San Antonio at L.A. Clippers
Time: 9:30 PM CST (NBA TV)
Spread: LAC -10
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Los Angeles Clippers have won seven of its last 10 and have the second-best point differential (+5.9) in the Western Conference. It hosts the No. 10 seeded San Antonio Spurs as 10-point favorites in NBA action at 9:30 PM (CST) on NBA TV. The betting total is set at 229 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
The San Antonio Spurs is just 22-26 on the season and currently is seeded No. 10 in the West, trailing Memphis by 1.5 games for the West’s final playoff spot.
Looking at the Spurs roster, it is understandable as to why: San Antonio is led by two high-scoring veterans, but this team’s defensive outlook is nowhere near as bright, and it lacks depth unless one is to overrate the talents in it and what they have done so far.
San Antonio is giving up 114.7 points per game while scoring 113.7 itself. It has a negative point differential, a sub .500 record, and still the rough outlines of what could be a postseason team even so. It is certainly too early to write them off, at least.
The Spurs are offensively led by the two veterans DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. Both post-PERs of 20-plus, but after that, the depth really thins out on this roster. Bryn Forbes has provided a boost with 11 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game, but he is really playing right at “replacement level.” The same applies to Patty Mills, whose defense is partly to blame for teams tallying so many points on the Spurs. Rudy Gay is washed up, and Dejounte Murray has been decent but the Spurs were hoping for even more.
All of this comes together to spell a team that is almost lucky to have won one-third of its games thus far in 2019-20. Without a step-up in defensive intensity, it will not even win that many moving forward. Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, and Lonnie Walker IV were all billed as potential breakout players, but none of them have broken out really.
Murray averages 10 per game, White 10, and Walker tallies just 5.6 per night. The trio was expected to lead the Spurs after Tony Parker’s regime ended, but in the two seasons since Parker left the Spurs, none of it has come to fruition, and the team is sub .500 mostly due to a lack of depth, as its primary two veterans have continued to produce.
LAC NEWS & NOTES:
The Los Angeles Clippers are 34-15 and trail the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference as the West’s No. 2 team. The Clippers won seven of its last 10 SU. L.A. ranks No. 4 in scoring at 115.4 per game while limiting teams to 109.5, a point differential of +5.9 points.
Considering its No. 3 and No. 4 scorers both come off the bench, this is done in a different fashion. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell each average 20 and 19 points per game, respectively and do it in 30 minutes a night or less. That enables Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to keep their minutes around the 30-32 range, as well.
Leonard leads the team in minutes at just 32.1 per game. The Clippers utilize a 10-11 man rotation, with several key role players like Patrick Beverley and Ivica Zubac serving their purposes as defenders and sparks. George is averaging 23.5 points, six rebounds, and 3.7 assists as one of three Clippers with a PER over 20. Leonard is super-efficient and the top-three Clippers all shoot 36 percent or better from three.
Leonard averages 26.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game and has appeared in just 33 games due to load management. With the Clippers resplendent depth, it can afford to rest its superstars and cruise to an easy homeport advantage in the first round.