We did well with out NBA picks to close last week, as we went a blistering 8-1 over nine Sunday games. In fact, had Dallas just edged out an inferior Pacers squad in Indy, we would have gone a perfect 9-0. We’ll take the 8-1 record (646-328 on the year) and confidently march into a new week with Monday’s NBA picks:

Lakers @ 76ers

In a toss up game no one will bet on confidently, the Lakers travel to Philly to take on the Sixers. Philly will be without Jason Richardson and boasts a dreadful 12-25 home record, while the Lakers have a changing rotation of bigs and will be without Jeremy Lin. L.A. is also 8-29 away from home. Things figure to be working against the Lakers, especially considering Nerlens Noel has really came into his own lately. He could dominate as Philly wins a close one at home.

Pick: Sixers 101, Lakers 97

Celtics @ Hornets

A banged up Al Jefferson (knee) will continue to give it a go for the Hornets, who are limping to the finish line almost literally with seven losses in their last 10 contests. Boston’s defense leaves a lot to be desired, though, while Charlotte tends to save their best ball for the home crowd.

Pick: Hornets 102, Celtics 98

Bucks @ Hawks

Atlanta’s main players are well rested and all should be in the lineup tonight as they host a Bucks squad that continues to struggle with consistency. Atlanta is obviously the better team and is pretty much unbeatable at home (31-5), so you can’t take the Bucks and feel good about it.

Pick: Hawks 107, Bucks 102

Rockets @ Raptors

Dwight Howard is down again and Houston is extremely banged up down low. That’s going to put a ton of pressure on James Harden, while Toronto may have a field day in the paint. If the Raptors can take advantage, they should be able to thwart off Houston at home.

Pick: Raptors 105, Rockets 103

Jazz @ Timberwolves

Two home teams lost last night and the home team typically should be favored when the matchup isn’t obviously against them. That theme stops here, as Utah plays great defense and could be at full strength tonight. Even if Derrick Favors sits out for the second game in a row I like them, as Minnesota is down to Justin Hamilton as their top center. Yikes.

Pick: Jazz 104, T’Wolves 96

Kings @ Grizzlies

DeMarcus Cousins has been ruled out for this contest in Memphis and Rudy Gay could be rested, as well. The Kings are under-manned on the road against a much better team, so picking them would be a grave mistake tonight.

Pick: Grizz 105, Kings 101

Suns @ Trail Blazers

Phoenix is sliding out of the playoff picture just as the Blazers are putting the finishing touches on wrapping up a division crown. Portland is almost at full strength again and is really tough to beat at home (29-7 on the year), so the Suns could be in for a rough ticket.

Pick: Blazers 106, Suns 103

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