LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (15-8)
at BROOKLYN NETS (7-14)
Tip-off: Thursday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -3, Total: 199.5
Both the Nets and Clippers will be looking for their third straight victories when the two meet up Thursday night.
Brooklyn played the Celtics Tuesday night at home and came away with a 104-96 victory, marking the first time all year the team has won two games in a row. Los Angeles traveled to Boston Wednesday night and defeated the Celtics 96-88 as a five-point road favorite, securing its seventh win in the past 10 games (6-4 ATS). These teams met earlier this season on Nov. 16 when the Clippers won at home 110-103, but failed to cover a 14-point spread. The Nets, however, played that game without Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Brook Lopez and Deron Williams. The Nets have dominated this series since 1996, going 20-14 ATS (19-15 SU), including 12-4 ATS (13-3 SU) at home. Los Angeles is 19-9 ATS (68%) after playing five consecutive games as a favorite over the past two seasons. Luckily for Brooklyn, however, the Clippers are 67-102 ATS (40%) after three or more consecutive Unders since 1996. While the Nets are relatively healthy, L.A. is still missing SGs J.J. Redick (wrist) and Reggie Bullock (ankle).
Which team will extend its winning streak on Thursday night? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Forecaster has been profitable so far this season with a 53% ATS record (53-47-1) in featured games, while the five experts are at 53% ATS (57-51-1) on Best Bets since Nov. 12. During this timeframe, StatFox Zach has a stellar 68% ATS mark (15-7) and StatFox Scott is a robust 60% ATS (12-8-1).
The Clippers won in Doc Rivers’ emotional return to Boston Wednesday night thanks in large part to PG Chris Paul, who tallied 22 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. SG Jamal Crawford was also stellar, coming off the bench to score 21 points in just 27 minutes. The performance was Crawford’s first 20-point game in five contests. Los Angeles has been extremely effective spreading the wealth this season, averaging 24.0 APG (3rd in NBA) and that has led to an excellent 103.7 PPG average (5th in NBA). PF Blake Griffin (20.6 PPG and 10.4 RPG) has played very well all season and will need to use his youth to his advantage in a matchup with veteran Kevin Garnett. C DeAndre Jordan (9.7 PPG, 13.0 PPG and 2.1 BPG), will need to handle Brook Lopez inside. SF Stephen Jackson made his Clippers debut on Wednesday, but went scoreless in 12 minutes of play.
The excuses for the Nets' early-season struggles are now gone as star PG Deron Williams returned to play against the Celtics Tuesday night. The Nets are now healthy and Williams was dominant in his return with 25 points and seven assists in 37 minutes. Williams should be able to improve the Nets’ poor passing (19.1 APG, 25th in NBA). Kevin Garnett played well with Williams feeding him the basketball, scoring 11 points while also adding nine rebounds and three assists. He will need to play even better on Thursday night with the athletic Griffin coming to town. SG Joe Johnson, however, struggled with Williams sharing the backcourt with him. He had just seven points in the game and looked rather uninvolved on offense. SF Paul Pierce also struggled with his offense, coming off the bench to score just four points in 22 minutes. He did add seven rebounds and three assists though. Pierce will need to get it going if Brooklyn is going to turn this season around.