Los Angeles Clippers (-5.5, 211 o/u) at Dallas Mavericks
The absence of Blake Griffin may finally be starting to catch up with the Los Angeles Clippers (40-21, 19-10 Away). Just 5-4 in their last nine games, the Clippers will look to avoid back to back losses tonight when they visit the Dallas Mavericks (33-30, 19-13 Home) at the American Airlines Center (8:30 PM Eastern).
Los Angeles hasn’t lost back to back games in nearly three months, but Saturday’s 107-97 loss to Atlanta has that streak in jeopardy. The Clippers trailed by just one heading into the final frame. The shorthanded squad couldn’t keep pace down the stretch, getting outscored 25-9 in the final eight minutes of the game.
LA failed to cover as 5.5-point home favorites.
Scoring isn’t usually an issue for the Clippers, who average 104.8 points per game, but it was against the Hawks. Chris Paul led the team with just 17 points and was a disappointing 6 of 16 from the field. Not having Griffin in the lineup is particularly noticeable when Paul is having an off night. The likes of Deandre Jordan and Jamal Crawford aren’t able to shoulder the offensive load on a consistent basis.
The good news for LA is that they’ll be facing a porous Dallas defense (102.6 points against per game) that has lost two straight games to subpar opponents (Sacramento and Denver). The Mavs are still sixth in the Western Conference, but they’re now just three games above .500 and trail the fourth-place Clippers by a full eight games. Meanwhile, seventh-place Portland has crept within half a game.
The high-scoring Mavs put up 114 against Denver last night, but it wasn’t enough. The Nuggets outrebounded the Mavs 71-54 and took the W, 116-114, outscoring Dallas 56-38 in the paint.
Tonight’s meeting will be the third of the season between the teams. Each held serve on their home floor earlier in the year.
The Clippers are a solid road team, going 19-10 away from home on the year and winning six of the last seven ATS. But Dallas is no slouch at home, especially against LA: the Mavs have taken 13 of the last 17 from the Clippers at the American Airlines Center. Yes, Dallas played in Denver last night, but getting 5.5 points on their home floor is good value. Grab the home team with the points in what should be a close game.
Pick: Mavs +5.5.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (Flickr: Dirk Nowitzki) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)