The Clippers are on a six-game ATS losing streak and they are coming off of an 0-3 straight up road trip. The Grizzlies are tied with the Clippers for the four seed, and with Zach Randolph back from injury, make Memphis your NBA Pick Saturday.
In a game that may end up having serious seeding implications for the NBA Playoffs, the Memphis Grizzlies (25-20 overall, 9-13 away) pay a visit to the Los Angeles Clippers (26-21 overall, 15-8 home) on Saturday afternoon at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA at 3:30 ET.
These teams are heading in opposite directions in relation to how their seasons started on the NBA odds and they now find themselves tied for the vital fourth seed in the Western Conference. We say vital because the four-seed will have the home court advantage in the fist round.
The Clippers have been neck-and-neck with the Los Angeles Lakers for supremacy of the Pacific Division for most of this season, but they are just 3-6 straight up in their last nine games including going 0-3 in a just completed road trip that ended with a loss to a bad New Orleans Hornets team on Thursday, and the Clippers have now dropped to 3½ games behind the Lake Show.
Furthermore, the Clippers have been burning money on a regular basis at the betting windows, going a dismal 1-8 ATS against the spread in their last nine games including a current six-game ATS losing streak. This has dropped Los Angeles to 22-25 ATS over the entire season including just 11-12 ATS here at home.
The Grizzlies got off to a slow start this season, at one point sitting at 3-6 overall, but they have rallied to move up to second place in the tough Southwest Division, six games behind the San Antonio Spurs. Granted Memphis has regressed a bit lately, losing the first two games of this road trip to drop to 1-4 in their last five games, but the first two losses during this streak were both on overtime and the last two were also by single-digits.
That is in stark contrast to the Clippers’ current 3-6 skid where three of the last four losses were by at least 13 points and the on that was not was by seven points to the lowly Hornets. So while the Grizzlies have continued to play hard to the final buzzer, a nice trait for an underdog, the Clippers have tended to go away when faced with some adversity.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has the Grizzlies as a +2½ underdog for this contest at current odds of -107.
Perhaps most disconcerting about the Clippers’ recent struggles has been their play here at home, as they are under .500 at 4-5 straight up and a terrible 1-8 ATS in their last nine games at Staples while getting outscored by a scant -0.2 points per game. It does not help that Blake Griffin has been battling through an ankle injury and that Chauncey Billups has been lost for the season with a torn Achilles, and the Clips will also more than likely be without Mo Williams this game.
The Clippers have gone 11-14 overall since losing Billups, as without him complimenting Chris Paul in the backcourt, Los Angeles in now closer to ninth place in the West and being out of the playoffs (just one-half game) that they are to first place in the division, and the job security of coach Vinny Del Negro has been brought into question.
The Clips did win the lone head-to-head meeting vs. Memphis this season with here in Staples, but that was in January before Billups was injured and the final seven-point margin (98-91) was a bit deceptive after the Clippers led by only two points entering the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies recovered from their slow start this season despite Zach Randolph missing 37 games with an MCL injury. Randolph returned four games ago and has scored in double-digits in every game since, and he gives them the toughness inside that Memphis lacked in his absence. Granted the Grizzlies lost three of those four games, but that is just an anomaly that should get quickly corrected as Randolph plays himself back into game shape.
Today looks like a great spot for Memphis to get back into the win column, and we look for them to do just that vs. a reeling Clippers’ team that may have some dissention in the clubhouse right now.
NBA Pick: Grizzles +2½ (-107)