The Battle for Los Angeles went about as prescribed last night. Kobe was Kobe, going off for 37 points and knocking down an array of highly difficult shots, but as the game wound on, the Clippers depth and talent proved to be too much to surmount and the Clippers beat Big Brother by five points.
No word if Kobe had an expletive-laced comments regarding his team’s advanced age after the game, but one certainly couldn’t blame him if he did. The Clippers looked younger, more athletic, and a little hungrier than the cast of Hall of Famers in purple and gold.
SO are the Clippers back to their winning ways after ending the two game winning streak? Let’s dig into some stats and numbers for tonight’s free pick.
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers -6 (Total: 201.5)
Let’s start with the obvious emotional and fatigue factor. The Clippers are fresh off a hard-fought, emotional win over their detested rival Lakers less than 24-hours ago. That is the first strike against Lob City tonight. Despite that, coupled with the fact Golden State has had two days rest since their last game, LAC is still favored by six points.
Here’s a few other facts of note. Golden State enters with a five game winning streak and having won seven of their last nine, including their most recent outing, a 115-93 thrashing of these very same Clippers. That game was also the second half of a back-to-back immediately following a difficult game for LA (though it was in Golden State).
The Warriors are a solid 11-6 on the road this season, one of the better marks in the NBA, including recent wins in Atlanta and Utah. They have also beaten the Clippers four of the last five times they have faced each other. That stat is made more interesting by the fact that Chris Paul was a Clipper in each of those games and Golden State is dramatically improved this season.
In summary, the Warriors matchup well with Los Angeles. The tempo is a comfortable one for them, as both teams get up and down the floor. Both teams can score in bunches. Golden State averages 101.8 per night while the Clippers tally 101.5. The Clippers have a better bench and a slightly better defense, but they will be battling some focus and fatigue issues while Golden State enters the game fresh.
I love Golden State with the fat six points tonight in a total trap-game for the Clippers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mark Jackson’s Warriors came into Staples and left with an upset victory.
Free Pick: Golden State Warriors +6