Thunder vs. Clippers Pick NBA – March 2nd

Even with no Steph, the Warriors still can’t be beaten at home. The Hawks pushed the Champs to their second straight overtime thriller, but in the end, Golden State prevailed with the 109-105 victory. It will now be left to the Thunder tomorrow night to see if they can get up off the mat from Saturday’s emotional loss to end the Warriors unprecedented string of home perfection.

Hopefully you followed my admonition to wait until close to tip off before backing the Dubs last night.   Steph was a very late scratch after being listed as no worse than questionable all day long and with Coach Kerr on the record as saying that if he was healthy enough that he would play. It seems like they might have erred on the side of caution as things got closer to go-time.

Alas, we will try to notch a nice winner tonight on a nice full slate of action.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers (EVEN)

Lost in the hype over tomorrow night’s rematch is the thorny issue of the Thunder having to first play AT the Los Angeles Clippers tonight, making tomorrow night’s game at Golden State the back end of just about the most challenging back-to-back the NBA schedule makers could deal any team. So first things first, can the Thunder even get a win TONIGHT, let alone on tired legs tomorrow at a team that hasn’t lost a home game since Jeb Bush was the front runner for the Republican nomination?

It won’t be easy. The Clippers are 20-10 at home this season and have played surprisingly well there since the injury to Blake Griffin, holding firm on to the fourth spot and still flirting with the possibility of overtaking OKC. A win tonight would really help. The Thunder’s road record for the season is a perfectly healthy 17-10, but they have lost four of their last six straight up and are a dreadful 3-10 ATS over their last 13 road contests. The Thunder are 6-3 ATS in their last nine meetings with LAC, but I think tonight’s game comes at an inopportune time for OKC. They are in the midst of a brutal schedule stretch and tonight will fifth game in eight days. Add in the distraction of tomorrow night’s headliner and they are ripe for the picking tonight.

LAC has survived, and even thrived, without Blake Griffin due to an improved defense and laser-precision shooting from Redick, Paul and Crawford. The guard trio is reigning in points and makes the Clippers an interesting dark-horse contender assuming their sterling play is enhanced and not limited by Griffin’s return.

Either way, I like LAC tonight at home. Oklahoma City’s road covering struggles have been fairly consistent for several months. LAC’s winning ways have also been consistent enough without Blake to be far more than a fluke. Look for the Clippers to win tonight t home and cut the deficit for third in the West to just a single game in the loss column.

Free Pick: Los Angeles Clippers (EVEN)