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Monday, December 16th, 2013
Two of the NBA’s best teams in the Western Conference will face off this week as the Spurs head to the Tinsel town to take LA’s best team, the Los Angeles Clippers.
Los Angeles has just finished up a road trip, going 4-3 and finishing up with 113-97 win on Saturday. The Clips have been led by Chris Paul all season, and he was again big in Saturday’s contest. Paul scored a season-high 38 points and dished out 12 dimes.
San Antonio has won four straight games and has been powered by the ageless Tim Duncan. The no-doubt Hall-of-Famer has not found the Fountain of Youth, but with regular rest he has become a force. Since late November, Duncan has shot nearly 57 percent from the field. Duncan scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 100-84 win over Utah on Saturday, giving the Spurs a 16-4 record on the year, the second best in the NBA next to Indiana Pacers.
Both teams have high scoring offenses, but two significant injuries. Center Tiago Splitter for the Spurs is sidelined, a key defender in the paint for San Antonio. The Clippers will also be without shooting guard J.J. Redick, one of their best perimeter shooters.
Splitter’s loss is the most notable in this game, especially with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin controlling the paint for LA, but do not kid yourself – this is a tough matchup for the Clippers. The +2.5 home dog line may seem enticing, but I like the Spurs in this one.
Chris Paul has to play well for the Clippers to win lately, especially with Griffin struggling and the Spurs being a strong defensive team. J.J. Redick will not be out there to spread the floor, and I think San Antonio shuts down LA offensively.
Pick: Spurs -2.5 betting with Bovada
The Pacers have gotten off to their best start in franchise history this year and have stormed out to a 20-3 record, the best in the NBA. They welcome the Pistons to town take on one of the league’s strongest frontlines in the league.
Indiana has literally been unbeatable at home. They are 11-0 this season at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and are winning at by more than 13 points per game on average on their home floor. The Pacers last victory was a 99-94 home win over the Charlotte Bobcats, a game in which All-Star Paul George had his worst game of the year. George scored just 10 points on 2 of 12 from the field.
Indiana will face a tough test this week against one of the most proficient front courts of the NBA. The Pistons are scoring almost 52 points a game down-low. Andre Drummond, Josh Smith and Greg Monroe have all been key to give Detroit the highest scoring front three in the league.
The Pistons put forth a tough effort in the paint against Western Conference leading Portland on Sunday, but ultimately lost in overtime 111-109 on a Damien Lillard buzzer-beater. It was no doubt one of the toughest losses of the year for Pistons who held a 13-point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. At 11-14, Detroit has been an up and down team all season.
Though the Pistons are coming off a back-to-back, I like them in this spot, especially as double-digit dogs. It is so hard to bet against the Pacers at home, but this may be a decent look-ahead spot with Indiana heading to Miami on Wednesday. The matchup is not terrible on paper, and I think Detroit will keep this one close down to the wire.
Pick: Pistons +10.5 with Bovada
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