Tuesday NBA Odds, Picks & Predictions: Two Best Bets for Warriors vs. Pelicans & Raptors vs. Clippers (May 4)

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard.

We have another decent NBA card on tap Tuesday, with seven games taking place. Teams continue to make their push toward the postseason, so you can expect some hard-fought contests happening across the league.

The featured contest takes place on the west coast, with Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers hosting the struggling Toronto Raptors. The game, which will air live on TNT, is set for a 10 p.m. ET tip.

Brandon Anderson and Raheem Palmer each have a pick for you on the schedule. Check out each of their selections below, complete with their detailed thoughts and in-depth analysis supporting those choices.

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NBA Odds & Picks

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Warriors vs. Pelicans
8 p.m. ET
Raptors vs. Clippers
10 p.m. ET

Warriors vs. Pelicans

Pick
Warriors ML (+114)
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
8 p.m. ET
TV
NBA League Pass

Brandon Anderson: I’m sorry, but did everyone else miss Monday’s “Marvel” gamecast?

I know people really want Zion Williamson to be in the playoffs, but the New Orleans Pelicans aren’t good enough and we saw that on display when all the Captain America heroics in the world couldn’t carry Black Widow and Iron Man to relevance. By the way, that was Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball.

The Warriors took command of the game early, jumping out to  a 39-21 first-quarter lead and then mostly coasted the rest of the way. New Orleans had no answer for Steph Curry, who got any look he wanted, and they could do nothing to limit Draymond Green, who recorded a triple-double.

Most worryingly of all were the shooting numbers. And I’m not talking about the 3-point numbers either. The Warriors made 39% of their shots behind the arc, with Curry going 8 of 18 and the rest of the team shooting 9 for 26. That’s perfectly normal and sustainable at this point. However, the 2-point defense was the real problem for New Orleans. Golden State shot 30 of-44 inside the arc, making 68% of its 2-point attempts.

New Orleans has been bad on defense all year, and the Pelicans are even worse without Steven Adams. It wasn’t Curry’s 3s that killed New Orleans, but his back cuts and layups. Green picking apart the defense with his passing didn’t help matters either.

One night later, I’m not sure why anything should be any different. Golden State is getting far too easy looks. The club might not coast again, but a win here effectively seals the Warriors spot in the play-in tournament by basically eliminating the Pelicans, so a win is big for both teams.

New Orleans still isn’t ready for this battle. Captain America needs more help.

Now, where do I get those hero points?

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Raptors vs. Clippers

Pick
Clippers 1H -5.5 | Clippers -9
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Raheem Palmer: The Los Angeles Clippers have quietly lost three games in a row and find themselves a half game behind the Denver Nuggets for the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoff race.

Although I’m sure seeding doesn’t mean much to the Clippers, chemistry and continuity do. For the second consecutive game, Los Angeles has both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the lineup. Although Serge Ibaka (back) and Patrick Beverley (hand) are still out, the rest of the team is healthy and a matchup against mediocre Toronto, who is missing arguably their best wing defender in OG Anunoby, is ideal for a team looking to get off the snide.

The Raptors are looking toward next season, resting their stars in Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam in key spots, so the opportunity to make it into the play-in game really hasn’t impacted this team’s decisions.

Despite a win over the Lakers, who are trying to get adjusted to the return of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, doesn’t change that this isn’t a team you want to bet on against solid teams. The Raptors lost by 17 to the Knicks; 13 to the Nets; and, 10 to the Nuggets in three consecutive games. That said, I really like this spot for the Clippers to pick up a dominant win.

Unlike past seasons under head coach Nick Nurse, in which he fielded a top-5 defense, Toronto struggles to defend. The Clippers are first in 3-point shooting percentage and a team that struggles to guard the perimeter, allowing opposing teams to shoot 38.1% from behind the arc (23rd among NBA teams).

They also struggle to defend the rim, as they’re 22nd in opponent field-goal percentage for 65.1 percent. They’re also allowing the sixth-highest frequency of midrange jumpers (32.9%) and the fourth-highest field-goal percentage on midrange shots at 43.4% percent. That means Leonard and George, who are in the 83 and 75 percentile in midrange accuracy should have a field day.

This is simply a mismatch for the Raptors. The Clippers are second in Offensive Rating, scoring 119.2 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage time minutes. Los Angeles faces Toronto, which struggles to score and ranks just 14th in Offensive Rating, scoring 112.8 points per 100 possessions. This has been the case since Leonard departed Toronto, as the Clippers defeated twice last season by double digits.

With Los Angeles is eager to snap a three-game losing streak and build chemistry facing a worse version of Toronto, who is looking toward next season, this feels like an ideal spot to lay the points.

From a numbers perspective, my model isn’t capturing how I see these two teams match up, with data making this game at Clippers -8.72, but from a handicapping perspective I think there’s some value. I’ll take the Clippers 1H -5.5 and full game -9 on the spread line.

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