Pacers at Clippers Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 4/1/2013
Last Wednesday the Clippers tied a franchise record by winning their 49th game of the season. Since then they have had two tries to set the record by eclipsing the 50-win mark for the first time, but they have fallen short — and against fellow Western Conference playoff teams Houston and San Antonio, no less.
Those struggles are a clear example of what is wrong with these Clippers. After playing so well earlier in the season they have plateaued badly recently, and they are just 5-5 in their last 10 games. There is no reason to panic just yet, but a team that was seen as a top-level contender back in January now is clearly a step behind the big dogs. They need to get things rolling again, and this is a good test to get them moving in the right direction.
The Pacers have quite a bit left to play for. They are essentially tied with the Knicks for second place in the East. Finishing higher not only makes it more likely to get home-court advantage beyond the first round, but it sets you up to play Boston instead of Chicago or Atlanta — a favorable matchup at this point. The Pacers are playing well, having won four in a row and seven of eight, but the Knicks are red-hot, too, so the team can’t afford to falter if they want to keep up.
Pacers at Clippers Betting Storylines
The Pacers have been one of the top home teams in the league this year. Their 29 wins at home are second only to the Heat in the East. Where they have had troubles is on the road where they are a less impressive 18-19. Teams need to win on the road to be a serious contender in the playoffs, and the Heat aren’t likely to lose early, so the Pacers will be on the road quite a bit if they have a deep run in them. They need to be better away from home. Recently, though, they have been. They have won four of five on the road, including all three on this current road trip. Three of those wins have come against Cleveland, Dallas and Phoenix, so they haven’t exactly toppled giants, but a road win is a road win. This is a road game that could really cap this trip, make a statement, and set them up for the last charge for second — which includes a road game at the Knicks’ team they are pursuing.
If the Pacers are going to have life in the postseason they need David West to regain his form. He has struggled with a back injury that has kept him out for six of his last eight games. He was ineffective in his first game back, but he was more than solid against the Suns last game out — 14 points and seven rebounds. As much as anything, his focus the rest of the regular season has to be on regaining his confidence and finding the form that saw him record three double-doubles earlier in the year. It will be worth watching if he can take another step forward in this game — and that could be key to this outcome as well.
There are probably people out there that think that Vinny Del Negro is a good coach and a good fit for this team and this situation. Then there are people like me who shake their head every time he coaches a game because there is something questionable — and usually dumb — that he does. He does not seem to have a firm grasp on this team. In the last game against the Rockets — who were playing without James Harden so should have been vulnerable — his team was a disgrace. When they should have been able to make adjustments at the half, the team instead came out completely lifeless and was outscored 30-13 in the third quarter. Not just that, but Del Negro totally lost control of his players — Griffin and Crawford both drew technicals after arguing calls.
Returning home after a rough road trip is a perfect chance for Del Negro to silence his critics slightly and get his team back on track.
Pacers at Clippers NBA Odds and Betting Trends
The Pacers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven against teams with a winning record. The Clippers have gone “under” in eight of their last nine against teams with a winning record. The under is 12-3-1 in the last 16 meetings between these teams, including 5-1-1 in L.A..The Pacers are just 1-4 ATS in their last five trips to play the Clippers in California.
Pacers at Clippers Picks and Betting Predictions
I really don’t like the mindset of this Clippers team right now, so I really don’t trust them to win this one as handily as they would have to in order to cover this spread. Indiana is playing well, is confident, and has a sense of urgency that the Clippers are totally lacking. David West should take a step forward as well. The Pacers are an attractive underdog here.
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