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Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Clippers - 5/17/15 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Los Angeles Clippers (63-32) at Houston Rockets (63-30)
Date & Time Sunday May 17, 2015, 3:30 PM (EDT)
The Line
The Line: Houston Rockets +2.5 -- Over/Under: 219.5
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The Los Angeles Clippers play the Houston Rockets in Game 7 today at the Toyota Center.

The Clippers will be feeling very nervous about their season after blowing two chances to close out the Rockets. Game 5 was always going to be tough to win against a desperate team on the road, but at home in Game 6, the Clippers stormed out to a 19-point lead only to lose by 119-107 in the end. Chris Paul dominated the game with 31 points and 11 assists while Blake Griffin added 28 points, but the Clippers just made so many mistakes down the stretch which really spoiled all their hard work. On the glass, the Clippers were outrebounded by 60-41 which just gave the Rockets too many second chances, many of which ended in putback layups or dunks, but the most worrying factor of the loss was that the Clippers got run down by a Rockets team who didn't even play their best player for the entire fourth quarter.

James Harden led the Rockets in scoring with 23 points, but shot just five of 20 from the field and was a complete non-factor during the Rockets' furious comeback run. The real leader for the Rockets in this game was actually Dwight Howard who poured in 20 points and 21 rebounds while Corey Brewer added 19 points. Josh Smith was kept quiet for most of the game until he scored 11 of his 19 points in the last 6:58 of the game where the Rockets outscored the Clippers by an amazing 34-7. 

In ATS trends, the Clippers are 16-5-1 ATS in their last 22 road games and 4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team above .600, while the Rockets are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games and 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a win of more than 10 points.

Head to head, the Clippers are 10-4 ATS in the last 14 meetings overall and 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings in Houston.

It's still hard to fathom how poorly the Clippers were playing down the stretch in Game 6 but they'll have to shake that off and come into hostile territory and win Game 7. I've been wrong the last couple games, but even after the capitulation of Game 6, I'm still leaning towards the Clippers to finally get over the hump and close out the series in a thriller.

Los Angeles -2.5
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