Bet Clippers –5.5 vs. Celtics

Jason Lake

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 12:50 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Clippers will bring some added firepower to the Garden for Wednesday’s matchup with the Boston Celtics, who have stormed the NBA lines over the past two weeks.

Jason’s record on his final NBA picks for 2013, up to December 10 inclusive:

19-18 ATS

4-5 Totals

Retirement is a lousy idea in general, and worse still if you’re a veteran NBA player with four working limbs. Why quit when you’re past your peak? Just bide your time, wait for a team to develop a need that your remaining skills can satisfy, and in the famous words of Jalen Rose, keep getting ‘dem checks. That was the game plan for Stephen Jackson, who expected to sign a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Clippers (14-8 SU, 12-10 ATS) on Tuesday.

We’ll see if Jackson passes his physical and all the paperwork is in order before Wednesday’s matchup game with the Boston Celtics. If so, the Clippers may have patched one of the few holes in their line-up. If not, the Celtics will be a little more likely to continue their recent hot streak, which has seen them take over first place in the Atlantic Division. You call that tanking?! Boston is getting six points at home on the NBA odds board.

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Wingman

The Clippers are coming off their best two seasons in franchise history, thanks to the arrival of PG Chris Paul (27.0 PER) and PF Blake Griffin (20.5 PER). They’ve also got a strong, developing young center in DeAndre Jordan (17.0 PER), but what Los Angeles didn’t have was enough production on the wing. Enter combo guard J.J. Redick (18.4 PER), who was jelling very nicely with his new teammates, at least until he tore ligaments in his hand earlier this month. Redick is expected to miss another six weeks or so.

With SF Matt Barnes (torn retina) still listed as day-to-day, and SF Jared Dudley (7.4 PER) struggling since his arrival in L.A., coach Doc Rivers is rapidly running out of options. Things came to a head when SF Reggie Bullock sprained his ankle over the weekend – he’ll miss the next two weeks, as well. Which is where Jackson comes in. “We need him in a pinch and we need him like now,” Rivers told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday.

Veteran’s Minimum

So what can Jackson do for you? The last time we saw the former Butler Bulldog, he was coming off the bench for the 2012-13 San Antonio Spurs, but they let Jackson go before the playoffs. His 8.0 PER last year at age 34 was well below his serviceable 13.1 PER for the 2011-12 Spurs, and his 27.1 percent rate from downtown was the worst of Jackson’s career. But Jackson was ultimately released because he didn’t want to take a smaller role in San Antonio’s rotation.

Jackson’s role on Wednesday might not be very large, either – if he manages to suit up at all. Boston certainly hopes to catch L.A. short-handed after running into a Brooklyn Nets team that welcomed back Deron Williams and former Celtic Paul Pierce on Tuesday. Williams led all scorers with 25 points as the rejuvenated Nets beat Boston 104-96 as 2-point home faves. The C’s remain on top of the Atlantic at 10-13 SU and 13-10 ATS.

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Bet Bulls vs. Knicks to go Under

How Much Do You Bench?

Boston has done amazing work this season without PG Rajon Rondo (18.1 PER last year), and they’ve also played the last nine games without rookie center Kelly Olynyk (9.3 PER), which has been a good thing in the short term with the C’s going 6-3 SU and ATS during that span. But there’s almost nothing happening on the Boston bench, which scored just 12 points against Brooklyn.

This is where the Clippers can take advantage on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET). Even if they’re a bit thin on the wings, they’ve got plenty of depth elsewhere, and the Celtics will be vulnerable playing on zero days of rest. Paul could easily end up having another one of his MVP-quality games. We’ll see what Jackson ends up contributing.

NBA Pick: Take the Clippers –5.5 at The Greek