Game: Miami Heat at Los Angeles Clippers
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Heat +3.5, Clippers -3.5
The Heat will play at the Staples Center for a second consecutive night when they take on Paul George and the Clippers. Miami lost a tough one in overtime to the Lakers last night. To make things worse, Jimmy Butler left last night’s game after playing only 13 minutes. Butler twisted an ankle and is listed as questionable, but playing on back-to-back nights even with a non-serious injury is probably not likely for Butler.
Without Butler, the Heat will have their hands full trying to slow down George as well as Nicolaus Batum and Reggie Jackson. That trio combined for 69 points in a win over Portland on Monday. It was the Clippers’ fifth straight win though two of them came against Minnesota and one was against Oklahoma City. Those two teams have a combined seven wins and sit 11th and 13th in the Western Conference.
Still, the Clippers are performing well given their circumstances. Kawhi Leonard is out indefinitely. In his place, George has stepped up his game averaging 26.7 points and 5.4 assists, both team highs. Jackson adds 17.6 points a game and Batum scores 12.1.
LA does have two quality wins in their last two games. The win on Monday over Portland and then a 120-106 victory over Charlotte on Saturday night. Even more impressive is the fact that the Clippers have now covered the spread in four straight games.
For the Heat, not having Butler means Miami will have to rely more on Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo. Both were listed as questionable before last night’s game but played. Adebayo scored 28 points and Herro added 27. The bigger issue for Miami and head coach Erik Spoelstra is not having Butler’s defense. Last night, that showed as the Heat blew several opportunities late and allowed the Lakers to force overtime.
Being undermanned will make it tough for Miami especially after having played just last night. The Clippers have done extremely well at home winning four of the last five at the Staples Center. LA is also 12-5 SU against the Heat at home. The Heat are 6-3 ATS in their last nine games, but they are 0-5 ATS in their last five games against the Clippers.
Tonight’s total is 213.5 which reflects the respect oddsmakers have for both defenses. Miami has actually slipped some defensively. After leading the NBA holding opponents under 100 points per game, the Heat have allowed 113 or more in their last three games. Not surprisingly, the Heat are 1-3 in their last four games.
Miami is still sixth in the league in points allowed (103.2), but their scoring is going to take a hit if Butler does indeed sit out tonight’s game. The Clippers have held two of their last five opponents under 100 points and allowed just 101.6 points a game over that stretch. In the last ten games between the Clippers and Heat, the average total score is 212.8.