NBA Monday Picks: L.A. Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin-Love-timberwolves-42L.A. Clippers at Minnesota
Time: 8 PM ET, Mar 31, 2014
Spread: LAC -3.5
Total: 216

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The Los Angeles Clippers clinched a playoff spot for the third straight year. That’s something Kevin Love still dreams of doing in his NBA career.

Love and the Timberwolves will host the Clippers Monday night in a game NBA oddsmakers are setting the line 3.5 points in favor of the Clippers.

Love has been vocally expressing his frustration, and when asked about the Nets’ surge following the team’s loss to Brooklyn, Love simply commented “They’re in the East.” That factuality can’t evade Love and his teammates, for though Minnesota is playing .500 ball this season, it is all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, trailing 8th seeded Dallas by seven full games in the standings. Not only would the Wolves face easier competition in the East, but even just using this year’s record the team would be situated at the bottom of the playoff picture, ahead of both Charlotte and Atlanta.

Love may be all but gone with his upcoming free agency, and for all the promises that the Wolves offer of being competitive year after year, it hasn’t done much more than result in disappointment for the fan base. Love is averaging 26.1 points, 12.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists, and will command a max contract as a free agent. He’s been linked to the Lakers, though it would require some maneuvering on Mitch Kupchak’s part to put Love in a Laker uniform.

The Clippers are the Wolves plus defense, in a manner of speaking. Doc Rivers’ squad leads the NBA in point production (107.5 points per game), but L.A. plays much better defense and does a far better job of getting back in transition. The team is allowing 100.4 points per game, and that D will need to become even stricter during the playoffs.

As much as Rivers can be credited, a large portion of that credit has to go to center DeAndre Jordan. Jordan leads the league in rebounding with 13.7 per game, while also scoring 10 points and blocking 2.4 shots per game. The Clips have plenty of offensive options, but it has been Jordan’s defense that has allowed Blake Griffin to evolve further on the offensive end. Griffin has improved his jumper, his handle, and is making great decisions with the ball. He’s averaging 24 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game this season.

LAC Trends: UNDER 5-0 in last 5 following SU Win of more than 10 points; UNDER 7-1-1 in last 9 following SU win; UNDER 7-1-1 in last 9 after scoring 100 points or more in previous game.

MIN Trends: 0-4 ATS in last 4 playing on 0 days rest; 0-4 ATS in last 4 vs teams with winning SU record; 7-1 ATS in last 8 when opponent allows 100 points or more in previous game.

Head-to-head: Clippers 7-0 ATS in last 7 meetings in Minnesota; UNDER 19-7 in last 26 meetings in Minnesota.

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