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NBA Teams That Could Benefit Most From the Hiatus

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NBA Teams That Could Benefit Most From the Hiatus
Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

July is finally here and it’s official! The NBA will return at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World on July 30th.

The teams will play eight regular season games and the playoffs will start on August 17th. The season was suspended on March 11th because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Which teams might benefit most from the hiatus.

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Los Angeles Clippers

Clippers fans are passionate. However, visiting them at the STAPLES Center in the playoffs isn’t a scary prospect for their opponents.

The Clippers share an arena with the Lakers. That doesn’t help them intimidate other teams, especially the Lakers.

5Dimes has the Clippers at +175 to win the Western Conference. I always believed that they can pull this off and reach the NBA Finals. Now I really like them for my NBA picks.

The rest of the games will be played in neutral courts with no fans in attendance. This is unprecedented for the NBA and it eliminates home court advantage. The Clippers won’t feel like a road team in their own arena if they have a playoff series against the Lakers. It will no longer be seven home games for the Lakers.

This also helps the Clippers if they reach the NBA Finals against a team like the Bucks, who would have had home court advantage in a potential seven-game series. The Clippers are at +325 win the NBA Championship at 5Dimes. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be well-rested and healthy and this a very deep team, built for a long run.

Philadelphia 76ers

The more than four months off really helped the 76ers. Their season was practically over with their star point guard Ben Simmons possibly out for the playoffs with a back injury. It was pretty much a lost season, with Joel Embiid not exactly at 100 percent.

The 76ers have an easy remaining schedule and they might be able to climb out of the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. This would allow them to avoid facing the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. A healthy Ben Simmons will make this possible. 5Dimes has the 76ers at +950 to win the Eastern Conference and they’re an intriguing option to consider at those NBA odds.

“When you search for silver linings with this pandemic and the way things have shaken up, it would be hard-pressed for me to find something more obvious than this as it has enabled Ben to reclaim his health. Inching along from a month ago — that is not true. He’s good to go, and we look forward to watching him with what I’m told is effectively 100 percent,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said during a recent Zoom call with the local media.

Portland Trail Blazers

The Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs and Suns are all going to Orlando to fight for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Trail Blazers are 3.5 games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth seed and they play against them two times.

Damian Lillard was on fire for most of the season but he was running on fumes by the time the season was postponed. Lillard and CJ McCollum will be fully rested and Jusuf Nurkic (plus-3.7 Box Plus/Minus last season) and Zach Collins (9.0 points in three games this season) are cleared to play in the NBA’s restart and are not going to have a minutes restriction.

Not having Trevor Ariza is a significant blow but Carmelo Anthony (15.3 points in 50 games this season), Gary Trent Jr. and Nassir Little might see more minutes at the position. If everyone is healthy, this team can make some noise. BetOnline set the Trail Blazers’ NBA restart win total at 3.5. I like them to go Over that number.

NBA Pick: Trail Blazers Over 3.5 wins in the NBA restart (-115) at BetOnline.