LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (29-9)
at HOUSTON ROCKETS (21-17)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Houston -3, Total: 206.5
One night after dismantling Memphis without their star point guard, the Clippers continue their road trip against a slumping Rockets team on Tuesday night.
Los Angeles crushed the Grizzlies on Monday night despite Chris Paul sitting out with a bruised right kneecap, outshooting them 46.1% to 30.3% FG in a 99-73 laugher. That ended a three-game ATS road losing skid and gives the Clippers four wins in the past five contests. Houston is coming off an 0-3 (SU and ATS) road trip where it was beaten by a combined 28 points, but the team is 7-1 SU (6-2 ATS) in its past eight home games. These clubs are meeting for the first time this season after L.A. swept the Rockets (3-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) in the 2011-12 campaign. Paul is doubtful to return for Tuesday's game, but Houston could also be without its starting point guard, Jeremy Lin, who is questionable due to a sprained ankle.
Can the Rockets stop their slide on Tuesday night? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Brian is 22-13 ATS (63%) on NBA Best Bets since Dec. 23, giving him a 55% ATS mark (61-51-3) for the season. StatFox Scott has a season Best Bets mark of 53.1% ATS (52-46), with Gary going 6-3 ATS since Jan. 9 to boost him to 52.3% ATS for the season. The four experts are collectively 51.1% ATS (230-220-11) on Best Bets for the season. For NBA Totals, Scott continues to have a profitable year at 53-40 (57%) for his season NBA totals.
Los Angeles is one of the better offensive teams in the league with 101.7 PPG (7th in NBA), but its defense has been even more impressive (92.8 PPG allowed, 4th in NBA). With Paul sitting out on Monday, Eric Bledsoe did an admirable job of filling in with 14 points, four assists, zero turnovers and a +10 rating in his 28 minutes of action. The other six reserves also had a huge performance against the Grizzlies with a collective 54 points, 26 rebounds, nine assists and a +97 rating. SF Matt Barnes (11.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG) led the charge with 16 points and eight rebounds, while SG Jamal Crawford (16.2 PPG) also added 16 points, albeit on 5-of-14 shooting. PF Blake Griffin (17.7 PPG, 8.6 RPG) played just 25 minutes to stay fresh for Tuesday's contest, but he still had 10 points, six boards and five assists in his limited action. In last year's series sweep over Houston, Griffin had 18.0 PPG (52.4% FG) and 9.3 RPG.
Houston continues to lead the NBA in scoring (105.4 PPG), hitting 45.9% FG (8th in NBA). But the club has hit just 28.3% three-pointers during the three-game losing skid, while losing the rebounding edge with a minus-4.3 RPG in these three defeats. Lin was able to take part in Tuesday's shoot-around, and expects to play. He's just hoping he shoots a lot better than he has during his team's losing skid, going 10-for-34 (29%), including 2-of-13 FG in the loss at Philadelphia. SG James Harden (26.5 PPG, 4th in NBA) has had no such slump this season at 46% FG, and he has ripped off 20 straight games of 20+ points, averaging 29.0 PPG on 50% FG with 5.3 APG during this impressive run. But the Clippers have defended him very well in the past, as Harden averages just 10.5 PPG on 33% FG in 11 career meetings with Los Angeles. SF Chandler Parsons (14.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG) is also heating up in the past four games with 17.3 PPG on 51% FG. In two games versus the Clippers as a rookie, he made 10-of-14 shots (71.4%). PF Patrick Patterson (11.9 PPG) will likely be tasked with keeping Blake Griffin in check, but he has made just 6-of-20 shots during his team's losing skid. SF Carlos Delfino (9.9 PPG) continues to provide valuable minutes off the bench, as his 16 points in Saturday's loss at Philly gives him 13.3 PPG on 48% FG and 51% threes in the past six games.