NBA Picks for Trailblazers vs. Clippers

Jason Lake

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 1:21 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 1:21 PM UTC

After a hard-fought loss to the best team in the West, the Portland Trail Blazers have to fly south to face a rested Los Angeles Clippers team that just got Chris Paul back in the lineup.

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to February 10 inclusive:

62-49-1 ATS

16-13 Totals

The Portland Trail Blazers gave everything they had, but it wasn’t enough. They lost 98-95 to the Oklahoma City Thunder (+1.5) Tuesday night at the former Rose Garden, and it was about as physical as the NBA gets – without people breaking into slap-fights and rushing the stands, that is. Portland built a 10-point lead going into the dressing room and saw it disappear during the third quarter; Oklahoma City took the lead for good with under two minutes remaining and held on for dear life to beat the Blazers and the NBA lines.

After the ordeal, the Blazers (36-16 SU, 28-24 ATS) have to take that big ol’ jet airliner to LAX and face the Los Angeles Clippers (36-18 SU, 31-23 ATS), who are fresh off of Sunday’s 123-78 pummeling of the Philadelphia 76ers (+15.5 away). Score another one for the good guys. The Clippers are laying 7.5 points to Portland on Wednesday’s NBA odds board with a total of 216.5. Spoiler alert: I’m picking L.A.

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Philly Creamed

So the chalkeaters got paid on Sunday. Chris Paul (27.2 PER) had a fairly easy night of work in his first game back from his shoulder injury, scoring seven points on 3-of-6 shooting with eight assists and four steals in 23 minutes. Los Angeles was up 46-15 at the end of the first quarter, and 89-33 in the middle of the third quarter, so pretty much everybody in a powder blue Clippers uniform got to play. Hedo Turkoglu (11.3 PER) didn’t even attempt a shot, and he was still a plus-15 in 12 minutes.

The only fly in the ointment for the Clippers is the continued absence of J.J. Redick (17.2 PER), who sat out Tuesday’s practice and will miss his fourth game in a row because of a sore right hip. Redick says he hopes to be ready by next week. Other than that, it’s all systems go for the Clippers. They’ve got the best point guard in the league coming back to a team that’s third in the league in offensive efficiency (108.5 points per 100 possessions) even with Paul missing a third of the team’s 54 games.

Let the Bodies Hit the Floor

The Trail Blazers were second in the league in offense (108.9 points/100) before running into Oklahoma City’s brick wall. LaMarcus Aldridge (22.9 PER) finished the night with just 12 points on 5-of-22 shooting. Damian Lillard (19.0 PER) was 5-of-15 for 16 points, including 1-of-7 from downtown, and Wesley Matthews (16.9 PER) shot 2-of-10 for 11 points while missing all four of his trey attempts. That’s bowling-shoe ugly, folks.

And Portland still almost won. Oklahoma City’s bruisers committed 22 fouls to just 14 for the finesse-minded home side. The one Blazer who did thrive during Tuesday’s throwdown: center Robin Lopez (16.7 PER), who posted 17 points with 14 rebounds – six of those on the offensive glass – and added a pair of blocks for good measure. Offensive rebounds and free throws will keep you in a lot of games; that’s two of Dean Oliver’s Four Factors, by the way.

Speaking of which, the Blazers are second in the NBA in offensive rebound rate (28.7 percent), although just No. 14 in free throws per field-goal attempts (0.215). The Clippers, on the other hand, are No. 22 on the offensive glass (24.8 percent) and No. 2 in getting to the free-throw line (0.263 FT/FGA). That second stat is more likely to prevail on Wednesday after Portland got put through the wringer by Oklahoma City.

NBA Pick: Take the Clippers –7.5 (–104) at Marathon

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