Spurs at Clippers Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 2/21/2013
It’s a potential Western Conference Finals preview on Thursday night when the Spurs and Clippers meet for the third time this season, and it’s a chance for L.A. to cut into San Antonio’s 4.5-game lead over the No. 3 Clips for the top spot in the West. With the way that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich likes to rest his veteran guys, you never know what might happen to San Antonio late in the season. A win also would clinch the season series for L.A., which might have head-to-head tiebreaker implications.
Not that you asked, but I will always remember a Spurs-Clippers game from April 24, 1994, when San Antonio star and future Hall of Famer David Robinson scored 71 points against the Clippers on 26-of-41 from the floor (he even had a three-pointer) and 18-of-25 from the line. It was the final game of the regular season, and “the Admiral” had trailed Shaquille O’Neal by 33 points for the scoring title. Robinson would finish at a career-high 29.8 points per game with Shaq at 29.3. At the time, it was only the third game in NBA history in which a player scored at least 70. Kobe Bryant would make it four when he had 81 in a game against Toronto on Jan. 22, 2006. Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor are the other two.
Keep in mind that Thursday’s trade deadline will pass before this game, so it could affect things. The Clippers have been rumored to be looking at the likes of Kevin Garnett and Paul Millsap, while the Spurs might trade seldom-used DeJuan Blair.
Spurs at Clippers Betting Story Lines
The Clippers are the final team to take the floor after the break, and both San Antonio and L.A. had interesting story lines from the All-Star Game. For the Spurs, it’s now being reported that Popovich, the coach of the Western Conference, chewed out Lakers center Dwight Howard. Pop supposedly was drawing up a play in the huddle and Howard was out chatting with celebs and the like. That earned Howard a few F-bombs from Popovich. Seriously, can Howard’s reputation take any more of a beating these days? And you just have to love Pop.
The Clips had a great All-Star Game as Chris Paul became the first player from that franchise to win the ASG MVP award. He was only the third player with at least 20 points and 15 assists in the game and the first with that latter number since Gary Payton in 1995. How bizarre is it that all the news surrounding the Clippers these days is positive while it’s all negativity around the Lakers? I think I just saw a pig fly.
The Spurs opened their post-break schedule with a 108-102 win at Sacramento behind Tony Parker’s 30 points and 11 assists in perhaps his best game of the season (although he did give it away seven times). It was San Antonio’s fourth straight win and 15th in the past 16 games. The Spurs have the NBA’s best overall record (43-12) and road record (21-10).
As noted above, this will be L.A’s first game after the break. The Clippers entered it on a four-game winning streak and closed the first half in style with a 125-101 butt-kicking of the Lakers to clinch the season series for the first time in 20 years. Since Paul and Chauncey Billups returned from their injuries, the Clippers have won those four in a row by an average of 16.3 points. Paul torched the Lakers for 24 points and 13 assists. Billups has been on a minutes limit since debuting off his back injury but had a season-high 21 in just 16 minutes vs. the Lakers. His return could prompt L.A. to stand pat at the trade deadline (I think it does).
The Spurs have a .679 win percentage against teams currently in playoff position, best in the NBA. But they are 0-2 against the Clippers. On Nov. 7 in L.A. the Clips (1.5-point dogs) rolled 106-84 in easily San Antonio’s worst loss of the year (and the Spurs’ first of the season). Blake Griffin had 22 points and 10 boards in that one, while Parker and Manu Ginobili totaled just 13 points. Twelve days later in San Antonio the Clippers won 92-87 as 4.5-point dogs behind 19 points and eight assists from Paul. San Antonio was without Kawhi Leonard in that one, and he has become a very good and important player. The Spurs, by the way, haven’t lost at home since.
Spurs at Clippers NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Clippers have been opened as three-point favorites with the total at 200.5. San Antonio is 30-23-2 ATS (17-14 on road) and 25-28-2 “over/under” (17-12-2 on road). L.A. is 31-25 ATS (16-10 at home) and 30-26 O/U (15-11 home).
The Spurs are 5-1 ATS in their past six games vs. teams with a winning record. The Spurs have covered just one of their past six Thursday games. The Clips are 4-1 ATS in their past five Thursday games. They have covered just one of their past six at home. The under has hit only once in San Antonio’s past seven road games. The under is 4-1 in L.A.’s past five games against teams with a winning record. The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings. San Antonio has covered in 10 of its past 14 at the Clippers.
Spurs at Clippers Picks and Betting Predictions
As always with the Spurs, I just have to assume that Popovich will play Parker, Tim Duncan and Ginobili, although I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if one or more sits in the second of a back-to-back Friday night at Golden State.
This is one of those rust or rest games. I lean toward rest as the Clippers should have plenty of energy. It’s also likely that Spurs key reserve Stephen Jackson will miss another game. He has been away from the team for the past three for personal reasons. Take Los Angeles and the over.
Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please on any of our top NBA handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Get all of Today's NBA Picks
Get all of Today's Guaranteed Expert NBA Picks