It's two teams going in very opposite directions on Monday night in Brooklyn when the slumping Nets host the surging Clippers. Los Angeles is a 9-point favorite on NBA odds with a total of 200.
Clippers Rising in West
The Clippers are playing about as well as anyone not located in Cleveland or Atlanta right now as Los Angeles (33-15) has won seven of eight. The most impressive of those wins was easily a 105-85 victory in San Antonio on Saturday night in the second of a back-to-back to end the Spurs' six-game home winning streak. Blake Griffin had a big game with 31 points and 13 rebounds. DeAndre Jordan had eight points and 19 rebounds. He leads the NBA in rebounding at 13.5 per game as well as with an absurd shooting percentage of .731. The NBA record is .708 by Tyson Chandler in 2011-12 while with the Knicks. All Jordan does really is dunk. He's shooting just .406 from the free-throw line. Jordan also holds the NBA’s longest active consecutive games played streak at 288. He will be a free agent after this season and is going to get max money. My guess is he stays put.
The Clippers are No. 3 in the NBA in scoring at 106.9 points per game but lead the league in offensive efficiency in averaging 110.8 points per 100 possessions. Los Angeles is 20-28 against the NBA betting odds on the spread this season and 21-24-3 'over/under.'
Nets Are a Mess
The Nets (18-28) are really in chaos as they aren't very good, are for sale and trying to dump some of their best players to avoid paying exorbitant luxury tax penalties for the second straight year. For example, guard Joe Johnson has been rumored in a potential deal with Charlotte. Brooklyn would pretty much give away point guard Deron Williams, but he's vastly overpaid and currently injured. Reports are that Brooklyn just turned down an offer from Denver of JaVale McGee, J.J. Hickson and a first-round pick for center Brook Lopez. He was also rumored in a three-team trade a few weeks ago with Charlotte and Oklahoma City where Lopez would have landed with the Thunder. It would be an upset if the Nets don't make a pretty major deal by the Feb. 19 trade deadline. There's also talk of the team buying out Kevin Garnett. The future Hall of Famer is making $12 million this season and would be a unrestricted if he opts not to retire this summer. He doesn't play a ton these days and often gets the second of a back-to-back off.
Brooklyn didn't win a single home game in the month of January and enters this on a four-game skid, which began with a loss at the Clippers (see below). The Nets have been off since a 127-122 overtime defeat at home to Toronto on Friday. Jarrett Jack, who has replaced Williams as the starter (even before Williams was hurt) had a career-high 35 points while playing a whopping 52 minutes. Lopez has been in and out of the starting lineup and had 35 points and 12 rebounds off the bench but missed a wide open jumper at the end of regulation to win it. It was the team's seventh straight home loss. Williams did practice fully on Sunday so it's possible he returns here, although his minutes would be limited.
The Nets are 21-25 against the spread and 19-27 'over/under' on NBA odds.
These teams played Jan. 22 in Los Angeles and the Clippers destroyed the Nets 123-84 as 13-point favorites on NBA odds. It was the Clippers' largest win over the Nets ever and third-largest against any team in franchise history so keep that in mind when making your NBA pick on this game. Griffin had 24 points, 22 of them in the first half when L.A. was up by as much as 33. Jordan had 14 points and 12 rebounds and Chris Paul a season-high 17 assists. Paul was just the third player since 1963-64 with at least 17 assists while playing fewer than 25 minutes in a game. The Clippers shot 66 percent in the second quarter when they outscored the Nets 36-14. Mason Plumlee led the Nets with 16 points. Brooklyn played without Garnett, not that it would have mattered. That was also the game that Nets reserve forward Mirza Teletovic was taken to the hospital at halftime after complaining of shortness of breath. Turns out he had blood clots in his lungs. He's out for the season but should make a full recovery and be back next year.
The Clippers are just 1-5 ATS in their past six vs. teams with a losing record. The Nets are 4-1 ATS in their past five after a loss. The 'over' is 4-1 in Brooklyn's past five games. The Clippers are 1-13 ATS in their past 14 at the Nets.
NBA Free Picks: Brooklyn +9 and 'Over' 200 points at 5Dimes