Charlotte at L.A. Clippers
Time: 9:30 PM CT (NBA TV)
Spread: LAC -15.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Los Angeles Clippers finished week one with a 2-1 record and league-leading metrics: The Clippers are the No.1 offense at 125 points per game and lead the league in field goal percentage at 53.2 percent.
The Clippers lost to the Phoenix Suns after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers opening night and pounding the Golden State Warriors in Game 2.
The Clippers look to put Charlotte in its place as heavy 15.5-point favorites at the Staples Center, with the betting total set at 228 points. The game will be the second in a double-header on NBA TV with an approximate start time of 9:30 PM CST.
The Clippers should be welcoming back All-Star Paul George to the lineup–or–welcoming him rather. George begins his first year as a Clipper alongside the thriving Kawhi Leonard, who may be asserting himself as the NBA’s best two-way talent, with all due respect to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Leonard won his first title with the Toronto Raptors last season, but he left in a surprise move to sign with the Clippers, and he joined Paul George, another dynamic two-way talent at forward, giving the Clips one of the league’s best defensive backcourt/wing rotations, with Patrick Beverley being the third lockdown defender in that trio.
Leonard is averaging 26 points, 6.3 rebounds, and eight assists per game while seeing just 28 minutes per night. Montrezl Harrell has become the center that many said the Clippers lacked, as a big scorer off the bench who posts 21 points and just under seven boards a game while playing 31 minutes off the bench. In fact, the Clippers No. 2 (Lou Williams) and No. 3 (Harrell) scorers are from the second unit.
Factor in the fact that L.A. has a strong nine-man rotation which boasts all nine players over six points per game, and this is a team that will be 10-deep with George. The Clippers are going to wear a lot of teams out with their high energy bench, and it is that depth that makes the Clippers a contender, even as strong as George and Leonard as top-end talents.
This is a team that legitimately contends this season.
The Charlotte Hornets are 1-2 after consecutive losses to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers. It began the season with a 126-125 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
Charlotte thus far has shot the three very well. It ranks No. 3 in three-point percentage at 41.7 percent. The team may be slightly better than expected, but with Kemba Walker departed for Boston, replaced by former Celtic Terry Rozier, this is a team short in star power. Devonte Graham leads Charlotte at 18.7 points per game, but Rozier has been decent at best. Rozier is averaging 12.3 points and 6.7 assists per game, while the Hornets are still hoping that Dwayne Bacon embraces the role of being a big scorer.
Bacon is shooting 38.3 percent from the floor and just 21 percent from three, but he averages 15 points per game and five rebounds. Cody Zeller has been a pleasant surprise with his 17 points and 13 rebounds per game, and he has shown a propensity to be a defensive playmaker with three blocks/steals per game, as well.
Rookie PJ Washington is averaging 15 points and nearly seven rebounds per game and appears to be a solid starter at a very minimum. The Hornets seem to be almost giving up on Malik Monk, who is shooting 27 percent from the field and playing just 16 minutes per game. With so many players falling shy of their respective original expectations, the Hornets roster is almost like a graveyard of forgotten talents. It will be tough for this team to find its way to 30 wins this season.