The Clippers are finally healthy, but their PLAY is still not quite back to fully-healthy form. They catch a break tonight with the Celtics visiting on the back end of a back-to-back with both Horford and Bradley listed as "questionable." Can they take advantage and start making a push for a Top Four seed in the West?
Is the sky falling in Golden State or is a much simpler matter of SHOTS just not falling for Steph and Klay?
Either analysis has some validity. Losing Kevin Durant MATTERS. He is one of the three or four best players in the NBA, already an MVP and sure-fire future Hall of Famer still in his prime. Losing THAT guy is going to skew results in a negative fashion. However, they got by in New York last night, and before that rebounding effort, they suffered JUST two losses. I’m not willing to make the Spurs/Cavs the NBA Finals favorite just yet.
A quick note too, for the “the Warriors won 73 WITH OUT Durant last year camp.” Yes. Yes, they did. They also won 73 with Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut and Maressee Spieghts. Laugh at Barnes and his Finals Houdini act all you want, but this is a guy who is averaging 20 points a night on a team only a few games out of the playoffs. He doesn’t stink. And Speights gave them something the Dubs aren’t getting right now – “Mo Buckets” off the bench.
And while I am not ready to write off the Dubs as the faves, I am ready to concede this thing is FAR from a done-deal at this point. San Antonio is LEGIT and certainly breathing right down the nape of their necks. If they can close the two-game gap in the last month and earn the #1 seed, there could be some trouble for the two-time reigning Western Champs…
Today’s NBA Pick:
Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Clippers -5
I have an odd feeling this game in only on TNT so the crew can make references to Doc coaching the Celtics (a long time back) and show montages of Paul Pierce and Doc. Alas, that is the late game on TNT tonight and the Celtics find themselves in a tricky spot, having to play a tough road game on the second night of a road back-to-back. Boston has been decent in that spot this season, posting an 8-6 ATS mark on the back-end, but generally, over a long enough sample, most NBA teams struggle in this position, especially later in the year. Only 8 teams in the NBA are more than one game over .500.
The Clippers have something else going for them right now – they have their player in uniforms as opposed to street clothes. That’s a rarity in La La Land these days, the Clippers seem to be enjoying the change. Remember WAAAAYYYYY back in November, when people were legitimately asking if the Clipps could win it all? Well, with Golden State injured, the Spurs seeming to be a team they matchup well against and LAC finally healthy, the dream (however faint) is back in the picture. Sure, they have dropped four of five as Paul rounds into shape, but the band is back together, just in time for one last tour.
Today is more about home court and rests than anything either team is currently doing “right” or “wrong.” The Clippers have been vulnerable, and the Celtics are just 5-5 ATS in their last ten. They have also lost four of their last five games at the Clippers.
I’ll take the home team on national television, and more importantly, the team with some fresher legs at home. Both Al Horford AND Avery Bradley are listed as “questionable” right now – so KEEP AN EYE on this line throughout the day. It could widen or shrink depending on which way, especially Horford, goes. I’m going to lean that “questionable” is less likely on the backend of a road back-to-back this late in the season, so I’m scooping up the -5.
Today’s Pick: Los Angeles Clippers -5