Lakers And Clippers Face Friday Road Tests

By: Adam Markowitz | Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Dallas Mavericks will be the only squad involved in the 10-game NBA betting card on Friday night  playing in a back-to-back situation.

One of the most pivotal of those games pits the Portland Trail Blazers against the Boston Celtics. These two teams are going to tip from TD Garden in Beantown at 7:30 p.m. (ET).

Both teams are trying to figure out whether they are buyers or sellers as the NBA trade deadline draws near in about a week. Portland is on the outside of the playoffs right now, but the way the Western Conference is going, there are any number of about a dozen teams that could still get into the postseason. Boston is still trying to run down the top spot in the Atlantic Division, though there is a big difference between winning the Atlantic and really having a team that could beat the Miami Heat or the Chicago Bulls, the two teams that seem destined to be playing each other in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight season.

Boston has ruled the series against the spread recently with 10 covers in the last 13, though the Blazers did cover the last meeting in Beantown, a 99-95 loss in December 2010.

More bad news for Portland: The Blazers are just 6-16 ATS in their last 22 road games, and are in just the second test of a seven-game road trip.

Both teams from Tinseltown are going to be involved in road clashes against teams that they might meet in the playoffs this year. The Los Angeles Clippers are taking on the San Antonio Spurs, while the Los Angeles Lakers are facing the upstart Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Spurs haven't played all that well at home since coming back from their Rodeo Road Trip, as they are just 2-2 SU and ATS in these first four of a seven-game homestand. The Clippers are finishing up a road trip that has resulted in a 2-3 SU and 3-2 ATS mark, though this is clearly the toughest of the five games.

Blake Griffin does have a mild ankle sprain that might be worth watching, but no one figures that he is going to miss this game despite being listed on the injury report as questionable.

Injury matters aren't nearly as good for the Timberwolves. They don't expect Jose Barea to suit up against the Lakers, and Nikola Pekovic is listed as questionable with a foot injury that has kept him out of back-to-back games.

The Lakers have already lost two games on this roadie, and those two losses were brutal against the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards.

The Lakers and T-Wolves get started at 8:00 (ET) on Friday night, while the Clippers and Spurs tip a half hour later at 8:30 (ET).

NBA TV features a doubleheader on Friday night as well. At 7:00 (ET), the New Jersey Nets take on the Charlotte Bobcats in a battle of two of the Eastern Conference cellar dwellers, while the nightcap at 10:00 (ET) pits the defending NBA champion Mavericks against the Sacramento Kings.

At 7:00 (ET), the Philadelphia 76ers hope to take down the Utah Jazz in the City of Brotherly Love. The other early tip at 7:30 (ET) features the Atlanta Hawks on the road against the Detroit Pistons. The Cleveland Cavaliers travel to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are trying to build up their 17-1 SU home record at 8:00 (ET).

The New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks get it on at 8:30 (ET) from the Bradley Center, and at 9:00 (ET), the New Orleans Hornets will take on another of the Western Conference contenders, the Denver Nuggets.

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