In a Sunday matchup between the New Orleans Pelicans & the Los Angeles Clippers, this handicapper's excited to place his pick on the Underdogs, currently in the number 9 spot in the Western Conference.
Tip-off is set for 3:30 pm ET this afternoon at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California. According to 5 Dimes Sportsbook, the Clippers are a 10.5 point favorites in NBA odds and the total for the game, right off the bat, seems kind of high, especially with a rusty Blake Griffin in the lineup, but time will tell.
CP3 and DeAndre Jordan
The Clippers are on a roll and are coming off of a 113-99 victory over the Washington Wizards. In this game, CP3 led the Clips with 30 points and 15 assists while DeAndre Jordan had 23 rebounds.
This has been the Clippers recipe for winning when Griffin was out. CP3 would get a double-double while DeAndre Jordan would rebound in excess of 20 rebounds per game. Teams were taking advantage of Jordans' inability to make free throws, but that hasn't deterred Doc Rivers from keeping Jordan in during crucial parts of the game.
Add in the 3-point shooting of J.J. Redick and the defense of Matt Barnes and you can see why the Clippers are currently in the number 4 spot in the Western Conference. The only thing that L.A.doesn't want to have to do is face the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in the 1st round.
The Clippers need Blake Griffin to win and Doc Rivers knows that. He has thrown Griffin into the fire, giving him nearly 40 minutes per game in his 4 game since returning from injury. Griffin isn't 100%, but he has stood up to the challenge.
In these 4 games, Griffin is averaging 17.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. These numbers aren't up to his seasonal averages, but Griffin is steadily returning back to his old form. He will need to in this game as he faces Anthony Davis and Davis could possibly be the face of the NBA for the next 15 years.
If there was one player that I would want on my team for then next 15 years, it would be Davis because he's the total package. Every good team needs a big man and the Pelicans are secure with Davis on their roster.The Pelicans entire problem this year has been injuries. Davis has missed his last 2 games and they desperately need him to play in this game.
The importance of this game is huge and I expect Davis to give it a go. Please, keep an eye on Davis' status on Twitter. Without Davis, the Pelicans are a fade, but according to the betting odds, he looks like he will be suiting up. For the season, Davis is averaging 24.6 points, 10.4 rebonds, and 2.9 blocks per game.
With all of these injuries, a lot of extra pressure will be thrust upon the shoulders of Tyreke Evans. Evans has taken less shots and has looked to firm up his overall game.
For the season, Evans is averaging 16.5 points, 6.4 assists, and 5.4 assists per game. We also have to worry about Evans' status as he has a bum ankle. I expect him to play as this game is of utter importance. Superstar players don't take the night off in a situation like this because one game can mean the playoffs.
We're put in a very tough position here as the Pelicans are laced with injuries. The point spread is very high and I expect New Orleans' studs to be in the lineup. I'm going to take my chances and place my NBA picks with the Pelicans.
NBA Pick- New Orleans +8.5 at BookMaker