Dallas (41-38) at L.A. Clippers (51-28)
When: Sunday, April 10th 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 3:35 ET | TV: NBA TV
The Dallas Mavericks try to wrap up a playoff spot when they take on the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon. The Mavericks have clamped down on defense as they surge toward the playoffs and a possible six-seed in the Western Conference. Dallas has won six straight and was sparked by the play of point guard J.J. Barea, who averaged 24.2 points in the first five of those wins before exiting Friday’s game early with a groin injury. Raymond Felton (season-high 14 assists) and Devin Harris (16 points) stepped up in his place and the defense has done the rest. Dallas has held their last six opponents to 93 points or less after surrendering 124 points a game in the previous four. The Mavericks need one more win in their final three games or one loss by the Houston Rockets to secure a playoff spot. Barea is questionable while PG Deron Williams (sports hernia) is unlikely to play at least the rest of the regular season.
The Clippers have already locked up the fourth-seed in the West and are just tuning up for a playoff run. Los Angeles has won four straight games and eight of their last nine. The Clippers are slowly working star Blake Griffin back into the rotation while giving most of the starters some rest. Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick all sat out Friday’s game at Utah but Jamal Crawford stepped up with 30 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer as the Clippers damaged the playoff hopes of the Jazz 102-99. Cole Aldrich collected season-highs in points (21) and rebounds (18) in the winning effort. The Clippers will finish up the regular season with a home game against the Grizzlies and on the road in Phoenix.
I’m going to take the points in this one. Dallas has been playing terrific defense and they would love to wrap up a playoff spot.
Pick: Mavericks +5