Will LA bounce back and be able to compete against a much tougher team tonight, or will the Pacers continue their outstanding first half play?
Big man battle
While not many teams in the East (maybe none for that matter) can matchup with Indiana’s size and really good depth in the post, the Clippers can definitely matchup with the bigs from Indiana. Deandre Jordan is making a case for most improved player of the year, and his individual defense and rebounding have been a big reason why.
Tonight against the Pacers, I expect Jordan and Blake Griffin to step up their spotty defense some tonight, and for the Clippers to come out and get the cover. The NBA odds have the Clippers at +8 ½ and this is too many points for this Clippers team, and despite their defensive shortcomings at times, they are still very talented, and getting healthier.
JJ Reddick made his return a few game ago and this gives the Clippers another ball handler and shooter to go opposite Chris Paul when he returns. Until then, Reddick’s ball handling is a welcome sight for a team struggling to find consistency at point guard with Paul still nursing an injury.
While I do expect it to be a bit more of a defensive battle tonight, I think that only helps the Clippers on the second night of a back to back. So far this season, the Clippers are a modest 5-4 ATS playing on no rest, but I see them starting to play better overall, and I think it will show tonight against one of the league’s best teams.
The Sharp Pick
The Clippers are 6-3 ATS as underdogs this season, and as away underdogs, they are equally as efficient at 5-2 ATS. With the Clippers seemingly undervalued once again, it gives us great value for taking points with LA. LA has won five games in a row SU, and like I said earlier, they are starting to play better without their super star point guard.
With the exception on their win against Dallas the other night, the Clippers’ last five games have seen some great defensive effort. Even though they weren’t playing any teams currently in the playoffs, they still held their opponents to an average of only 92 points per game during those four games.
Plus versus the East this season, the Clippers have really stepped up their defense overall. On the season, the Clippers are only giving up 94 points per game to East opponents, and they are 5-4 ATS against the East on the road this season.
The Pacers are overvalued here because of their home ATS record against the West this season. In non-conference home games this season, the Pacers are a perfect 5-0 ATS. Even with the Clippers coming off the back to back though, the Pacers are still laying a point or two more than they should be against this talented of a team. I’m betting the points for my NBA pick.
My Pick: Clippers +8 ½