San Antonio-LA Clippers
Two beasts of the West go toe to toe in Texas on Saturday, but will the Los Angeles Clippers prove they are ready to fulfil their tantalising promise and overhaul the San Antonio Spurs for a spot amongst the real elite?
The Spurs currently sit third in the Conference, behind Portland and Oklahoma City, but as the reigning Western champions they remain the 3.25 favourites and the team to beat for anyone aspiring to make it all the way to the Finals.
The Clippers, priced at 5.00 for the West crown, are amongst those with high ambitions, and they’ve already had the measure of San Antonio once this term with a 115-92 rout last month in LA when Blake Griffin hit 27 and the Spurs succumbed to a fourth quarter blowout.
However, Tony Parker’s exit following an injury in the third quarter was a huge factor in allowing Chris Paul to orchestrate the Clippers’ acceleration. And with Paul out for a month, the Frenchman, and the Spurs, will likely have a plan to reduce their visitors’ pace even further, which can bring the total points below the line and allow them to strike a blow to a key rival.
The NBA’s two most dysfunctional units square off on Saturday as armchair psychologists observe and take notes.
The Brooklyn Nets gained some rare clarity when shocking the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday with a rejigged small lineup that proved effective.
That setup is ripe for a redux for the visit of the Cleveland Cavaliers who only recently seem to have gained some comprehension that, for all his talents, having Kyrie Irving monopolise the ball is not conducive to success, with the All Star’s production dropping by 8.3 points in losses.
He sat out Thursday’s overtime win over Orlando and will be absent once more, affording the Nets a rare chance to build up some momentum even if the Cavs might perform a little more as a team.
Best bet: Go under the total points line in San Antonio-LA Clippers
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