With Steve Nash back, there might be a little rivalry in Los Angeles in the works. But the Clippers have no intention of playing second fiddle to the Lakers after racking up a franchise-record winning streak of 12 games to extend their advantage at the top of the Pacific Division.
They’ll look to make it lucky 13 on Sunday when they pay a trip to Phoenix, where they haven’t won in over five years. No time like the present. During their current streak, the Clips have given up an average of 88.2 points with only one game decided by less than five. And it’s going to be intriguing to see how much further they can improve when veterans Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill return to add extra depth to their bench.
Phoenix suffered their first loss in five when they fell to Portland on Friday and although their December upswing included victories over Memphis and Utah, they’ve not got enough to beat LA. Take the Clippers on the handicap of -6.5 at 1.91 but head under the total points line of 196.0 based on current form.
San Antonio have stumbled through December, starting the month 5-0 before dropping four of their last six games. But they’ll take on a Dallas team which has lost five of its last six and has now released Derek Fisher as their slump towards ignominy continues. Dirk Nowitzki’s return can’t come soon enough and with the Spurs 9-2 at home, take them on the handicap of -11.
Another team confounding the odds this season are Orlando, who have won four of their last five to pull away from the also-rans in the Eastern Conference. But the absence of Glen Davis was a major factor as their winning streak ended in Toronto on Friday and the centre is likely to miss out when the Magic host Utah.
That could leave the door wide open for Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson in the middle so the Jazz look good value for a win on the handicap of -2 at 1.91. But with both teams hitting an offensive bump, go under the total points line of 188.5
Bet of the day: Take the Clippers on the handicap over Phoenix at 1.91.