Los Angeles Clippers
(16-25, 22-18-1 ATS)
Portland Trail Blazers
(23-20, 21-20-2 ATS)
It’s not often that we see the Los Angeles Clippers in a nationally televised game, but we give all sorts of credit to TNT for putting this NBA betting battle on Thursday night. The Clip Joint will be heading north to take on the Portland Trail Blazers in what should be a fantastic game tonight.
The Clippers have won 10 out of 14 games. Let’s say that one more time. The Los Angeles Clippers have won 10 of their last 14 games, and they are actually only 6.5 games outside of the playoffs, and can cut that to 5.5 with ‘W’ on Thursday night. What type of parallel universe are we in right now? Of course, it really helps that Eric Gordon has emerged as a legitimate superstar this year and that Blake Griffin is the best thing that the NBA has seen since LeBron James took the NBA betting world by storm. In Gordon, the Clips have a pure scorer, and he has put together some fantastic numbers this year. The former Indiana Hoosier has averaged 23.8 points per game, and though he is currently suffering from a mild hand injury, he’ll be in the fold in this nationally televised game for certain. Then there’s Griffin, who is sure to be the NBA’s Rookie of the Year this season. He is averaging 22.7 points, 12.7 boards, and 3.4 assists per game this year, and he streak of 27 consecutive double-doubles just came to a close.
The Trail Blazers have won three in a row, and they have done so without Brandon Roy in the fold. The man who has been battling knee injuries all season long has finally be shut down for awhile for surgery, which really does leave Portland without all that many stars to rely on. Wesley Matthews has the ability to step up, but he hasn’t been all that great of late. Andre Miller and Nicolas Batum are both coming off of 20+ point performances against the Minnesota Timberwolves, while Rudy Fernandez has apparently found his stroke off the bench again. The key is LaMarcus Aldridge though, and he is going to have his hands full dealing with Griffin in the post in this one. Aldridge is putting up 21.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, and he is really the man that has stepped up and shined with Roy on the bench. He’s not the most prolific outside shooting in the world like “The Natural,” and that is clearly an element that this team just does not have right now (no one is shooting better than 37.2 percent from beyond the arc), but Aldridge does have some big time toughness inside that is hard to match as well.
Still, these are the Clippers, and they are bound to fall back to earth eventually. We don’t know how the Blazers keep doing it, but they keep finding ways to win games without some of their superstars in the fold. They’ll find a way to win this one by a comfortable margin on Thursday night.
NBA Free Pick: Portland Trail Blazers -3.5