Free NBA Picks: Trail Blazers vs. Clippers

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 3:55 PM GMT

In a game that still matters to the Los Angeles Clippers, they take on the lowly Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center. The Clippers still have a chance to move up in the playoff race while the Blazers have lost 11 straight games.

Tip-off is scheduled for tonight at 10:30 pm ET at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Odds Currently Unavailable

This is nothing to be alarmed about. I can guarantee you that the Clippers will be a significant double-digit favorite at home. The NBA odds makers could be waiting on the status of LaMarcus Aldridge and Wesley Matthews while Nicolas Batum is already out for the season.

I wouldn’t count on them playing. Portland has absolutely nothing to play for, has been a total disaster, and why risk further injury?

The Clippers are looking to remain in the 4th spot in the Western Conference or better. This would assure them of home court advantage for the 1st round of the playoffs. Bottom line is that this game actually matters.

Check out our NBA Picks of the Day for another take on this game.

Stopping Lillard and Hickson

With so many injuries for Portland, the Clippers defense will key in on the NBA Rookie of the Year. Even though Portland has been a major disappointment, drafting Damian Lillard was a move of pure brilliance.

LaMarcus Aldridge is thought of as the star of this team, but make no mistake about it, Damian Lillard is the best player and go to guy.

He’s been consistent all season averaging a team high 19.1 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game. Lillard is coming off of a 30 point performance against Denver, but he’ll need to look to avoid committing turnovers. Against the Nuggets, he had 8 turnovers.

Portland’s other reliable source of offense is center J.J. Hickson. I like to refer to Hickson as a walking double-double. Hickson will have a tough matchup on the inside, guarding the more athletic Blake Griffin. Hickson is also coming off of a nice performance in the Blazers’ most recent loss.

Do the Blazers have any chance of playing spoiler and defeating the Clippers on the road?

LA is on a 3 game winning streak at home. In those games, they’re a averaging a productive 115.3 points per game on 54.3% shooting from the field. On the other hand, Portland has allowed 109 points and 51.8 % shooting from the field during its losing streak. This is simply a perfect matchup for the Clips to secure home court advantage. Portland is running on empty.

Statistics Don’t Matter

With the Clippers, it’s all about the wins. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will have occasional exceptional games, but it’s not the statistics that stand out, it’s the wins.


This might be the game that Damian Lillard is held in check. CP3 is a big money player and the experience factor does matter. Paul also has the option in deferring to the athletic Blake Griffin. Paul is averaging 10.8 assists per game in his last 5 games and there’s just too many options for Portland to defend against.Los Angeles is coming off of a 91-87 victory on the road against a tough Memphis Grizzlies ball club. Surprisingly, DeAndre Jordan led the way with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Anything that the Clippers get out of Jordan is a plus as he can go cold at times. He’ll be facing J.J. Hickson against Portland and if he can neutralize Hickson to a degree, Portland stands no chance of winning this game.

[gameodds]5/224876/43/us[/gameodds]

Outcome

We won’t use the head to head trends to the vast amount of injuries inflicted on the Portland squad. Portland stands no chance here. Los Angeles has been playing good team basketball and has everything to play for while the Blazers are missing starters and have no incentive whatsoever. Look for the Clips to roll here.

NBA Pick: Los Angeles Clippers (by double figures)