Game: Toronto Raptors @ Los Angeles Clippers
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Odds: Raptors +3.5, Clippers -3.5
The Los Angeles Clippers’ first aim was getting Russell Westbrook into the flow of their game. Now, the Clippers are looking to renew their commitment to playing strong defense. They will get the chance to do so tonight when they play host to the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are one of the few teams that score fewer points per game (112.6) than the Clippers (112.7). The Clippers rank 22nd in the category; the Raptors are 23rd.
On Feb. 24, the Clippers lost to the Sacramento Kings in double OT by a score of 176-175. It was Westbrook’s debut with Los Angeles. Since that game, the Clippers have managed to allow 131.7 points per game in six games. Not surprisingly, LA is 1-5 SU in those six games. Even in their lone victory on Sunday over the visiting Memphis Grizzlies, the Clippers gave up 129 points.
Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue has adjusted the Clippers’ defense. The offense has been playing well averaging 131.7 points over the last six games. The problem, of course, is that LA just can’t get any defensive stops. Against the Grizzlies, the Clippers took advantage of Memphis playing without four key players, including star Ja Morant. Los Angeles went on a 17-0 run in the fourth quarter to pull off the victory.
The Raptors come into tonight following a road loss to the Denver Nuggets (118-113) on Monday night. Toronto had a shot to pull off an upset of their own against the top team in the West. Denver led by one point with 1:00 remaining when Toronto’s Jakob Poeltl was called for a foul. Teammate Scottie Barnes argued the call and was given a technical foul. Denver made all of its three free throw attempts and went on to pull away for the win.
Fred VanVleet led the Raptors against the Nuggets with 21 points and 14 assists. Pascal Siakam and Poeltl added 19 points apiece and Barnes scored 12 points and had nine rebounds. The Raptors are 9-4 since February 3 and will stay in town to play the Lakers on Friday in Los Angeles.
Toronto has covered the spread in three of their last four games and in five of their last eight. They have not fared well against the Clippers recently. Toronto is 2-5 SU in the last seven games against Los Angeles.
In addition to going 1-5 SU in their last six games, the Clippers are also 1-5 ATS. The Clippers have failed to cover the spread in four of their last five home games and they are only 4-8 SU in their last 12 games against a team from the East.
Each of Toronto’s last three games have gone Over the total. That makes 12 Overs in the last 18 Raptors’ road games. Toronto has the seventh-highest Over percentage (56.1%, 37-29) in the NBA. The Clippers, on the other hand, have been a strong Under team, especially at home. In home games this season, the Clippers’ O/U record is 8-22-1. However, six of their last eight games overall have gone Over. In the series with the Raptors, six of the last eight games have gone Under the total. Four of the last five played in Los Angeles have also gone Under.
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