L.A. Clippers AT Philadelphia 76ers
December 15th, 2010 at 7:05 PM EST
Opening Point Spread: Philadelphia -5.5
Current Point Spread: Phildelphia -5.0
Opening Total: 192
Current Total: 191.5
Opening Moneyline: Philadelphia -190 / L.A. Clippers +165
Current Moneyline: Philadelphia – 193 / L.A. Clippers +173
Philadelphia, after getting off to a bad start, has rallied to win 6 of their last 10 games, and recently took the Eastern Conference leading Celtics down to the wire, losing by only 1. Despite having a losing record, Philly actually as a postive point differential of +0.5. They are scoring 97.3 and giving up 96.8. Over the past 8 games, Philadelphia opponents are shooting only 41.3% and have been held to an average of 86.9.
“We’re a bunch of young guys just trying to win, and lately we’ve been successful,” said Jrue Holiday.
The Clippers also started out badly this season, but the difference is they never picked it up. While they have two very promising young players in possible NBA rookie of the year Blake Griffin and Team USA star Eric Gordon. But so far, having a couple of high flying youngsters has not mattered. The Clippers are 0-10 on the road this season and given Philadelphia’s success at home where they are 7-5, the moneyline that NBA oddsmakers have given seems rather appealing.
The Clippers are 3-6-1 ATS in their lats ten games against Philly and the total has gone UNDER in 5 of the last 7 games in Philly. The Clips have also lost 11 of their past 13 in Philly and have won only 3 of their past 40 road games in total.
“We still got to be more consistent and play a whole game,” said rookie Blake Griffin. “It’s tough, but at the same time I know it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to be gradual.”
Some key matchups for tonight’s contest:
Eric Gordon vs Andre Iguodala
Eric Gordon, despite the Clippers’ struggles, is having a great season and if NBA coaches overlook the Clippers struggles, he should be a lock to make his first all star team this season. He’s increased his scoring average by an astounding 7.6 points per game, averaging 24.5 points per game on the year. He has struggled with his three point shot (27% compared to his career average of 36.4%) but has been getting to the line with regularity (9.2 attempts per game) and is hitting a career high field goal precentage of 45.5%. Iguodala is considered one of the best lockdown defenders in the game and his length and athleticism could give Gordon trouble, not to mention the fact that Iguodala is no slouch on offense either, as he averages 13.7 points per game (a career low actually) and he is a well rounded player, averaging 5.7 assists and 6.6 boards. His versatility and defense have been big contributing factors in the Sixers’ recent success.
Blake Griffin vs Elton Brand
There is absolutely no way Brand can contain Griffin. Despite being much stronger, he lacks the length and athleticism at this point in his career that is necessary to handle Blake Griffin. Griffin is second in the NBA in total dunks this year and could posterize Sixers as he has many an opponent so far. He is averaging 20.3 points per game and 11.9 boards a night. Brand has rebounded from poor performances over the past two seasons to have a decent year for himself as well (15.5 ppg and 8.2 rpg), but will have his hands full with Griffin tonight.
Given Philadelphia’s recent success, the NBA oddsmakers may have set the bar low with the five point spread. The Clippers have shown no indication that they can actually win on the road and Philly is on relative fire.