L.A. Clippers at Houston
Time: 7 PM CST (TNT)
Spread: HOU -1
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Los Angeles Clippers have won five straight enterings tonight’s TNT matchup against the Houston Rockets. The Clippers are 1-point underdogs at Houston, with the over/under set at 237.5 total points according to NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes. The game will tipoff at 7 PM (CST) on TNT.
LAC NEWS & NOTES:
The Los Angeles Clippers are 42-19 and trail only the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference as the West’s No. 2 team. The Clippers won six of its last 10 SU. L.A. ranks No. 4 in scoring at 116.1 per game while limiting teams to 109.8, a point differential of +6.3 points.
Considering its No. 3 and No. 4 scorers both come off the bench, this is done in a different fashion. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell each average 20 and 19 points per game, respectively and do it in 30 minutes a night or less. That enables Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to keep their minutes around the 30-32 range, as well.
Leonard leads the team in minutes at just 32.1 per game. The Clippers utilize a 10-11 man rotation, with several key role players like Patrick Beverley and Ivica Zubac serving their purposes as defenders and sparks. George is averaging 23.5 points, six rebounds, and 3.7 assists as one of three Clippers with a PER over 20. Leonard is super-efficient and the top-three Clippers all shoot 36 percent or better from three.
Leonard averages 26.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game and has appeared in just 33 games due to load management. With the Clippers resplendent depth, it can afford to rest its superstars and cruise to an easy homeport advantage in the first round.
HOUSTON news & notes:
The Houston Rockets have won seven of its last 10, at 39-21 and seeded No. 4 in the Western Conference. It has just a 1/2 game lead on No. 5 Utah.
James Harden is averaging a silly 35.3 points per game on the season with 7.3 assists to his credit as well. He is connecting on 35.8 percent of his threes and 43.7 percent of his field goals while turning it over an “almost excusable” 4.5 times per game. It is excusable simply because Harden produces so much that it is a mere corollary of the ball being in his hands most of the time.
Westbrook has fared well as a Rocket, though. He is shooting 46 percent from the floor while posting per-game averages of 27.2 points, 8 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 2.5 blocks/steals in 36 minutes a night. The Rockets thus far appear to have great chemistry, which was something that was both developed quickly and unexpected by many naysayers and pundits who mostly felt that Harden and Westbrook would be unable to share the ball well together. Due to the fact that both rely on having the ball in their hands to create offense, it remains to be seen how long and how well this pairing of Westbrook and Harden works.
The pair once was together in OKC, but neither is used to the role they respectively played during that time. Westbrook has averaged eight assists per game over the last two, and his minutes seem to be locked in at 33 to 35 per game, which should take some of the load off of it, in the name of the ever-present “load management.”
The Rockets dealt center Clint Capela at the trade deadline to add “3 and D” specialist Robert Covington. Houston had fared well with Capela out this season and is now fully committed to the small ball that tends to promote its great regular season successes.