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LA Clippers (-3) vs. Houston Rockets 9:30 ET TNT TV
Game 5 of this 2nd Round, best of 7 series, continues with the LA Clippers visiting Houston for a 9:30 tipoff on TNT TV. The Clippers hold a 3 game to 1 series advantage, following a pair of unmerciful whippings of the Rockets in Los Angeles, by scores of 128-95 and 124-99. There has been a massive line adjustment for this game as a result of those two scores. Consider that Houston, who is the better seeded team, with the better record was a 6 point favorite (no Paul for LAC) in Game 1 of this series.
With the return of Paul to the lineup, LAC NBA odds shift as they now have averaged 126 PPG on 52% shooting, including 44% from behind the arc, as they have knocked down 26 of 60 triples in the last two games. Jordan, when not clanking foul shots (he was 14 for 34 from the stripe last game), scored 26 points and pulled down 17 boards with Howard in foul trouble. Paul was effective on his bad wheel with 15 points and 12 assists, while Griffin continued to shine.
As well as it appeared the LA Clippers played on offense, an honest evaluation of the two games, is that the Rockets were horrendous on the defensive end of the floor. Returning to their home court, after being embarrassed in LA, I am looking for a far more superior defensive effort from Houston. Keeping Howard out of foul trouble is a must. The offense then must work through the big fellow, where he can dominate in the paint or kick behind the arc to find the 3 point shooters. In addition, it will be necessary for Harden to continue to attack the paint. Though Houston was embarrassed in consecutive games, we must remember they were the NBA’s most resilient team this year and now stand 20-9 following a defeat.
This is a classic zig-zag situation in the NBA Playoffs. The linemaker is forced to over adjust the number to compensate for the overwhelming public support for the momentum team, in this case the LA Clippers. The embarrassed team returns home to regroup following a pair of horrendous defensive efforts. This will be a totally different Houston team than you saw in the previous 2 contests. With an improved Houston effort at the defensive end, we must also consider a strong NBA pick on the UNDER in a game where, in a similar way, the total has been over adjusted upward.
NBA Pick: Take Houston Rockets at 5Dimes