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NBA Picks and Predictions January 26th

Maybe there is something to the “Clippers Curse” after all. Just when things were looking up for the long-beleaguerd franchise, the injury bug strikes once again. Deep breathe – it’s not Blake Griffin. But a lot of casual fans would be surprised to learn that the Clips will be without their leading scorer for the next month.

Eric Gordon. Very quietly the third-year shooting guard has been putting up 24 points a night and emerged as an elite guard to play the “outside” to the much more publicized “inside” presence of Blake Griffin.

Here’s hoping Gordon gets healthy quickly and suffers no lingering effects from the injury. The NBA is a much more interesting place when the perpetually-underdog Clippers are playing exciting and competitive basketball.

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Today’s Free NBA Picks:

Los Angeles Clippers @ Houston Rockets -7.5 (Total: 214.5)

It feels cruel to pile on the Clippers after their disappointing loss of Eric Gordon, but it seems only too obvious they’ll struggle tonight on the road at Houston. To make matters even worse, Blake Griffin took a hard intentional foul from Brendan Hayward last night and dinged his elbow and shoulder. I’m 99% sure Blake will play tonight, but it is just another little tiny factor working against the Clips tonight.

Perhaps more significantly, Houston is a pretty good team at home.

The Clipipers a pretty good roll, winning seven of ten and seemingly beginning to find a nice rythym. However, the second night of a back-to-back, on the road, less than 24-hours after losing your leading scorer to injury?? It seems like way too much to overcome. I’ll take the safe pick, Houston laying the points.

PICK: Houston Rockets -7.5 (-105) @ 5Dimes.com

Charlotte Bobcats @ Phoenix Suns -7 (Total: 200)

Charlotte has been playing better ball since Paul Silas replaced Larry Brown as the head coach, winning 9 of 15 overall, including four straight heading into tonight’s trip to Phoenix.

The Suns meanwhile are heading in the opposite direction, losers of their last three and struggling mightily on the offensive end. Vince Carter in particular is killing them with his ice-cold shooting. I know, imagine that, Vince Carter killing his team…

At first blush, it seems like Phoenix would be the pick at home, but it’s important to consider the matchups before just looking at the names on the front of the jerseys. This is not the Phoenix Suns team we are used to seeing for most of the past decade. For starters, they are averaging only 14.2 fast break points per game; just two more than Charlotte. The fun-and-gun days of the explosive Steve Nash offense are in the rear view mirror at this point. The Suns are very likely missing the playoffs, and are no longer one of the elite teams in the West.

Charlotte has beaten the Suns four consecutive times, by a convincing 14.3 point margin nonetheless.

I like Charlotte on the road, quite possibly getting the win outright, but certainly with the six point spread.

PICK: Charlotte Bobcats +7 (-110) @ Bodog.com

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