Take the Clippers –5 over the Pelicans for your NBA Picks

Jason Lake

Monday, February 24, 2014 12:49 PM GMT

Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 12:49 PM GMT

Turns out Chris Paul is all right, and his Los Angeles Clippers are back on track against the NBA spreads. But the New Orleans Pelicans won’t be pushovers on Monday.

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to February 23 inclusive:

67-54-1 ATS

18-14 Totals

Like a good neighbor, Chris Paul is there. He shook off the effects of a sprained thumb and started for the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon. Paul had a pretty good game, too: 18 points and 12 assists in a 125-117 upset over the Oklahoma City Thunder (–5.5 at home). Score another one for the good guys. As expected, the Clippers took advantage of Russell Westbrook (13 points on 3-of-13 shooting) as he works his way back from injury.

Speaking of injuries: the New Orleans Pelicans. They’re still missing three important players, including two starters, as they prepare for a Monday night date (8:00 p.m. ET) with L.A. at the Squishee King Center. The Pelicans have opened as 5-point puppies on the NBA odds board with a total of 202.

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You Gotta Catch Jamal

Aside from that 123-78 laugher over the Philadelphia 76ers (+15.5 away), Sunday was the first time that the Clippers (38-20 SU, 32-26 ATS) had covered since Paul returned from his earlier shoulder injury – there were three ATS losses in between. Despite the sprained thumb, Paul played 39 minutes, and he came close to a triple-double as well with eight rebounds. All of this and just one turnover, too.

But the star of the show in this game was Jamal Crawford. The former Sixth Man on the Year started for L.A. at the 2-spot and scored 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting, hitting five of his eight trey attempts. Kudos as well to Matt Barnes (24 points, 6-of-10 from downtown), who easily had his best game of the season. It’s probably too much to ask these guys to do it again on Monday; however, this is a very promising sign for the Clips as they deal with the continuing absence of J.J. Redick (17.2 PER), who’s out for another 3-5 weeks with various injuries.

Baby Steps

And the rich just keep getting richer. As we go to press, Glen Davis (13.9 PER) has cleared waivers after his buyout with the Orlando Magic, and by the time you read this, he should be a member of the Clippers. This shores up one of the few weaknesses in the L.A. rotation: big guys. After Blake Griffin (24.4 PER) and DeAndre Jordan (17.6 PER), the Clips were down to Ryan Hollins (10.7 PER) once they got rid of Byron Mullens (8.0 PER) and Antawn Jamison (7.9 PER) at the trade deadline. Unless you want to include Hedo Turkoglu (9.8 PER) as a big. You probably don’t.

Whether Davis suits up on Monday remains to be seen as we go to press, but if he does, he’ll be a useful addition against the Pelicans (23-32 SU, 24-27-4 ATS). It wouldn’t be entirely fair to call the Pellies a one-trick pony, but Anthony Davis (26.4 PER) is by far their best player – one of the very best in the NBA. And New Orleans is bereft of supporting frontcourt talent with Ryan Anderson (19.1 PER) and Jason Smith (12.6 PER) both injured. The man they call “Big Baby” would probably eat Alexis Ajinca (11.1 PER) for breakfast. Mmmmm… French toast.

New Orleans is also missing starting point guard Jrue Holiday (17.4 PER) with a fractured tibia, so this season has essentially turned into mush down in the Big Easy. And as spirited as the Pelicans have played through all this adversity, they’re 9-14 ATS against winning teams this season. Also, the Clippers are 6-6 ATS this year on zero days of rest, so that NBA betting angle is off the table. Gonna have to go with the visitors in this matchup.

NBA Pick: Take the Clippers –5 at BetOnline

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