Free NBA Pick & prediction Trail Blazers vs Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers (36-16, 17-10 away) @ Los Angeles Clippers (36-18, 22-4 home) 02/12- 10:30PM EST
Line: LAC -9.0
With the All-Star break approaching this weekend, the Los Angeles Clippers have to be feeling good with having All-Star point guard Chris Paul back in the mix and with their strong play in the first half of the season as they look to beat a struggling Portland team on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
The Clippers (36-18) will look to add to the Trail Blazers woes by dealing them their sixth defeat in nine games while going for their fifth home win versus the Blazers. The Blazers have not beaten the Clippers on the road since Oct. 27, 2010.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Blazers will be playing in the second of a back-to-back game after losing at home on Tuesday night to Oklahoma City 98-95. LaMarcus Aldridge had a horrible shooting night going just 5 of 22, finishing with 12 points and 12 boards.
“I couldn’t throw a rock in a lake tonight,” Aldridge said.
The Blazers (36-16) are the NBA’s highest scoring team at 107.7 points per contest but have failed to score in triple digits for the fifth time in eight games. Portland has lost six of its last seven games when scoring under 100 points and with the high scoring Clippers (106.7) right behind them, they will have their work cut out for them.
The Clippers went 12-6 during the absence of Paul, who went down with a separated shoulder back on Jan. 3 and were fired-up when he returned to action on Sunday night against Philadelphia as they gave the Sixers a 123-78 spanking. Paul scored seven points with eight assists in nearly 23 minutes of action.
Blake Griffin, 26 points and 11 rebounds and DeAndre Jordan, 10 points with 20 boards along with Jamal Crawford, 21 points were sparked by the return of Paul.
“(Paul) set the tone,” said Crawford. “The energy from when he was introduced, to the level of play that he brings, it makes everybody better.’
Crawford has stepped up his game averaging 24.3 points per game in place of J.J. Redick, who is expected to miss his fourth straight game with a sore right hip.
The return and play of Paul on Sunday night quickly put to rest any fears of disrupting the chemistry of the team as he had feared for the Pacific Division-leading Clippers.
“It felt great just to play. You never know what it’s going to be like until you actually get out there and compete,” Paul said.
Both Griffin and Paul will be headed to New Orleans this weekend for the All-Star game… Griffin as a Western Conference starter and Paul as a reserve and are feeling confident about their team when second half resumes play next week.
“We’re hitting a lit of a stride,” said Griffin. “We’re more than halfway through the season. Hopefully, we’re getting to a point everybody’s going to be healthy and so hopefully this is the time, you know March and April that you hit your stride.”
The oddsmakers feel the Clippers are hitting their stride as they have made L.A. a huge (minus 9.0) point favorite against the struggling Blazers, but get the latest odds up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.
Although I expect a good game between these two teams, I have to agree with the oddsmakers on this one and see the Clippers taking it to the Blazers and avenging an earlier season loss 116-112 back on Dec. 26. I predict a great game all-around from the Clippers as they look to finish the first half of the season strong.
Prediction/Pick- Los Angeles
By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter