Jordan’s NBA Picks: 60-41, Playoffs 6-3
Golden State (58-26 SU & 36-47 ATS) at LA Clippers (49-35 SU & 46-37 ATS)
Thursday, 10:30 PM EST, TNT
Free NBA Pick: Warriors ATS 1H
Best Line Offered: 5Dimes
The Clippers got their lick in on the two-time defending champions, but that may have just awoken the beast. The Warriors have played very well in the first halves of the first two games of this series and I see that continuing down the road in LA for Game 3.
Warriors First Half Dominance
There are two constants in this series so far. One is that both of these teams are trying to outpace one another and it’s only going to get quicker now that DeMarcus Cousins is out for at least the next six weeks.
Now that the Warriors have more incentive to play small ball with Draymond Green at the center position, they are playing right into the hands of LA. However, that won’t matter too much if the Warriors’ stars come out and slice up this somewhat non-existent Clipper defense.
So far that has definitely been true in the first halves. Golden State is averaging 131.5 points per 100 possessions in the first two quarters of Games 1 and 2. They also held LA to a first-half offensive rating of just 99.1 in the first two games. During the regular season, Golden State had a first-half offensive rating of 115.8 in their four meetings with the Clippers.
Basically, the Clippers can’t stop Golden State and that has been true with or without Cousins. Being without Cousins I think helps actually, because more shots will go to the Warriors’ guards and Kevin Durant. If their shots are falling from outside in the first half of Game 3, it could mean an easy 1H cover for the Warriors.
The Sharp Pick
Over their last four meetings against the Clippers, the Warriors have an average first-half lead of 11 points. Sure, they famously blew a huge lead in Game 2, but that only pissed them off. Now they not only have the incentive to come out from the opening tip to play well but now they also need to win one or two back in LA to take back command.
The pressure is on Golden State and I know they will respond. They have covered the first half spread in their last three meetings both regular and postseason against the Clippers. I see them making it four in a row.
First Half Score Prediction: Warriors 64 – Clippers 57