The Los Angeles Clippers lost three of their last four games and now they have to deal with the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, starting with tonight's Game 1 at the ORACLE Arena.
Saturday, April 13 at 8:15 PM ET
Put Me in Coach
FiveThirtyEight gives the Warriors a 99.0 percent chance to win this series but the Clippers have a strong bench, led by Lou Williams (20.0 points, 5.4 assists in 26.6 minutes) and Montrezl Harrell (16.6 points and 6.5 rebounds in 26.3 minutes).
Harrell can be the X-Factor in this game, he's averaging 17.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 25.7 minutes off the bench over the last 10 games and as explained by Positive Residual, the Clippers scored 1.21 points per possession on P&R Roll Man plays (second highest in the league), driven by Harrell's 1.31 points per possession.
Defensively, the Warriors allowed 1.19 points per possession on P&R Roll Man plays (third highest in the NBA), so the Clippers can exploit this. Also, Lou Williams put up 21.0 points and 6.7 assists in 28.3 minutes over three games against the Warriors this season, shooting 37.5 percent from 3-point range. Williams and Harrell can be difference-makers and they should see increased playing time.
One Last Run for the Warriors?
The Warriors show up when they have to and they're clearly the team to beat. Stephen Curry (27.3 points, 5,3 rebounds, 5.2 assists) and Kevin Durant (26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists) didn't perform at MVP-levels like Giannis Antetokounmpo or James Harden and Klay Thompson (21.5 points per game) and Draymond Green (7.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.9 assists) had down years but they got a significant boost at center with DeMarcus Cousins (16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds).
Cousins will appear in his first-ever playoff game, snapping the second-longest (and fifth longest of all-time) active run of games played without a playoff appearance at 565 and he wants to make sure his team makes a run, so look for him to be fired up for his matchup against Ivica Zubac, which will be crucial in this series.
The Los Angeles Clippers are:
21-7 ATS in their last 28 games against Pacific Division opponents
7-3 ATS in their last 10 games after scoring more than 125 points in their previous game
The Golden State Warriors are:
9-20-1 ATS in their last 30 home games
3-7 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing more than 125 points in their previous game
This series will be fun to watch and I actually give the Clippers a puncher's chance, that's how much I like how hard they play, so I'm making small bets on them to win this series at +2850 at Jazz Sports and to cover +13 tonight.
NBA Pick: Clippers +13 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzonaff