The Clippers head into Oklahoma City to face the red-hot Thunder. The NBA Odds have the Thunder as -7 favorites this evening, but is that too steep against a solid Clippers team?
Both Down a Star
Blake Griffin is close but still a few days away from returning from the surgery he had to remove a staph infection in his elbow. However a report out a few days ago said that the earliest he could return is this Sunday, so the Clippers will once again have to stomach a tough game without him. However when he went down everyone (including myself) predicted they would fall out of the top of the West standings. While they did fall to 5th as of tonight, that’s not as much as I thought originally. LA is only 1 ½ games out of 4th place, and while they aren’t catching the Warriors, they could still very easily guarantee themselves home court in the first round still.
The Thunder on the other hand are just trying to stay in the playoffs, however with the run they’ve been on recently, it’s hard to bet against them. However they are still without their star Kevin Durant for this game, and they will be for the foreseeable future. While I think the notion that the Thunder could trade Kevin Durant is ridiculous, OKC is running through people right now without him.
Point Guard Battle
The battle tonight between Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul is going to be a good one, and it’s likely between the two of the three best point guards in the NBA right now. Whoever wins it will likely be the one who wins the game for their team, so it will be especially important to see who does the best job in playing defense on one another.
In their games this season, both teams are 1-1 SU, however eve though the Thunder blew the Clippers out the last time they played, things are a bit different in this one.
The Sharp Pick
The last time these two played a little over a month ago, the Thunder won the game 131-108. While the Clippers were missing both Griffin and JJ Redick, the Thunder were completely healthy, and Kevin Durant dropped 29 points in 29 minutes. However the Clippers beat the Thunder the first time they played when Durant was out. Granted Westbrook only played nine minutes in that game, but OKC hasn’t been great ATS without Durant.
The Thunder are only 1-4 ATS in their last five games as NBA odds favorites, and they haven’t played since the 8th. In their last six game splaying on two days rest, the Thunder are 0-6 ATS. The Clippers on the other hand have won two straight ATS, and they are 5-2 ATS I their last seven games following an ATS win. LA is also 4-1 ATS in their last five road games against a team with a winning home record. This spread is just a few points too high, and I think the Westbrook mania has forced the sportsbooks to overvalue the Thunder here. Add the road team to your NBA picks to take the points tonight at OKC.
My Free NBA Pick: Clippers +7 at The Greek