NBA Pick: NBA Playoff Play of the Day Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, April 24, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Every day during the NBA Playoffs, LT Profits Sports seeks that one single playoff play that has the best chance of cashing. Here is their Playoff Play of the Day Thursday.

Expect a different paced game than Game 2 on Thursday night when the Los Angeles Clippers (58-26, 23-18 away) pay a visit to the Golden State Warriors (52-32, 27-14 home) for Game 3 of their NBA Playoffs first round series from Oracle Arena in San Francisco, CA at 10:35 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 214½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.

After stealing Game 1 on the road in Los Angeles, the Warriors were run ragged in Game 2 as the Clippers came away with the 138-98 destruction to even up the series. Was that lax defense by Golden State simply a case of it being content to take one game in LA and thus take away home court advantage from the Clips?

Regardless of the reason, look for a bigger emphasis on defense as the scenery now shifts to Oakland for the next two games. Many casual observers would not equate defense with either of these teams, but the fact is that each club ranked in the top seven in the NBA in defensive efficiency, as they are identical in the fact that the frenetic pace they like to play at often skews the total points they allow.

Returning home is a major factor for the Warriors, not only because they went 27-14 in this building but also because they are allowing 97.3 points per game here compared to an average of 101.6 points on the road. Also, because of the aforementioned pace that Golden State prefers, it actually ranked third in the NBA during the regular season in defensive efficiency despite ranking 10th in points against.

The reason for the disparity was because the Warriors ranked sixth in pace rating, as the reality was that they were fourth in the league in field goal percentage allowed at just 43.6 percent and third in three-point defense at 34.4 percent. With this being such a big game for both defense, look for that defense to come to the forefront as often happens during NBA Playoff basketball, where flashy offense and the transition game does not play as well as in the regular season.

You can just about copy what we just said and apply the same logic to the Clippers, as the raw statistics say they are allowing 101.0 points per game overall and 101.9 points per game on the road.

However, Los Angeles is seventh in the league in pace rating, so like the Warriors, the Clippers’ points against would look better in games player at a more “normal” pace as they are seventh in efficiency. In fact, the Clips are right behind the Warriors in field goal percentage allowed in fifth yielding just a 44.1 percent success rate, and the lead the NBA in three-point defense at 33.2 percent, which is obviously critical vs. a great three-point shooting team like Golden State.

Yes, much was made about the Clippers leading the NBA in scoring at 107.9 points per game in their first season under Coach Doc Rivers. Remember though that Rivers is a defensive-minded coach so you have to at least be semi-capable on that end of the court to play in his system. And the Clippers’ efficiency rating and percentages allowed certainly indicate that they can indeed play defense when the situation warrants it.

Therefore, look for better defensive performances by both teams and for Game 3 in Oakland to stay ‘under’ this inflated total on Thursday.

[gameodds]5/264177/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Clippers, Warriors ‘under’ 214½ (-110)