Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs (-5.5, 202.5 o/u)
Tonight, the defending NBA champs, the San Antonio Spurs (30-17), will host the soaring Los Angeles Clippers (32-15) at the AT&T Center (9:00 p.m. Eastern).
The Clippers had won six straight heading into last night’s game with New Orleans, but Blake Griffin and company were downed 108-103 by the surging Pelicans. The team also had the good fortune of playing some of the worst teams in the NBA during its win-streak, including the Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, and Nets.
The Spurs, meanwhile, are on a modest three-game winning streak (which started with a 99-85 push against the Lakers) and are nipping at the heels of the Dallas Mavericks for third in the mighty Southwest Division.
The Spurs are a solid 18-6 at home this season, and are back to playing their usual defense-first brand of basketball. The team is surrendering just 97.2 PPG on the year, and has kept seven of its last eight opponents under the century mark. The team hasn’t lost a game in January when it keeps opponents under 100 points.
On the other side, the Los Angeles Clippers are an offensive juggernaut, averaging 107 points per game on the year (fourth-best in the league). The Clippers’ offense is top heavy with just four players accounting for nearly 70% of its points: Blake Griffin (22.7PPG), Chris Paul (17.5 PPG), Jamal Crawford (15.8 PPG), and J.J Redick (14.9 PPG).
The L.A. defense is not spectacular (99.8 points against per game), but, according to coach Doc Rivers, team is confident in its defensive prowess. “Even if we’re struggling, we believe we can get stops,” Rivers said. “Just keep getting stops.”
The Spurs have downed the Clippers in seven of their last ten meetings. The Clippers also played last night and will be the more tired team. Expect San Antonio to make it eight out of 11 tonight..
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Baltimore, USA (RO9A3690) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped.)