It's the final week of the NBA's regular season, and while tonight's game means nothing to Denver it's potentially huge for the host Clippers. They are 16-point favorites on NBA odds with a total of 215.5.
Clippers Still Have Reason To Care
Los Angeles (54-26) would hold the No. 3 seed in the West and face Houston in the Western Conference playoffs if they started today. Anywhere from the No. 2-No. 6 is in play for the Clips as they are just a half-game behind San Antonio for the No. 2 and technically tied with Houston for the No. 6 but holding the tiebreaker. Memphis also holds a 54-26 record and is No. 5. The Clippers can't win the Pacific Division as Golden State already did so they aren't guaranteed anything. A division winner can't fall further than the No. 4 seed. I guarantee you the one team that the Clippers want to avoid in the first round of Playoffs is red-hot San Antonio.
“You probably never want to play the Spurs in the first round, if you have a choice,” Blake Griffin said. “The Spurs are playing their best basketball, like they normally tend to do, but at the same time, it’s not for us to be like, ‘We’d rather play this team’ because you never know.”
So while you will see many teams that have clinched playoff spot rest some guys this week, all the key Clippers should play. Center DeAndre Jordan holds the longest active consecutive games played streak at 320. L.A. brings a five-game winning streak into this one. It beat visiting Memphis 94-86 on Saturday, the Clippers' first time in that streak when scoring less than 105 points. J.J. Redick and Blake Griffin each had 18 points and Jordan 16 points and 16 rebounds. Jordan is going to win the rebounding title again with a comfortable lead (14.9 rpg) over No. 2 Andre Drummond of Detroit. Jordan might also win Defensive Player of the Year honors.
The Clippers are 37-43 against the NBA betting spread this season and 35-42-3 'over/under.'
Nuggets Playing Out String
The players on the Nuggets (30-50) probably already have tee times lined up for Thursday as Denver's season ends Wednesday in Golden State. The Nuggets had an interesting weekend. They lost at home to Dallas 144-143 in overtime on Friday in the highest-scoring NBA game of the season. On Sunday, Denver beat visiting Sacramento and former Nuggets coach George Karl 122-111. This team can score, obviously, it just can't defend much.
Denver played without two rotation guys vs. the Kings in point guard Jameer Nelson and forward Darrell Arthur and neither is expected here. It will be interesting to see if the Nuggets give interim head coach Melvin Hunt the full-time job. He replaced Brian Shaw, who was canned in early March. The franchise never should have let Karl go after a 57-win season in 2012-13 in which Karl was named the NBA's Coach of the Year. Expect plenty of change there this offseason with probably every player available. Starting point guard Ty Lawson and power forward Kenneth Faried would bring the most back in return.
The Nuggets are 34-43-3 against the spread and 36-41-3 'over/under' on NBA odds.
Before placing your NBA picks keep in mind these stats. Los Angeles leads the season series 2-1. It lost the first matchup 109-106 in Denver on Dec. 19. The Nuggets blew a 16-point halftime lead before key 3-pointers from Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler won it. On Jan. 26 in L.A., the Clippers won 102-98. Clippers sixth man Jamal Crawford scored 21 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as Los Angeles rallied from a 16-point deficit (what is that large of a Denver lead?). At the time it was Denver's seventh straight loss. On April 4 in Denver, the Clippers beat the Nuggets 107-92, Game No. 2 of this five-game winning streak. Redick had 25 points and Jordan 14 points and 22 rebounds. Lawson missed that one as did Crawford.
NBA Free Picks: Take Los Angeles and the 'over' at YouWager. Denver is 1-4 ATS in its past five vs. teams with a winning record. The home team has covered eight of the past 10 meetings.