L.A. Clippers at San Antonio Spurs
Time: 7:30 PM CT, NBA LP
Spread: SAS -2.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The San Antonio Spurs have won three-straight to even its record back at .500. It now hosts the Los Angeles Clippers at 7:30 (CT) on NBA League pass as 2.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 221.5 points according to NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes.
San Antonio has got it done most recently with defense, which is a familiar motif for Gregg Popovich’s teams. The Spurs held the Phoenix Suns to just 86 points last game in a 111-86 victory and it held the Utah Jazz under 100 the game before that, as well, winning 110-97 over Donovan Mitchell and company. Even in the game prior to that, it surrendered 120 to the L.A. Lakers in a fast-paced affair that saw the Spurs score 133 points. Popovich simply finds ways to win, even with a roster that is fairly talent-bereft after departure from its top three veterans.
The Spurs have seamlessly incorporated DeMar DeRozan into its offense, but the defensive shortcoming of DeRozan in no way comparable to the team leader that was dealt to obtain him. The Spurs do miss the lockdown defense of Kawhi Leonard, but hey, life goes on: San Antonio can build its identity on a strong team defense and an unselfish offense, in typical fashion of what it has done over the past two decades.
DeRozan leads the team in scoring at 24.1 points per game, while adding 5.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. LaMarcus Aldridge is still a strong power forward with one of the best mid-range jumpers in the game. Baseline jumper by another, he has managed to still average 18.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Rudy Gay is a good glue guy, and Bryn Forbes has stepped up as a strong No. 4 option, averaging 12.3 points per game.
Guards Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli are both excellent shooters in an era that benefits shooters, and though the Spurs are without Pau Gasol, he was scarcely making big contributions anyway. The one thing we do know about Pop-led teams is that they find their ways to win, and while the Spurs are far from favorites or even playoff locks at this point, do not count any Pop-led team out of the picture completely because, well, coaching matters.
The L.A. Clippers are 17-10 but have lost three of its past four heading into tonight’s game. 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 15.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in just 25 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 17.2 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 21.0 points per game while adding 8.2 rebounds per game, and 2.2 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 18.8 points while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor and an outstanding 44.5 percent on his 5.3 three-pointers per game.
The Clippers “only” attempt 24.9 threes per game, but it connects on 37 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.