NBA Odds opened at a PK as Los Angeles Clippers & Dallas Mavericks appear to be going in different directions. Will they reverse course when they meet on Friday night in Dallas?
The Los Angeles Clippers Can Win Because…
Their performances without Blake Griffin have been a lot better than many people placing NBA Picks were prepared to expect. The Clippers lost Griffin on the first weekend of February, and it was easy to think that this team was going to sink like a rock in the standings, but that hasn’t happened. The Clippers have gone 9-5 without Griffin, and they’ve beaten plenty of legitimately good teams: Dallas on the road, Houston and San Antonio at home, Memphis on the road, Chicago on the road, and most recently, Oklahoma City on the road. That’s a lot of really strong victories, and all without an elite-scoring power forward. The Clippers have been able to come together around Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, both of whom have picked up their games and have been able to carry their teammates. You’re seeing Paul hand out at least 10 assists just about every night, and you’re seeing Jordan haul in at least 15 rebounds in nearly every game the Clippers play. This kind of production is why this team has won five of its last seven.
The Clippers can also win because Dallas remains a team trying to find itself. The Mavericks were wiped out by Cleveland, 127-94, and have lost five of their last seven. Dallas’ two wins in that sequence came against the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans. The problem for the Mavs is that their offense has scored under 95 points in all five of its recent losses. It’s been very hard for this team to get Dirk Nowitzki going. Monta Ellis has to do too much to rev up the offense.
The Dallas Mavericks Can Win Because…
They're banking on the ability of new acquisitions to come through for them, and they have reason to think that can happen. Amare Stoudemire, brought over from the New York Knicks, went 7 of 11 from the field earlier this week in a loss to Cleveland. Stoudemire, combined with center Tyson Chandler, gives Dallas a lot of length in the paint, and this does not even include Nowitzki, who plays on the wings. If the Mavericks can get good play from Stoudemire as Chandler’s backup, they can become a stronger team on the boards. Stoudemire’s ability to hit medium-range jump shots could also add a vital piece to the Mavericks’ offense. If Nowitzki can shoot better than the 3 for 10 line he put up against Cleveland, Dallas could very quickly improve, and since Griffin is not yet back in the Clipper lineup (some reports have said he could come back as early as Sunday, but not any sooner), Dallas might be able to throw extra bodies at DeAndre Jordan and minimize his impact on the glass.
The Clippers were so dominant on the road against Oklahoma City the other night (winning by double figures) that they command more respect from a betting standpoint. This begs the question of why NBA Odds are favoring the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas has a lot to prove, Nowitzki in particular. Can the Mavericks really raise their level so dramatically from one game (Cleveland) to the next? Probably not. Stick with the team that’s hot and take the Clippers with your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Clippers at The Greek