Portland at L.A. Clippers
Time: 9:30 PM CT (NBA LP)
Spread: LAC -2.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The L.A. Clippers are 39-29 and have won eight of its last 10. The Clippers have a strange assortment of players that do not seem to really fit together, but there is no discounting the massive collection of talent on the team.
Montrezl Harrell has become a major contributor after coming out as a second-round pick of the Houston Rockets. Harrell has averaged 15.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in just 25.5 minutes a night. Thought originally to be undersized, he has made up with for it with his massive wingspan, athleticism, and with his energy.
Lou Williams is still a bucket-getter, and he is averaging 18.7 points per game.
But the Clippers leader has been Tobias Harris, who has basically stepped into the same role once occupied by superstar Blake Griffin. Harris is leading the team at 20 points per game while adding eight rebounds per game, and just over two assists. Danilo Galinari disappears at times, but when he is locked in he is one of the best shooting forwards in the league. Gallo is averaging 19.4 points while shooting 45 percent from the floor and an outstanding 45 percent on his 5.5 three-pointers per game.
The Clippers “only” attempt 24.7 threes per game, but it connects on 39 percent of those while shooting 47 percent from the floor overall. For such a seemingly strange collection of talent, the Clippers are in the playoff race early and should find its way into the postseason.
POR TEAM NOTES
Portland has been rolling this season, and it has won seven of its last 10 overall. It currently sits at No. 5 seed in the Western Conference with its 40-26 mark on the year. Damian Lillard, for his part, has been sensational this season. The All-Star is averaging 26 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game.
His backcourt sidekick CJ McCollum is rounding into form too, averaging 21.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. The Blazers use its starting center Josuf Nurkic just 27 minutes a game, but he averages 15 points and 10.3 rebounds in that time, making the most of it with his high energy play.
The reduction in his time means more for Zach Collins, and the second-year big man has also looked good. Portland has gone more heavily towards its starters as the season has worn on, but it has some good talent waiting in the wings.
Collins is averaging seven points and 0.86 blocks per game in 18 minutes a night. The Blazers have good depth, and its bench is greatly improved with the better play of Evan Turner and Nik Stauskas, who has revived his career in Portland. Stauskas is averaging 6.1 points per game in his 15 minutes a night. The Blazers now seem to have the depth it has lacked in previous seasons. Could Portland put a scare into a top team.
It is tough to bet against it with some depth now flanking the outstanding talent that is Lillard.