March 28, 2016 (3:35 PM ET)
There are two NBA picks tonight.
1) Take LA Clippers -4 spread against Boston Celtics for 3% of the bankroll.
These two teams met at the TD Garden on February 10th, in a high-scoring thriller (139-134) that needed overtime to decide the winner! Now it's time for the Clippers to play host as the Celtics visit LA and the Staples Center and we don't believe this game will be as tighly contested. Chris Paul is the captain of this team and is arguably the most competitive individual in NBA! His winning attitude has rubbed off on his teammates over the years and it goes without saying that they circle their calendar whenever a chance to get 'revenge' presents itself. That was the case last night as well when the Nuggets visited in good form as Lob City had previously been surprised by them at home in the previous meeting. There was no shock on this occassion. They came out flying out of the gate and mounted a comfortable double-digit lead! They put the game out of reach by the 4th quarter which allowed CP3 to log only 28 minutes and remain fresh for the upcoming schedule. Chris Paul wasn't the only player to get ample rest as other key figures, Jordan, JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford also saw limited minutes in order to be ready for this game versus the Celtics! This might be a back-to-back schedule for them then but fatigue should not be an issue while home-court advantage and extra motivation certainly is.
The Celtics have now won 4 straight games after dropping their previous four but will find it challenging tonight. The sheer size and athleticism of DeAndre Jordan presents matchup problems for a relatively smaller lineup that often has Jared Sullinger playing at the Center position! Kelly Olynik, much like Sullinger is a talented big that can shoot the ball well but they aren't the muscular force that Jordan is in the paint. DJ is one of the most under-rated players in the league as he leads it in field goal percentage (efficiency) but is more important the defensive anchor for Los Angeles. He's not only one of the top shot-blockers and rebounders in the league but also a player that 'alters' a lot of shots due to his presence. Players don't drive to the basket as much when he's on the court and when they do, they often end up subsconsciously changing their shot because they are afraid he'll get on the end of it and swat it away! On top of that, his backup Cole Aldrich is an entirely capable big man off the bench who admirably performs many of the same duties. If Brad Stevens wants to go big and match their size, he'll have to go to Tyler Zeller but Zeller did not participate in their last game and could be rusty! He's a good hard working player but he's not in the same class as DJ and has played limited minutes for Boston over the course of the season.
The Clippers need only a few more wins to clinch home-court advantage through the first round of the playoffs and we dont' expect them to slow down until they get it. And we certainly don't see them taking their off of the gas pedal against Doc Rivers' old club, a team that has already beaten them this season. This is a non-conference showdown between the 4th placed team in the West going up against the current 4th placed team in the East and given that this is the second and final meeting between the two sides, we don't see Clippers being swept in the season series! This squad has too much pride to be dominated by another team and will be out to avenge that loss. It's also worth noting that Jae Crowder played a big role for the Celtics in that February win but remains sidelined. He might be back in about a week's time but will be once again missing for the C's tonight. As their best 'two-way' player, he's an integrap part of the starting lineup and not one they have a replacement for.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Clippers are 16-9 ATS when seeking revenge for a loss this season!
- Clippers have won twice as many games (24) as they have lost (12) at Staples Center.
- Celtics have lost their last 5 games as an underdog and have not covered the spread in any of them!
2) Take San Antonio Spurs -6 spread against Memphis Grizzlies for 3% of the bankroll.
Gregg Popovich will be resting his three veterans Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. In addition, Kawhi Leonard will miss his 3rd straight game due to a right quad contusion. That might lead some to 'write off' the Spurs' chances in this game but we believe that would be a grave mistake. What makes San Antonio a model NBA franchise and such an admirable organization is the fact that they truly are a T-E-A-M! They aren't just a bunch of talented individuals. In their case, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. They exemplify teamwork, camraderie, and play fundamentally sound and winning basketball regardless of who's on the court. This is a deep squad that often outscores teams with its second unit and will still have veteran pros like David West, Boris Diaw and All-Star acquisition LaMarcus Aldridge in the front-court. Patty Mills will be effective as the PG while Danny Green is the first choice starter at shooting guard over Manu Ginobili anyway. Simmons and Kyle Anderson will likely get solid playing time tonight and those are two under-rated players that along with European giant, Boban Marjanovic can surprise people tonight! In short, this group may not have all of its pieces tonight but it'll still be a very formidable opponent.
How often does San Antonio lose consecutive games? Almost never! In fact, they often not only win the next game but do so in style! That's because this is a team that has winning habits and does not take losses lightly. They often come out of the gate fired up after a loss and toy with the opposition. Winning games by double-digits has been the norm in this type of situation for 'Pop' and his team as they set their sights on a convincing victory! Given that they are coming off not only a loss but one of the most lopsided ones of the season, look for this group to step up and prove a point. Westbrook and Durant used them as a punching bag on Saturday, in another game where numerous players were rested but that is highly unlikely to be repeated tonight. The Spurs are synonymous with success and will have no excuses tonight. This starting lineup has now had a bit more time together and will put up a much better effort tonight.
The Memphis Grizzlies are not the Oklahoma City Thunder and they're certainly not at their best at the moment. They are missing Conley, Gasol, Hairston and Wright and could also be without their bruising veteran PF Zach Randolph again! Randolph missed their last game and coach Dave Joerger admitted that he could be out for multiple contests so although he's been tagged with the 'questionable' injury status, we believe he's more on the 'doubtful' side and may not feature. Even if he does take the court, he may still be bothered by his ankle and is at less than 100%. The fact that this squad has used a total of 27 different players this season is a new NBA record for a playoff bound squad! There has been so many players on 10-day contracts and chopping and changing here and there that they've hardly found their rhythm. It's been a revolving door in some ways and that makes it very difficult for the coaching staff to imprint a specific playing style. Therefore while San Antonio may be resting a few players tonight, let's not forget that this injury-depleted Grizzlies squad is even more banged up. Neither squad is at its best but in our opinion, the Spurs have a deeper squad and one that is primed to bounce back!
San Antonio has beaten Memphis three times already this season and the only one that had a close final score was the meeting 3 days ago and that's because they gave up a backdoor cover to them after having a big lead! That game ended up becoming a bit too close for comfort at the end and even that ended in a 6-point victory despite several players sitting out. Don't expect the team from Alamo City to display as much mercy again. We believe they'll sweep their Southwest division opponents for the second time in 3 years! Overlooking their opponents is not a concern for this vastly experienced championship team but what makes it even more unlikely is that all eleven of San Antonio's losses have come on the road this season! That means they are well aware that being away from home has been problematic and that keeps them on high alert moving forward; especially since they are coming off a road loss! Look for coach Popovich's side to improve to 50 games over .500 with a win and cover that brings their seasonal record to 62-12.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Spurs have won their games by an average of 11.7 points this season!
- Grizzlies have lost 4 straight games to San Antonio and 8 of the last 10 overall.
- Spurs are a perfect 4-0 ATS on the road when the total is set between 190 to 194.5 points!
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