New Orleans Pelicans (36-26) at Los Angeles Clippers (34-28)
We are officially on fire! We won our fourth consecutive NBA bet last night when we backed the Indiana Pacers at home against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Pacers had the game under control all night long but had to hold off the Bucks as they made their typical late run.
This one got a little too close for comfort as we needed a Bojan Bogdanovic free throw with just five seconds left in the game to secure the win and the cover for Indiana. The game played out much as we expected, the Pacers led by double digits or close to it for most of the game and the Bucks went crazy late in a desperate attempt to get back into the game.
Milwaukee needs to figure out a way to play better early in games as they only have so many big comebacks in them this year and playing from behind all game long is a recipe for disaster in the playoffs. For Indiana, it would appear they have fully recovered from last week’s skid and have now won three straight games.
Tonight, we look at two teams jockeying for playoff position in the NBA’s Western Conference as the Los Angeles Clippers host the New Orleans Pelicans.
The New Orleans Pelicans will travel to Los Angeles Tuesday night to face the Clippers in a game both teams badly need to win. The Pelicans have won eight straight games and have moved all the way up to the four seed in the Western Conference.
For Los Angeles, the Clippers are currently on the outside looking in for the playoffs, but they are just a half of a game back of the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. The Clippers are -2.5-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 236.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM PST from the Staples Center.
If you were to just quickly glance at the Western Conference playoff picture, you would think that New Orleans are in really good shape with just a few weeks left to play in the season. They are in fourth place in the conference and are just one game back of Portland for the three seed. But when you take a closer look, you realize these Pelicans are in for a dogfight down the stretch.
Right now, just two games separate the Pelicans from the Clippers, who are currently in ninth place in the West. One bad weekend and the Pelicans can go from a top three seed, to out of the playoffs altogether. There is no room for error in New Orleans.
This current eight-game winning streak couldn’t have come at a better time for New Orleans as they gave themselves just a tiny bit of breathing room. New Orleans will look for the hot streak to continue tonight against an equally hot Clippers team.
The Los Angeles Clippers looked like they were throwing in the towel on the season when they traded away Blake Griffin at the trade deadline. It was rebuilding time in L.A. The problem is, they must have forgotten to tell the team, as the Clippers have played very well since the Griffin deal and are in a position to make the playoffs.
The Clippers have decided they are going to just run and gun and turn as many games into shootouts as possible. That strategy has worked fairly well as the Clippers could conceivably make the playoffs even without Griffin.
The Clips have also been playing without two starters in Danilo Gallinari and Avery Bradley for most of this hot stretch. It hasn’t seemed to matter who is on the court for L.A. head coach Doc Rivers has them playing fast and hard, and they are winning games.
What a game we have tonight in L.A. Neither of these teams are going to win the NBA title, I doubt highly that either of them are going to win a playoff series. But boy are they both playing a fun brand of basketball right now.
The Clippers are averaging 120 points a game over their last eight games, they can really fill it up. Not to be outmatched the Pelicans are scoring an absurd 127 points a game over their last eight. First, one to 140 points wins tonight?
You just have to wonder whose hot streak comes to an end tonight. I am going to back the New Orleans Pelicans in this one. What Anthony Davis is doing since Demarcus Cousins went down with an injury has been borderline historic.
The big man is doing everything and seems to be single handily leading this team to the playoffs. Throw in a Rajon Rondo that looks like he is back in his prime and flirting with a triple-double almost every game, and you have a great combo of players that are tough to match up against.
For L.A. I love how much heart they are showing and how hard they are playing since shipping off Griffin. But in the end, they just don’t have the talent to hang with the other possible playoff teams in the West. Especially without Gallinari and Bradley.
It is a very tight race, but when it all shakes out, you can expect the Clippers to be the odd man out for the playoffs this year.
Give me the New Orleans Pelicans +2.5-points tonight from the Staples Center.