NBA Saturday: Taking Advantage of the Back-to-Backs
Charlotte’s Cody Zeller (left) and Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen battle Friday (Seth Wenig)Associated Press

NBA Saturday: Taking Advantage of the Back-to-Backs

Nets-Heat / Lakers-Suns

NETS (+4) at HEAT (220.5), 7:30 p.m.
Pick: Heat (-4)

Another fringe playoff team cashed for us Friday night as the Hornets won outright in Brooklyn as a short pup, 123-112. It was Brooklyn’s third loss in five games out of the All-Star break and that defeat, as well as Wednesday’s 125-116 loss against Washington, were not especially competitive for the Nets. Now, Brooklyn (32-32) travels to South Beach on the second leg a back-to-back to face another playoff bubble team in the Miami Heat.

The Heat (27-34) are 1.5 games south of Charlotte for the final playoff spot and sandwiched in between the two teams is the Orlando Magic. The Heat pulled of an upset victory against Golden State on a Dwyane Wade buzzer-beater earlier in the week and nearly did it again against the Rockets in Houston on Thursday. Nonetheless, Miami looks to be coming out of a skid after losing six of seven prior to the Golden State win, while Brooklyn might be entering a skid of its own. Give us the Heat to cover the four.

LAKERS (-6.5) at SUNS (232.5),9 p.m.
Under (232.5)

How does anyone lay points with the Lakers and feel confident right now? Los Angeles (30-32) is 2-5 in its last seven games and an identical 2-5 ATS in those seven and is one of few playoff bubble teams we don’t want to buy right now.

It’s Phoenix (12-51) or pass if you’re playing the side here, but the stronger play is to go Under the total. For three quarters Friday night at Staples Center, the purple and gold proved to be up to the task against the East’s top dog, the Milwaukee Bucks. However, Milwaukee would pull away in the fourth quarter winning, 131-120. We’re guessing there’s some tired legs for the Lakers on this second leg of a back-to-back. Lakers’ games often have very high totals as they aren’t exactly known for their defense. But, this can result in an overreaction when the Lakers are on the tail end of a back-to-back. In that spot, the Lakers are 7-1-1 to the Under. We’ll follow the trend and go Under in the desert.

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