TNT Thursday Night NBA Free Picks 2/24/11 (MIA @ CHI, BOS @ DEN)

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If it's a Thursday night, that means that it's time for NBA betting action once again! This week, in the final two duels before the NBA Trade Deadline, we make our free basketball picks on the clashes between the Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics vs. Denver Nuggets.

NBA Matchup: Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls
Date: Thursday, February 24th, 8:00 ET
Location: United Center, Chicago, IL
NBA Odds: Miami -1
Over/Under (Total): 192

Injuries (or lack thereof) will be playing a key role in this NBA betting battle on Thursday. Joakim Noah should be back in the lineup on Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors, meaning that this should be the second straight game that he is sharing a lineup with Carlos Boozer, assuming that there are no setbacks on Wednesday night or unexpected trades between now and the 3:00 ET trade deadline. Of course, the Bulls would love to get another game out of Derrick Rose like they got just before the All Star Break, as he put up 42 points on 18-of-28 shooting, while both Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer went absolutely bananas. What we have to remember about Chicago though, is that there is still a huge interest in Courtney Lee, and if a deal gets done, it will likely shorten the bench quite a bit. Miami will certainly be without Mike Miller, who is dealing with an eye injury, though the prospects are there for him to be traded before Thursday's deadline as well. Still, we're talking about LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade, who combined for a whopping 76 points in Miami's last victory before the All Star break. These two teams have combined to win seven games in a row between them, but the Bulls are just doing better right now than the Heat are. Chicago has a win here already this season, a 99-96 triumph on January 15th, and it would love to make a statement in this potential playoff tussle against one of the best teams in the East.NBA Free Pick: Chicago Bulls +1

NBA Matchup: Boston Celtics @ Denver Nuggets
Date: Thursday, February 24th, 10:30 ET
Location: Pepsi Arena, Denver, CO
NBA Odds: Boston -3
Over/Under (Total): 204

This is definitely going to be a new look for the Nuggets on Thursday night, as they will be debuting Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, and Wilson Chandler, their new acquisitions in place of the departed Carmelo Anthony . The team did alright even though it was really crippled without any of these players on Tuesday night, coming up with a big win, albeit against the Sacramento Kings. There is a real question about how these pieces to the puzzle are going to gel in Denver, but we tend to believe that transitioning over from the Knicks' up tempo system to this one won't be all that bad. Meanwhile, there is indeed a second team in this game, and it happens to be one of the best teams in the entire league. Boston smacked the Golden State Warriors 115-93 in the first game of the second half of the season, and it hopes that this road trip is one that goes as smoothly throughout as this first battle in Oakland did. Of course, when you get 23 out of Paul Pierce, 24 from Kevin Garnett, 18 from Ray Allen, and 19 from Rajon Rondo, you're going to win a heck of a lot of games. These four make up a cohesive package for certain, but if you're Head Coach George Karl for the Nuggs, this is the game that you can make your big time statement in. Many are just writing Denver out of the postseason right now thanks to this trade, but we're not so sure that that's the case. The Nuggets just might figure out how to pull off the upset in this one. Free NBA Pick: Denver Nuggets +3

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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