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Clips look for 6th straight

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NBA on TNT: Portland vs. L.A. Clippers

L.A. (-14.5); Total set at 203.5

This was originally slated to be the second half of TNT’s final regular season double header but after the tragic events in Boston yesterday, the Pacers/Celtics game has been officially cancelled. With both teams already locked into their playoff seeds and in action already on the final day of games tomorrow, there is no need for them to make up the contest so we are just left with the late game in L.A. tonight.

The Clippers are 2-1 SU against Portland this year and both wins came by exactly 13 points. The only time they met in L.A. was back in late-January and it was one of the two double-digit victories for the Clippers.

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They have won five straight heading into tonight and are pretty much locked in as the 4-seed no matter how these final two games finish out. That means motivation is a huge question mark for laying big points like this because the Clippers have often shut it down in 2nd halves of games they have well in hand. They’ve let multiple teams through the backdoor to get the ATS win and Portland could have a chance to do so tonight.

However, Portland is just waiting for this dismal season to end as the injury bug once again derailed any playoff aspirations they had. Depth had been a huge concern from Day 1 for the Trailblazers and the lack thereof really manifested itself down the stretch run when some key guys started to go down. Even for tonight guys like LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Nolan Smith are listed as questionable with ankle and knee injuries and there really isn’t much point in them going out there and risk doing further damage to their careers. Portland will likely be extremely short-handed once again and even getting 14 points here it’s tough to take them.

That’s because they have lost 11 straight games and eight have been by double digits. The Trailblazers are 2-9 ATS in that span and have lost the four on the road by an average of 16.5 points. Besides rookie sensation Lillard, they just don’t have the scorers out there on the floor to compete with the rest of the Western Conference.

L.A. does not want the momentum they’ve built during this five-game stretch to wane in any way before the playoffs. They have just started to get healthy themselves and want to use these final two games to solidify their rotations and have everyone comfortable with one another out there on the floor. A glorified scrimmage game like this gives the Clippers the opportunity to seize control early and work on those things down the stretch.

14 points is a lot to lay in a spot like this but the motivation level for Portland has got to be less than any sort of potential letdown for L.A. here. Portland can’t have their summer vacations come soon enough and without their better talent on the floor, this game will get ugly in a hurry.

Take the Clippers!

  
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