L.A. Clippers at Philadelphia
Time: 6 PM CST (TNT)
Spread: PHI -1
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Philadelphia 76ers have won its last two, entering tonight’s matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers. It hosts the Clippers as 1-point underdogs from Philadelphia at 6 PM (CST) on TNT. The betting total is set at 225.5 points according to NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes.
LAC NEWS & NOTES:
The Los Angeles Clippers are 37-16 and trail the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference as the West’s No. 3 team. The Clippers won seven of its last 10 SU. L.A. ranks No. 4 in scoring at 115.8 per game while limiting teams to 109.7, a point differential of +6.1 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.
PHILADELPHIA NEWS & NOTES:
The Philadelphia 76ers are seeded No. 5 in the East currently, with an eight game lead over No. 7 Brooklyn while trailing No. 4 Boston by 2.5 games.
Philadelphia averages 108.6 points per game, ranking No. 22 in the Association in scoring. It allows 106.3 per, and the Sixers have a win-differential of +2.0 points. Joel Embiid is the team leader. He averages 23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.2 steals/blocks in just 31.1 minutes per game. The signing of Al Horford has helped the Sixers manage the load of Embiid much better. Embiid has also appeared in only 31 games to this point and is currently now cleared for non-contact conditioning drills. He is expected to be evaluated again in another week.
Horford is averaging the same 30 minutes per game, and he averages 12.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals/blocks per game. The Sixers have Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson starting on the wings, and both are producing, combining to average 34.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
Ben Simmons is certainly a unique point guard, but he has not been without his issues. The 6’9” point-forward is averaging 14.9 points, seven rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game, but the mantra that he “cannot shoot” is not dying any sort of quick death. While Simmons shoots a very fine 56.3 percent from the floor, he is still passing on most jump shots, and he very rarely (0.1 per game) shoots the triple.
It does affect matters. Teams do not respect Simmons’ shooting ability and that makes it easier to double team Embiid and Harris. Until Simmons gains a respectable mid-range jumper and potentially even a three, it is tough to imagine the Sixers making that final step towards true contention. Philadelphia is a good team, but in some senses, it is an easy team to prepare for. While Embiid is extra-worldly, Simmons’ upside is quite mitigated by his errant shooting. It is not much different than the trajectory seen in the career of Rajon Rondo. Either add a respectable jump shot or keep launching uncontested bricks. It is up to Simmons which it is.