What can I say about Steph Curry that has not been said already? The two-time MVP has been absolutely unconscious in his last 11 games and last night have been the best performance of all of them. Curry dropped 49 points on 14-of-28 shooting in the Warriors’ win over the 76ers on Monday night, and with that performance he became the first player in NBA history age 33 or older to score 30 or more points in 11 straight games.
Want to be even more impressed? Just look at his statistics over this 11-game run: 40.0 points per game on 54.1% shooting from the floor and 49.7% on 14.3 3-point attempts per game. Those numbers are not just for show either. In these 11 games Golden State is 7-4 SU and ATS with wins over contenders like Philadelphia, Denver and Milwaukee.
This run also has the Warriors nipping at the heels of Memphis in the race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference which is suddenly of great importance. Control of the eighth seed when the season ends means Golden State needs just one win to solidify its spot in the postseason, as opposed to two if they were to fall in the ninth or 10th spot.
Draymond Green said a few weeks ago that a play-in game did not motivate him but it seems pretty clear his teammate feels some kind of way about making a postseason run, and we are the beneficiaries.
Updated odds for every game can be found here.
Updated injury reports for every game can be found here.
*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back.
The Main Event
Los Angeles Clippers (-8, 226.5) at Portland Trail Blazers
There has been no better team than the Los Angeles Clippers since the All-Star break. Los Angeles is 16-5 SU/15-6 ATS in those 21 games with a +9.5 net rating. Their offense has been astounding, averaging 118.4 points per 100 possessions while leading the league in 3-point shooting at 42.6% on 34.6 attempts per game. Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverley are still out due to injury, but Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have been active which is all that matters for the Clippers. They look to keep it rolling tonight against a Trail Blazers team that is going to be short-handed.
Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic will not play as they deal with injuries and that does not bode well for Portland. The Blazers are outscored by 3.5 points every 100 possessions without Lillard on the floor and if Nurkic is also off the floor that net rating dips to -4.9 per 100 possessions. How do they matchup with Los Angeles when George and Leonard are on the floor together? When those two play the Clippers outscore opponents by 17.1 points every 100 possessions and have 125.1 offensive rating.
It is pretty surprising to see this number go toward Portland after the open of Los Angeles as an 8.5-point favorite, but I would expect that number to show again once the morning injury reports are released.
The Co-Main Event
Brooklyn Nets at New Orleans Pelicans (-2, 230.5)
Like almost every game in the second half of the season, this number is explained by the injury report. Kevin Durant has already been ruled out with a thigh contuision and James Harden continues to mend an injured hamstring. On top of that, Nic Claxton was placed in health and safety protocols, which means an already thin frontcourt is going to be even thinner. However, Kyrie Irving will still be on the floor, as will Joe Harris, Jeff Green and Bruce Brown, so its not like Brooklyn is completely devoid of talent. Is this number accurate?
New Orleans is coming off of another inexcusable loss, blowing a late lead to New York and failing to execute up three points in the waning seconds over the weekend. The Pelicans are now 4-7 SU/3-8 ATS with a -5.2 net rating this month, and suddenly their offense has disappeared. A team that is ninth in offensive efficiency on the season (115.3) has manage just 105.7 points per 100 possessions in April. They have the personnel to exploit Brooklyn’s interior defense, but can you trust this team with such a massive role reversal? Remember, just two weeks ago they were an eight-point underdog in Brooklyn and got crushed 139-111 and now they’re favored over the same team?
Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks (-12.5, 219.5)
The Magic are no longer plucky. In fact, they are downright bad. In the month of April they are 2-8 SU/4-6 ATS with a -14.0 net rating. Orlando has no fight defensively and has allowed their 10 opponents this month to average 119.1 points every 100 possessions. It seems like a cake walk for Atlanta, but remember you are buying at the top of the market here. The Hawks have dominated April with a +5.6 net rating and aa 8-2 SU and ATS record, but this is just the second time this season they have been a double-digit favorite. Is the market overreacting to the poor play of Orlando here?
Charlotte Hornets at New York Knicks (-6, 211.5)
New York will look for its 10th consecutive cover tonight against Charlotte and they have a great shot at it considering the Hornets are 1-4 SU and ATS in their last five games with a -7.1 net rating. Charlotte’s offense has really suffered due to the cluster injuries to LaMelo Ball, Malik Monk and Gordon Hayward and over this five-game slump they are scoring just 1.081 points per possession. Devonte Graham is questionable to play as well which will only make things worse for this team as they look to crack the third-most efficient defense in the league since the All-Star break in New York (106.5).