Los Angeles Clippers at Cleveland Cavaliers (-6, 202 o/u)
With 11 wins in their last 12 games, the Los Angeles Clippers (27-14, 12-7 Away) are rolling. They’ll seek another victory against the top team in the East when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers (29-11, 15-2 Home), tonight at the Quicken Loans Arena (8:00 PM Eastern).
The Clippers have put together this winning streak despite missing their top scorer Blake Griffin. But without him, the Clippers have seen a string of role players step up and increase their numbers. Last Monday, it was JJ Redick, who scored 40 points in their 140-132 overtime win over the Houston Rockets. Redick made nine of the 12 three-point shots he attempted.
“You could show up sometimes in a gym without defense and not make that many,” coach Doc Rivers said told the Associated Press about Redick’s performance. “It’s just we have guys who can make 3s.”
Center DeAndre Jordan had pneumonia and missed two games, but returned in time to challenge Dwight Howard down low. Jordan had 16 points and 15 rebounds that night.
On the other hand, the last time the Cleveland Cavaliers met a Western Conference opponent they were embarrassed by the Golden State Warriors 132-98 at home on Monday. The Cavs are 9-5 against Western Conference teams this season.
“For us, we haven’t earned anything,” Lebron James explained to the AP. “We just got to go out and prove ourselves to each other, it’s not about what everybody else thinks, it’s about what we need for each other to get better every night. I think tonight it was very easy to look each other in the face and know that we got better tonight.”
The Cavaliers bounced back with a 91-78 victory over the Brooklyn Nets last night. Kevin Love had 17 points and 18 rebounds while James added another 17 points.
“I think tonight it was very easy to look each other in the face and know that we got better tonight,” James added.
This is the first of two meetings between Cavs and Clippers this season. For the Clips, this game in Cleveland opens a five-game road trip in the East as they will face the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks.
“This is a good road trip ’cause it’s hard,” coach Rivers added. “It’s not a lot of easy games on this trip. You have to go out and play and play well to win. The teams that we’re going out to play don’t lose a lot at home.”
The Cavaliers are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games as a favorite and 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games playing on no rest.
The Clippers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games overall and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as a road underdog.
Pick: Clippers (+6).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (LeBron James) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)