Boston at L.A. Clippers
Time: 9:30 PM CT (NBA TV)
Spread: BOS -2
Odds c/o 5dimes
The L.A. Clippers are 38-29 and have won seven 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.
The Boston Celtics have split its last 10 games to fall to 41-26 on the season, and it is seeded No. 5 in the East— if the playoffs began today, Boston would not have home-court advantage in the first round against the Indiana Pacers.
Boston still sports as deep and quality a rotation as any team in the East. Jayson Tatum has quietly improved his efficiency in his sophomore season and is averaging 16.3 points per game on 45.1 percent field goals and 37.2 percent three-pointers. The Celtics have seven players averaging eight points per game or better, and it has a solid 10-man rotation that will serve it well in the postseason, even if Brad Stevens tightens up the rotation to 8 or 9 players, as most coaches do.
Franchise player Kyrie Irving still lingers as a potential loss in free agency, as he will have to be re-signed, but he is having an outstanding season.
Irving is averaging 23.8 points, five rebounds, and seven assists per game while posting a team-best PER of 25.46. Tatum, Marcus Morris, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and Gordon Hayward all average double-figures, and the C’s still are not really getting from Hayward what it thought it might when it signed him as a free agent. Hayward was a borderline superstar with the Utah Jazz, but he still is trying to regain that form following his broken ankle he suffered in the opener last season.