Tuesday's NBA Picks Against the Spread: Mavs & Spurs Will Cover

Jason Lake

Monday, April 27, 2015 7:11 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 27, 2015 7:11 PM GMT

Are the Rajon Rondo-less Dallas Mavericks a solid NBA pick for Tuesday night’s Game 5 against the Houston Rockets? And can the L.A. Clippers put down the San Antonio Spurs one more time?

Jason’s record as of Apr. 27: 74-74-5 ATS, 11-16 Totals, plus-0.15 units ML

 

You can always count on the opening round of the NBA playoffs. You’ve got 16 teams fighting it out, so there’s almost always something crazy brewing somewhere – like in Cleveland, where the Cavaliers are still 8-5 on the championship futures market at GTBets, despite the Kevin Love injury and the expected J.R. Smith suspension. Or in Toronto, where Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey and top player Kyle Lowry are throwing darts at each other following their sweep at the hands of the Washington Wizards. Good times.

We’ve got another fun situation happening in Dallas, and it’s going to have a major impact on our NBA picks for Tuesday. The Mavericks have put Rajon Rondo on the shelf indefinitely with a bad back, and go figure, it doesn’t look like Rondo will spend another minute with the team. Good thing for the Mavs, because they’ve played much better since his departure. Can they extend their first-round series against the Houston Rockets?

 

Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets (8:00 p.m. ET, TNT)
The Mavericks (51-35 SU, 37-47-2 ATS) have finally admitted the Rondo experiment was a failure. Head coach Rick Carlisle even told reporters that the trade was worth the risk, but that it’s “time to move on.” Curiously, Dallas moved on to starting Ray Felton (12.4 PER) at point guard in Game 3, and almost pulled off the win before falling 130-128 as a 1-point home fave. Then J.J. Barea (15.1 PER) got the start in Game 4, and voilà: Dallas (+3) 121, Houston 109.

That wasn’t the only sharp move the Mavericks made for Game 4. With Chandler Parsons (16.3 PER) out for the season with a knee injury, Al-Farouq Aminu (14.4 PER) was given his first playoff start, taking over at small forward for the veteran Richard Jefferson (11.3 PER). Aminu posted 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Dallas starters completely dominated Houston. This looks a lot more like the Mavs team we fell in love with earlier in the year, when Rondo was injured.

Houston (59-27 SU, 51-35 ATS) is still going to be a tough get in Game 5. James Harden (26.7 PER) and Dwight Howard (19.2 PER) have both played very well for the most part, and the Rockets bench is vastly superior to the depleted Dallas reserves. But we’re happy to get our money in with the resurgent Mavs at these basketball odds.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Mavericks +7 at Pinnacle Sports

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San Antonio Spurs vs. L.A. Clippers (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT)
As expected, this series has been a toss-up thus far, knotted at 2-2 SU and ATS going into Game 5. Less expected was the impact Austin Rivers (10.6 PER) had off the bench for Los Angeles in Game 4; he scored 16 points on just 7-of-8 shooting as the Clippers won 114-95, beating the NBA odds as 6-point road dogs. Rivers does this every once in a while to keep us humble, but honestly, performances like that are few and far between.

Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Rivers had a breakout game after his pops, head coach Doc Rivers, laid into the team during a film session back at the hotel. Rivers spent over two hours raking the players over the coals, much like he did while leading the 2007-08 Boston Celtics to the NBA title. This could be the ubuntu moment for the 2014-15 Clippers.

Then again, L.A.’s second unit is nearly as gifted as the one that helped deliver the title to Beantown. And as Chris Paul (26.0 PER) told reporters after Game 4, “Without (Austin’s) production today, we don’t win the game.” We’ll ride the regression train into Game 5 and take the defending champs. May the sphere be with you.

Free NBA Pick: Take the Spurs

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