Los Angeles Clippers-Orlando
Losing Chris Paul for up to six weeks with a separated shoulder leaves the Los Angeles Clippers looking a little more vulnerable, and although Paul’s side should be able to get past the Orlando Magic on Monday in his absence there could be a few bumps further down the road in LA.
In Paul’s first game out, the Clippers were woeful in a crushing 116-92 loss to San Antonio, and their offensive drop off – some 12 points below their season average – may be a sign of the occasional slumps ahead.
With the All Star on the floor, his team score an extra 7.2 points per 100 possessions and their pace (possessions per game) goes up by over three.
The Clippers also make 3.3 less three-pointers per game with Paul off-court and their shooting percentage falls in almost every area of the floor, a sign of his immense influence.
So far, LA is 1-8 when scoring below 100 points and although their forthcoming schedule is relatively soft, we can also expect some defensive slippage as well.
Opponents Orlando beat the Clippers 98-90 earlier this season but Nikola Vucevic, their talisman then, may sit this one out.
Back the Clippers on the handicap but they’re a team to watch for some value until Paul makes his return.
It’s hard to say that the Brooklyn Nets are rolling after equalling a season-best of a mere two consecutive wins, both against short-handed opponents, but they’ll get a third shot at injury-hit foes when they host the Al Horford-less Atlanta Hawks tonight.
The Hawks are 2-3 since their forward was lost for the season and their drop showed when they managed just 84 points in a loss to Chicago on Saturday.
The Nets remain a poor rebounding team and they’re not yet firing on all cylinders offensively, but with their Eastern rivals stuttering look under the total points line of 197.5 at 1.92 – with Brooklyn to come up on top at 1.65.
Best bet: Back the LA Clippers on the handicap over Orlando
Read Mark Woods' NBA tips every day