Gallinari Could Help Clippers Sink Wolves

Danilo Gallinari

Jason Lake

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 12:37 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 12:37 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Clippers could have Danilo Gallinari back in the lineup on Wednesday. Will his return be enough to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves and the NBA odds?

Minnesota Timberwolves vs L.A. Clippers

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Free NBA Pick: Clippers +5.5 (–105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Maybe the Blake Griffin Rule just doesn’t work without Chris Paul around. You may recall our award-liquefying article about how well the Los Angeles Clippers have done ATS whenever Griffin has been injured, as he is now. But the Clippers (8-14 SU, 9-13 ATS) got hammered in back-to-back games after Griffin went down with a sprained left MCL. They’ve already got enough injury problems as it is with both Milos Teodosic (foot) and Patrick Beverley (knee) on the shelf, and Paul isn’t around to save them anymore.

But soft, what rock through yonder window breaks? It’s the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-11 SU, 10-13-2 ATS), who keep failing to meet market expectations. Minnesota beat the Clippers 112-106 on Sunday, but they dropped the cash as 12-point home faves in a back-and-forth affair. These same two teams will meet Wednesday night at Staples Center, tipping off at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN, and this time, Los Angeles has opened as a 5.5-point puppy on the NBA odds board. It looks like the Clips are bringing some extra help, too.

Here Comes The Rooster?

That’s if Danilo Gallinari (+0.8 BPM last year) is ready to play. Gallinari has missed the past 13 games with a strained left glute, but the 6-foot-10 swingman practiced in full on Monday and could be ready for Wednesday – he remains listed as questionable as we go to press. Gallinari was another one of L.A.’s offseason acquisitions in a multi-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and the Atlanta Hawks; he started the first nine games for the Clippers, and they went 5-4 SU and ATS, although Gallinari only posted a minus-3.3 BPM while shooting 26.0 percent from downtown.

Perhaps Gallinari will feel more comfortable playing power forward when he does make his return. That’s the plan with Griffin out; he’ll be the go-to guy on offense, which has always been Gallinari’s forte. Austin Rivers (–2.0 BPM) had one of his occasional big games with 30 points against the Wolves, hitting 7-of-10 from long range, but the Clippers can’t count on that production on a daily basis. At least he’s a league-average player on offense now.

Meanwhile, the Wolves are getting closer to the Promised Land, but they’re 3-4 SU and 2-4-1 ATS since big man Nemanja Bjelica (+2.1 BPM) went down with a sprained left foot. Jimmy Butler (+2.7 BPM) is also on the mend after spraining his left pinky in Monday’s 95-92 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies (+3 at home). Butler is probable for Wednesday, but given his condition and the possible return of Il Gallo, we’re going to go ahead and put L.A. in our NBA picks for a small wager.

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