The other big game tonight will feature the Boston Celtics taking on the Los Angeles Clippers. Both teams look to be near the top of the league, but only the Celtics have maintained their performance. The lack of Kawhi Leonard is starting to rack up losses for the Clippers. With no clear answer yet as to whether he will be here tonight, LA may be facing another tough loss.
Boston Celtics (11-2) @ Los Angeles Clippers (9-5)
It seems very clear by now that the loss of Kyrie Irving and the addition of Kemba Walker has been a major plus for Boston. Walker isn’t necessarily a better player than Irving, but he fits the squad better and the team is playing much better as a result. It also gives Tatum and Brown the freedom they need to control the ball on offense, which is leading to Boston winning most of their games. The Celtics have lost to only one good team this year and that came in the first game of the season, making them an extremely scary outing.
- Despite spraining his ankle, Marcus Smart is probable to play tonight.
- After having their 10-game winning streak ended, they responded well with a 14-point victory in Phoenix.
- Boston is an excellent road team, sitting at 6-2 on the year. All of their losses have come in away games though.
- The C’s are still led by their 3 top scorers averaging right around 20 points per game: Walker (4), Tatum (20.2), and Brown (19.5).
- Boston is unstoppable if Jayson Tatum can shoot the ball as well as he did last game. He scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but went a solid 8-16 (50%) from the field, up from his season average of around 40%.
- The C’s are one of the best defenses in the league. They are in the top 10 for lowest opponent scoring per game (2), field goal shooting (42.5%), and 3-point shooting (32.8%).
- Rebounding is one big noticeable issue for them. They are 10th-best for their own boards (7), but 4th-worst at limiting opponent rebounds (48.8).
- The Celtics covered the point spread last game and have been red-hot in the last 10, currently sitting at 7-3.
When Clippers fans heard that Kawhi Leonard would be joining the team this offseason, they definitely didn’t expect him to miss this many games already. Part of it has been for load management, but this time around Kawhi actually has a knee injury. This is not a good sign for the Clippers, especially with more than 60 games left to play before the offseason. Paul George is an excellent player, but his time in Indiana proved that he can’t do it alone.
- Kawhi Leonard has missed the last 3 games for LA and is questionable for tonight’s game.
- After losing back-to-back games, the Clippers have won their last 2 games thanks to PG13 being in the lineup.
- LA has been phenomenal at home, sitting on an 8-1
- The Clippers rely on their 4 main scorers to carry the offensive load, all of them averaging just below 20 points or more: George (3), Leonard (26.8), Williams (22.1), and Harrell (18.9). George has only played 3 games and Leonard has played 9.
- Paul George looks healthier than ever, averaging 3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists on 56.3% shooting from the field and a scorching 52.2% from 3-point range in his 3 games.
- LAC runs a solid offensive spread, ranking in the top 10 for scoring per game (8), field goal shooting (46%), and free throw attempts (26.9).
- Their pitfall is their high fouls per game (9), leading to the 9th-worst opponent free throw attempts per game average (25.6).
- The Clippers did not cover the point spread last game, but are a solid 6-4 for the last 10.
Pick: Boston Celtics +5.0
It is unclear if Leonard will actually be playing tonight, but it honestly doesn’t matter. The Clippers are facing one of the best squads in the league and can’t afford to fool around. Boston’s success lies in their excellent defense and that won’t change just because Kawhi is playing. The Clippers have an impressive record at home, but the Celtics are an excellent road team. You should take the points and bet on the Boston Celtics winning tonight.