Western Conference Betting Action: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles ClippersSan Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers
Tip off: 10:35 PM EST, Wednesday
Spread: SAS -1
M/L: SAS -115, LAC -105
The Spurs have jumped out of the gate with a 4-0 start and rank fourth in the NBA in points allowed, surrendering only 89.5 points to opponents. That defense, combined with great ball movement (25.8 assists per game), will render the Spurs an effective team—questions regarding age notwithstanding. The Spurs are old, but the Spurs are good. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Tim Duncan has almost been vintage Duncan, averaging 19.3 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game. Tony Parker is still in his prime, and averages 16.8 points per game, while youngsters Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard have done their part too, and average 25.3 points combined.
No Spurs starters are having to see major minutes, either. Parker leads the team in minutes per game at just 32 minutes a night. Gregg Popovich will look to continue to rest his starters as the team gears up for what matters – the playoffs. Manu Ginobili is still sidelined too, and when he returns the Spurs will be even tougher.
The Spurs opponent tonight, the L.A. Clippers, sit at 2-2 on the season and they enter the game as one point underdogs according to NBA oddsmakers. Blake Griffin is nursing an elbow injury, and he had been ineffective in the Clippers first three games, anyway. Last game, he got his shooting under control and hit 9-of-14 from the floor, but had shot just 35 percent from the floor in the Clippers first three games. The performance lifted him to 45.1 percent from the floor, but that is still unacceptable from a player who makes his living on dunks.
The story for the Clips has been Jamal Crawford, who said he practiced shooting for the first time in his life this summer. It’s shown. The already effective Crawford is having his best season so far, with 24 points per game in just 29 minutes a night. He’s shooting 48.1 percent from three point range and 53.6 percent from the floor. Sure, it’s a hot start, but might not Crawford’s discovered dedication have made the difference?
The Clips hope so, because outside of Crawford, everyone is struggling (or injured). Grant Hill and Lamar Odom have yet to play this season due to injuries (and in Odom’s case being out of shape, too), and outside of Crawford and Caron Butler, most of the Clippers are under-performing so far.
Chris Paul has been his usual brilliant self, and is averaging 11.5 assists per game, but the Clips are going to have to hope Griffin’s elbow isn’t too bad and that he can get it going, or they are going to be nothing more than a .500 team…and the bar had been set much higher for “L.A.’s other team.”