It’s a mark of the Los Angeles Clippers that even without Chris Paul, they demolished Memphis on Monday night. For those, myself included, who have wondered if they can make a real run at the title, the body of proof is growing by the week.
Paul, who has a bruise knee, will be a late decision when his side travel to Houston on Tuesday but with the Clippers bench able to produce consistently – and with Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups waiting in the wings to come back, things are looking good.
That’s a contrast to the Rockets who have lost three straight, along with some of the verve that caught so many opponents by surprise in the opening quarter of the campaign. Their three-point production has dropped and although Houston have still scored 100 points in all but five of their seven games of 2013, they’ve also conceded 100 five times.
If Paul sits, the Clippers will rely on their defence and the total points should stay under 210. If he plays, it could still be the same tactic. But if there’s no CP3 on show, I still like the Rockets to profit from home advantage.
It’s a measure of the Los Angeles Lakers decline that they’re now available at 2.40 to miss the play-offs entirely this season. Don’t write them off yet – and they’re a tempting 1.53 to make a late surge – because they’re still only four wins off eighth spot in the Western Conference with Houston and Portland ahead of them still vulnerable to a slump.
But even without Pau Gasol, it’s games like Tuesday’s home tie with Milwaukee that the Lakers must start converting into victories. But the Bucks won’t make it easy. They’ve won three out of four under interim coach Jim Boylan and guard Brandon Jennings has found a new lease of life. With Milwaukee at +7 on the handicap at 1.91, have a punt on the Bucks,
Bet of the Day: Go under 212.5 total points in Bucks-Lakers at 1.86.