NBA Picks: Clippers at Spurs Game 2 Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/16/2012
I love L.A.! Well, you can definitely say that if you bet against the two City of Angels basketball teams in their first game of the second round of these NBA Playoffs.
The Lakers played a Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets and then 48 hours later had to travel to a higher-seeded team, in this case Oklahoma City, and got blown out Monday in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
The Clippers played a Game 7 against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday and then 48 hours later had to travel to the west’s highest-seeded team (not even having a chance to fly home first), the San Antonio Spurs, and got blown out 108-92 on Tuesday in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
You really could see both of those games coming. For the Clippers, I don’t want to say they were satisfied with advancing to the second round for just the second time since the club moved to California and after winning the franchise’s first-ever Game 7. But L.A. wasn’t able to match the rested Spurs’ energy level and it certainly didn’t help that Los Angeles’ three best offensive players, point guard Chris Paul, small forward Caron Butler and power forward Blake Griffin, are all nursing injuries.
Now to avoid a 2-0 deficit, the Clippers must beat the team with the NBA’s best regular-season home record (tied with Chicago) and home record (tied with Miami). Oh, and the Spurs have only won 15 games in row. Their last loss was also their last at home, a 98-84 stunner against a Lakers team missing Kobe Bryant.
Clippers at Spurs Betting Story Lines
Paul is dealing with a hip injury, Butler a broken hand and Griffin a knee injury. All three will continue to play through their injuries, and Butler was pretty good in Game 1 with 15 points (three over his season average) on 6-for-13 shooting. But Paul and Griffin both clearly weren’t the same and both probably are sitting on the bench if this was the regular season. Paul had just six points on 3-for-13 shooting and five turnovers.
Griffin is totally missing his normal explosiveness and finished with 15 points on 7-for-17 shooting in 28 minutes. After scoring 10 points in the first half, Griffin got off only four shots in the third and made just one of them; the Spurs took control in that quarter with a late 14-3 run. Afterward, Griffin said fatigue starts to set in earlier since the injury, and Griffin also turned his ankle slightly in Game 1. Combined, Paul, Butler and Griffin were minus-64 when on the court. The best Clipper on Tuesday was easily backup point guard Eric Bledsoe, who had 23 points, five boards and four assists in 27 minutes.
What is scary for L.A. is that it lost by 16 even though Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who has become easily the team’s best player, had just seven points on 1-for-9 shooting. But he did have 11 assists and was plus-26. San Antonio’s other Big 2 clearly were energized with all the time off. Tim Duncan looked back to his 2007 title days with 26 points (60 percent shooting) and 10 rebounds for his 133rd postseason double-double, the seventh-most in NBA history. And Manu Ginobili had 22 points in his normal role off the bench. The Big 3 played 17 minutes together in Game 1 and in that time the Spurs outscored the Clippers by 21 points and held them to 22.6 percent shooting.
The Spurs also got a surprising 31 combined points and 11-for-19 shooting from Kawhi Leonard and Daniel Green. San Antonio went 13-for-25 from three-point range, tying a franchise playoff record for most makes.
Look for Paul to continue to have some problems in this series as the Spurs are not going to let him beat them as he did against Memphis. On every pick-and-roll, Paul picked up an extra defender and on every drive to the rim it seemed there were two frontcourt defenders waiting at the rim. The Spurs didn’t show much respect the Clipper outside game and packed it in at times with a zone. It was one of those games that L.A. really missed Chauncey Billups, especially with Mo Williams (who is also nursing an injury and then took a knock on the head in Game 1) being a non-factor.
Clippers at Spurs Betting Odds and Key Trends
San Antonio opened as an 11-point favorite with the total at 194 on NBA odds. The Clippers were 16-17 ATS on the road during season and 19-14 on the ‘over/under’. In playoffs those numbers away are 2-2-1 and 3-2, respectively. Spurs were 24-8-1 ATS at home this year and 16-17 O/U; playoff numbers: 3-0 and 1-2.
The Clippers have covered seven of their past 10 games following an ATS loss. But L.A. is 0-4 ATS in its past four games after allowing at least 100 points in the previous games. The Spurs are 11-0 ATS in their past 11 as a home favorite of 11 points or more. The over is 5-1 in Clippers’ past six games following an ATS loss. The over is 4-0 in the past four meetings between these teams. San Antonio has covered in 12 of the past 15 meetings.
NBA Picks: Clippers at Spurs Betting Predictions
I’m not sure the Clippers can stop San Antonio. During the regular season, San Antonio averaged 108.7 points in the three games. And one of those was without Parker, which was L.A.’s only win in the series.
San Antonio has had 11 double-digit victories during its 15-game run and its average margin of victory is 17 points. Its winning streak is the longest sustained into the playoffs since the 2004 Spurs also did 17.
Oh, and San Antonio has now won 27 of 29 at home against the Clippers since Duncan was a rookie in 1997-98. Thus I can’t see any way the Clippers pull the upset in Game 2. But Paul should be much better in Game 2 (although Parker should be too) and Griffin at least a little more so. Plus Duncan won’t go that crazy again and the Spurs likely won’t shoot as well from long range even though they led the NBA in three-point shooting during the year. Thus I think the Clippers only lose by 6-8 points and thus cover. Also take the over.
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