Free NBA Picks: Spotting Big Value On Clippers +1 vs. Pacers

Jason Lake

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 12:34 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 12:34 PM UTC

The Los Angeles Clippers have run into some rough waters. But they might still be a worthwhile NBA pick if Ian Mahinmi can't suit up for the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

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NBA Pick: Clippers +1
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Just in case you were wondering if the Los Angeles Clippers were better off without Blake Griffin – no, no they're not. The Clippers (28-16 SU, 20-21-3 ATS) did well enough versus losing teams after Griffin was sidelined with a partially torn left quad, but once the competition got stiffer, the Clips started suffering. They're 2-3 SU and ATS in their last five games, and Griffin isn't due back until Friday at the earliest.

That means Griffin won't be available Tuesday night (7:00 p.m. ET) when Los Angeles visits the Indiana Pacers. But the Pacers (23-21 SU and ATS) could be shorthanded, too; center Ian Mahinmi has missed three of the last four games with assorted foot injuries, and is considered questionable to face the Clippers. Despite the uncertainty, Tuesday's game has opened as a pick 'em on our NBA odds, with a total of 209 points.


He Comes From France
Mahinmi (17.5 PER, +3.2 BPM) is far too important to the Pacers for us to brush off his potential absence. He's been a superior defensive player since joining Indiana in 2012; now that he's taken over the starting role from Roy Hibbert (now with the L.A. Lakers), Mahinmi has improved his offensive game to the point where it isn't a liability. The Pacers are 0-3 SU and ATS in the three games Mahinmi has missed.

They've got other problems, though. Paul George (20.7 PER, +4.2 BPM) has cooled off after an MVP-quality start, especially from behind the arc, where he's shooting just 31.8 percent in January. That's down from 35.9 percent in December and 49.5 percent in November. George told The Indianapolis Star on Sunday that he's been experiencing swelling in his left leg, the one he broke last year. Uh-oh.


Stay Smoove
Can the Clippers take advantage? They've started to unravel this past week, getting thumped on the road by the top two teams in the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers (–6.5) and the Toronto Raptors (–2.5). Without Griffin (23.4 PER, +4.1 BPM), L.A.'s bench strength has once again become an issue, even more so now that Josh Smith (13.4 PER, 0.0 BPM) has been traded back to the Houston Rockets for virtually nothing. They even gave Houston some cash to make it happen.

Smith was one of the many additions the Clippers made during the offseason, additions that were supposed to correct this team's most glaring weakness. He wasn't a good fit in L.A.'s slower offense, but his defense (+3.5 DBPM) was still superior. At least Cole Aldrich (22.4 PER, +3.4 BPM) is getting more minutes now. That's barely enough reason for us to recommend the Clips for your NBA picks, but only if Mahinmi misses this game for Indiana.


Jason's 2015-16 record as of Jan. 25: 16-17-1 ATS, 5-1-1 Total

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