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L.A. Clippers vs. Boston Celtics Sunday NBA Preview & Free Pick

Clippers vs Celtics NBA Handicapping

So much for that Super Bowl Sunday matchup of the best point guard in the Western Conference vs. the best PG in the East.

Los Angeles Clippers (34-14) at Boston Celtics (23-23)
Sunday, Feb. 3
TD Garden, Boston
1 p.m. EST
Spread – Clippers -1 at SportsBettingOnline.ag
O/U – 184

Matchup | Preview

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Chris Paul is expected to miss his seventh straight game when the Clippers go at it in Boston today, and the Celtics are still sorting things out as they deal with the absence of Rajon Rondo (torn ACL) for the rest of the season.

The Clippers, who are two games into an eight-game road swing, will find a different kind of Celtics team than they were expecting. Doc Rivers was still digesting the news of Rondo’s injury when solid rookie big Jared Sullinger also was lost for the season (back surgery).

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A rotation that had been nine deep all of a sudden was thinner than Manute Bol.

Boston has tried to do some repair work on the fly. With absolutely no inside game (Kevin Garnett is now a jumper shooter and Paul Pierce has no explosion left in his legs), Rivers has taken off the choke chains and the Celtics are now running a bit. They haven’t scored in triple digits in regulation since the Rondo injury, but the offensive pace is noticeably quicker.

So far, so good – a surprising double-OT victory over Miami and wins over the NBA’s version of Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues (Sacramento and Orlando).

But whether Boston can keep things from imploding over the final 36 games and sneak into the playoffs is anyone’s guess. [ad-6571516]

Rivers and Danny Ainge have to figure that they’ll get more out of Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Jeff Green, all of whom underachieved over the first half of the season. And Leandro Barbosa, who was buried at the end of the bench for the first 40 games, should have fresh legs as his minutes are lengthened.

Speaking on minutes, Rivers will be working hard to resist the temptation to play Garnett and Pierce more than they have been. Any thoughts of getting past the first round of the playoffs are out the window if Garnett is not fresh come mid-April, and Pierce seems to age with every trip downcourt. He had 12 turnovers in the last three games.

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The Clippers have been a godawful (2-4) cover team since Paul went down. Eric Bledsoe has been OK, but was Just Another Guy on Saturday night when LA suffered its worst defeat (98-73) of the season, in Toronto.

The Clippers’ backcourt troubles (Jamal Crawford might not play due to a nasal fracture) play into the Celtics’ strength, and Bledsoe will be hounded all day by Avery Bradley.

BOSTON in this one as the Celtics keep it going for one more game.

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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!


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