNETS (+2.5) at NETS (229), 7:30 p.m.
Pick: Hornets (+2.5)

After an embarrassing loss on their home floor against Washington on Wednesday, the Nets return to action at the Barclays Center hosting the Charlotte Hornets.

We’re now over a week back from the All-Star break and we’ve cashed several times since on playoff bubble teams. Enter the Charlotte Hornets (28-33) who come into Friday night’s contest one game south of the Orlando Magic, who currently occupy the final playoff berth in the East. Given the Hornets have lost five out of six, they’re probably fortunate to be that close to the playoffs. However, three of those five losses were by single digits and another loss was by 11 points to Golden State on Monday. Additionally, one of those close losses came against Brooklyn (32-31) last weekend. Any time you see a series of close games all fall the same way for a team, you have to wonder about how much luck is involved. It’s very difficult to win close game after close game and a team that loses a lot of them probably caught its fair share of bad breaks along the way.

Charlotte just played Houston tough for 48 minutes on Wednesday in a 118-113 loss and we’re expecting the Hornets to find their footing again in a revenge spot here.

WIZARDS (+10) at CELTICS (234.5), 8 p.m.
Pick: Wizards (+10)

The Wizards (25-36) are a little further back in the playoff hunt in the East, but winning the way they did in Brooklyn on Wednesday - controlling the game from start to finish - might be a sign they’re not going quietly. On top of that, how does anyone lay double digits with the Celtics (37-25) right now?

Washington’s road struggles this season are probably inflating this number a bit as the Wizards are 8-24 away from the nation’s capital and 10-22 ATS in those 32 games. However, more than anything else this pick is a fade of a Boston team that looks to be in shambles right now although we do think Washington might show some fight between now and the end of the regular season.

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