Boston Celtics (11-2) at Los Angeles Clippers (9-5)
NBA: Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 at 10:00 pm ET (Staples Center)
Line and Odds: Boston Celtics +7 Over/Under: 219.5
Free ESPN NBA Picks Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics
A strong argument could be made that the Boston Celtics have been the best team in the NBA, so far. They have a 2 game lead over the defending champion Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division. Boston currently has an 11-2 record, good for the best mark in the Eastern Conference. The only team in the NBA with a better record than the Celtics is the Los Angeles Lakers (12-2). After dropping the first game of the season 107-93 to the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston reeled off 10 straight victories. While many of these wins were against lesser competition (Warriors, Wizards, Knicks, Cavaliers, etc.), they also secured a few quality wins over legitimate contenders.
Boston has victories over the Toronto Raptors (112-106), Milwaukee Bucks (116-105), and the Dallas Mavericks (116-106). However, their 10 game win streak came to an end against the Sacramento Kings, 100-99. Boston bounced back a few days later with a strong defensive performance against the Phoenix Suns. The Celtics got a 99-85 road win in Phoenix. Boston had a 57-42 lead at halftime and that advantage proved insurmountable in the 2nd half. The Celtics held Devin Booker to 20, Kelly Oubre to 15, and no other Sun scored in the double digits. For Boston, Jayson Tatum scored 26 points and Kemba Walker scored 19 points. In addition, Marcus Smart scored 17 and Jaylen Brown scored 14.
The Boston Celtics rank 3rd in net rating, outscoring opponents by 8.4 points per 100 possessions. They rank 4th in offensive rating, scoring 111.6 points per 100 possessions. Boston takes care of the basketball extraordinarily well. Boston’s offense turns the ball over on just 10.9% of their plays, ranking 1st in turnover percentage. The Celtics rank 8th in defensive rating, allowing 103.2 points per 100 possessions. Boston ranks 5th in effective field goal defense, forcing opponents to shoot for an effective field goal percentage of 48.9%.
For the first time in the history of the franchise, the Los Angeles Clippers entered the season with high expectations. Through 14 games, the Clippers are right where they need to be. Los Angeles appears to be a team that is pacing itself. Obviously, the Clippers want a strong record to make the playoffs and secure a high seed. However, going all out to win the #1 seed in the Western Conference is not Los Angeles’ number-one goal. Doc Rivers and the coaching staff simply want the Clippers’ major players to be healthy and ready-to-go when it’s playoff time.
There has been much controversy surrounding the way Clippers management has handled Kawhi Leonard. They’ve decided that they aren’t going to play Leonard on back to back nights, in order to preserve his health. Leonard has played 9 of 14 Clippers games, averaging 26.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. The other star Clippers forward, Paul George, has returned from to play the last 3 games. George is averaging 29.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Paul George’s Clippers’ debut and Kawhi’s stellar play have Clippers fans fantasizing about a championship. Their 9-5 record simply reflects the fact they haven’t had their full complement of players for the vast majority of the season.
The Los Angeles Clippers rank 6th in net rating, outscoring opponents by 6.1 points per 100 possessions. Los Angeles ranks 8th in offensive rating, scoring 110.1 points per 100 possessions. They are strong on the offensive glass, ranking 3rd in offensive rebound percentage (24.8%). Los Angeles also ranks highly in points from the free throw line. They rank 2nd in free throws made per 100 possessions (20.6). The Clippers rank 10th in defensive rating, allowing 104.0 points per 100 possessions. Los Angeles’ defense ranks 7th in effective field goal defense, forcing opponents to shoot an eFG% of 49.6%.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Boston’s last 15 games.
Boston is 11-1 SU in their last 12 games.
Boston is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games against LA Clippers.
LA Clippers is 6-3 ATS in their last 9 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of LA Clippers’ last 11 games.
LA Clippers is 8-1 SU in their last 9 games at home.
ESPN NBA Scores Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Clippers
I’m taking the Boston Celtics +7 in this matchup. I am more than comfortable taking one of the best teams in basketball and 7 points, even without Gordon Hayward. The Los Angeles offense vs. the Boston defense should be a stalemate, as they are both ranked 8th in their respective categories. The Celtics will prevent the Clippers from shooting a high field goal percentage, but the Clippers will get points at the free throw line and create extra chances through offensive rebounding. However, Brad Stevens will find ways to exploit the Clippers’ defense. The Celtics play fundamental basketball and they do not turn the ball over. Los Angeles will have an elite perimeter defense by the end of the season, but they aren’t quite there yet. Paul George is just returning from injury and Kawhi Leonard is in-and-out of the lineup. They are not in playoff form, defensively. Even if the Clippers do find a way to get the victory, I do not believe it will be by more than 6 points. Take Boston and the points.