Kudos for the NBA for coming out an admitting they completely blew it Christmas night with the Blake Griffin ejection, however, it doesn’t change the fact that the Clippers lost a tight game with their co-star in the locker room. They tried to avenge the bitter loss last night in Portland, and instead got another – bitter loss – this time in overtime despite Blake Griffin’s dominant 35 points. That’s two of the tougher losses in the span of 48 hours this year in the NBA, but oddly, despite two losses, I went away more convinced that the Clippers could be a factor in the Western Conference playoffs.
It’s a good slate of Friday games tonight across the Association, so let’s dig in with a pair of picks.
Today’s Free Picks:
Phoenix Suns at Golden State Warriors -6 (Total: 210)
It’s been an unwise strategy this season to bet against Phoenix. They are a ridiculous 20-6-1 against the spread this season and have made pro-Suns bettors a pile of cash. They are still not getting great respect from Vegas, getting a full six points at Golden State tonight.
Phoenix has won eight of their past ten games, but their two losses have both been on the road and both been by more than seven points and have failed to cover. Basically, when they win they also cover, and when they lose on the road, they lose for real. Golden State has won three straight games and have looked much better with Andre Iguodala back in the lineup.
I like Golden State tonight at home to deal Phoenix a rare loss against the spread.
Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz -3.5 (Total: 196.5)
The Lakers troubles are well publicized; injuries, especially to Kobe, and a roster that simply is so far below par in the Western Conference it is hard to see them avoiding the Lottery this season. Meanwhile, the Jazz looked like the worst team in the NBA for the first month of the season, but are all of a sudden playing very respectable basketball. They are 4-4 over their last eight games, but seven of those games were on the road. Tonight, they get to return home well rested against a very beatable opponent.
Their last ten game results have mirrored their overall result. I think tonight will as well. This is a good opportunity for Trey Burke to have another good game against the Lakers mediocre backcourt, and for the Jazz to get a great home performance.
The Lakers have lost three games in a row and seven overall. Their last three haven’t even been real close with the exception of the Christmas Day game against the Heat, who have a tendency to do JUST enough to win those types of games.
Give me the Jazz at home with the win and cover.