Game: Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Clippers
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Odds: Nets -4.5, Clippers +4.5
Fans expecting a clash of stars in tonight’s Nets-Clippers game will have to come back another time. The Clippers, who are already playing without Kawhi Leonard as he works his way back from a knee injury, will now be without their leading scorer Paul George who tore a UCL (elbow) and will miss three to four weeks. He isn’t the only one either. Isaiah Hartenstein is out tonight with an ankle injury and Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris, and Jay Scrubb are all out tonight due to health and safety protocols.
It’s a similar deal for the Nets who will play without NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant, who is dealing with an ankle injury while also in quarantine. Brooklyn will also be without LaMarcus Aldridge, Cam Thomas, Joe Harris, and Kyrie Irving. That leaves the Nets with the lone star – James Harden – in tonight’s game.
Brooklyn ends up a 4.5-point favorite. The Nets have won five of their last six games, including the Christmas Day win over the Lakers. It was all Harden as the former NBA MVP scored 36 points, dished out 10 assists, and grabbed 10 rebounds. He and Patty Mills combined for 70 points, which was enough to overcome a 39-point effort by LeBron James.
Harden will have to be on his game again tonight as the Nets play with a depleted lineup. What Brooklyn has done lately is play great defense. The Nets are ranked in the top 5 in defensive efficiency. They are also No. 2 in opponent field goal percentage and No. 1 in opponent three-point field goal percentage.
The Clippers are also a top 10 team in both opponent field goal percentage and opponent three-point field goal percentage. They are also a top 5 team in defensive efficiency, but where they differ from the Nets is on offense. The Clippers rank 25th in the NBA in scoring and without George on the floor they are going to struggle.
Brooklyn, on the other hand, still has Harden and they do play well on the road. The Nets are 12-3 away from home this season and they rank No. 2 in the league in offensive efficiency as the road team. While the Nets are just 13-17-1 ATS this season, their road ATS record is 9-6 and they are 4-2 ATS in their last six games.
The Clippers are just 1-4 in their last five games. They are 2-3 ATS in those five games and they are 15-18 ATS for the season. With L.A.’s penchant for defense, they have trended Under all season. The Under is 20-13 in Clippers games this season. The Under is 6-1 in the Clippers’ last seven games and 4-1 in their last five home games. The Nets play at a little faster pace and the Over has hit in four of their last five games. Minus a 100-93 loss to Orlando on Dec. 18, the Nets have scored at least 113 points in each of their last five wins.