Kobe Bryant thinks the Lakers are soft, LeBron James has a bum knee and we enjoyed a perfect Thursday night. While our NBA picks don’t own the headlines in the NBA world, they probably should, as went 2-0 and obtained our third unblemished night of the year. That brings us to a stellar 171-79 season record as we prepare for a totally loaded Friday night:

Clippers @ Wizards

Los Angeles is playing fantastic basketball during a sweet nine-game winning streak, while they’ve been especially stout on the road this year (8-2). That clashes with Washington’s home dominance (10-2), but we have to side with the Clips since they have way more star power and are on fire.

Pick: Clippers 105, Wiz 102

Blazers @ Bulls

Portland heads to Chicago for a rematch of a game the Blazers trounced the Bulls in just a few weeks ago. Chicago has oddly had some issues at home and will be without center Joakim Noah for the second straight game. Advantage: Blazers.

Pick: Blazers 107, Bulls 104

Pacers @ Raptors

Indiana is trying desperately to stay alive in the race for the East’s last playoff spot, but their offense is just too hit or miss. We can expect much more of the same in Toronto, where the Raptors are extremely tough to beat.

Pick: Raptors 106, Pacers 92

Knicks @ Celtics

New York has dropped 10 straight, but they just might have a shot at ending their skid tonight. Boston doesn’t play much defense and if the Knicks can slow things down and execute, they might be able to get it done. Oh, wait, Carmelo Anthony is probably out? Yeah…

Pick: Celtics 105, Knicks 97

Magic @ Hawks

Atlanta leads the Atlantic division and is quite balanced, while the Magic continue to struggle on offense. If Nikola Vucevic is out again, Orlando doesn’t stand a chance.

Pick: Hawks 104, Magic 96

76ers @ Nets

Both of these teams appear to be complete messes, but the Nets are at home and still have much better talent on their roster. They get the pick, if only be default.

Pick: Nets 105, 76ers 99

Hornets @ Grizzlies

Charlotte oddly has won two straight after losing for most of November and December, so they’ll try to make it three in a row. That’s not likely in Memphis, though, where the Grizz have lost just one game all year.

Pick: Grizz 104, Hornets 88

Cavaliers @ Pelicans

Cleveland had a nice eight-game winning streak snapped last night, so they’ll try to start all over in New Orleans tonight. They’re the better team right now, but it’s on the road and the Pellies are quite strong at home (6-2). Anthony Davis also completely dismantled them last time, so I like the Pelicans to get the win and get back to .500.

Pick: Pelicans 101, Cavs 100

Thunder @ Timberwolves

OKC has built up a nice four-game winning streak, but they might be tired on the second of a back to back in Minnesota. No matter, the Timberwolves are too awful to take advantage.

Pick: Thunder 109, T’Wolves 93

Pistons @ Suns

Detroit is on an atrocious 13-game losing streak and the Suns might be getting stronger with Isaiah Thomas potentially returning from an ankle injury. With this one in Phoenix, it doesn’t look good for the Pistons.

Pick: Suns 104, Pistons 96

Heat @ Jazz

Miami is struggling to find offense consistently and may be a team that hovers around .500 all year. At least they play some defense, though, which the Jazz simply do not. It could be a competitive game in Utah, but look for Dwyane Wade and co. to get the win.

Pick: Heat 98, Jazz 95

Lakers @ Spurs

Kobe Bryant made just one of 14 shots the last time these two sides faced. San Antonio’s four best players all sat out their last game, so we can expect most of them to be back to take care of the Lakers at home.

Pick: Spurs 106, Lakers 99

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