Game of the Night – Spurs at Clippers – 10:35 PM EST – ESPN
Los Angeles (35-22 SU, 30-27 ATS) returns home after getting blitzed in the third quarter of Thursday’s 123-113 defeat at Golden State. The Clippers led at halftime by 12 points, but the Warriors dropped 50 (yes, 50) points in third quarter to pull away and pick up the season sweep of Los Angeles. However, the Clips went on a late run to grab the cover as 13 ½-point underdogs in spite of shooting 40% for the game.
The Clippers host the Spurs (43-13 SU, 31-24-1 ATS), who are expected to have Pau Gasol and Manu Ginobili return to the lineup. Gasol suffered a broken left hand on January 17, as the Spurs posted a 12-3 SU and 8-7 ATS record in the 15 games the veteran forward missed. The Spurs are on the back-end of their eight-game Rodeo Trip with the final two games taking place at Staples Center, as San Antonio has won four of the first six contests, but covered only twice.
Los Angeles has caught fire from an ATS standpoint by covering in five straight games, while winning four times. However, the Clippers have lost four of six home contests when listed in the underdog role, as point guard Chris Paul remains out with a thumb injury. The Spurs have compiled a 4-6 ATS mark in the last 10 opportunities as a favorite, including a 2-4 ATS record when laying points on the highway.
The Clippers have had their way with the Spurs this season by winning each of the first two matchups. Los Angeles routed San Antonio at AT&T Center on November 5 as 4 ½-point underdogs, 116-92 as the Clippers posted 73 first half points. Blake Griffin paced the Clippers with 28 points on 13-of-19 shooting, while Spurs’ point guard Tony Parker sat out due to injury. The Clippers held off the Spurs in their second matchup at Staples Center on December 22 as 1 ½-point underdogs, 106-101, as Los Angeles has won five of the past seven meetings in the series.
The Raptors have captured the Atlantic division title each of the past three seasons, while the Celtics have finished in second place the last two seasons. Boston has pulled ahead of Toronto in the division with a four-game advantage starting the second half of the season as the two teams meet at Air Canada Center.
The Celtics closed the first half winning 11 of 13 games, including a 4-2 mark away from TD Garden. The Raptors snapped a three-game skid by erasing a double-digit second half deficit in a 90-85 victory over the Hornets last Thursday, but Toronto has failed to cover in four straight games. This is an important matchup tonight for tiebreaker purposes as the Raptors have won two of the first three contests with the Celtics, while Toronto covered each of the first three times.
Paul George stayed put with Indiana at the trading deadline, but the Pacers need to turn things around fast. Indiana ended the first half on a six-game slide, which included four straight defeats at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to Cleveland, Milwaukee, San Antonio, and Washington. The Pacers’ defense has been abysmal in this stretch by allowing at least 110 points in each defeat, while the OVER has hit four times.
Indiana hosts Memphis as the Grizzlies have won five of their last six games away from FedEx Forum. Memphis owns a 3-1 SU/ATS record in its past four opportunities as a road favorite, while the Grizzlies are 7-1 in their last eight off a loss, coming off a home defeat to the Pelicans prior to the break. The Pacers have struggled with the Grizzlies the last few seasons by dropping five straight matchups, including the previous two meetings in Indianapolis.
The Heat are still alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race following a 14-2 run in the final 16 games of the first half. Miami faces Atlanta for the fourth times in the regular season as the Hawks captured two of the first three meetings. The Heat have cashed in all three matchups, including in a 116-93 home blowout during Miami’s 13-game winning streak earlier this month.
The Hawks finished the first half a bit uneven by alternating wins and losses in their last six games, capped off by a 99-84 setback to the Clippers. Atlanta has struggled to cover numbers at Philips Arena recently by going 2-4 ATS the last six home contests, while allowing 100 points or more five times in this stretch.
Both the Mavericks and Timberwolves sit in last place in their respective divisions, but Dallas and Minnesota have an outside shot at the eighth playoff position in the Western Conference. Dallas won six of eight games prior to dropping a pair of contests to Boston and Detroit before the All-Star break. The Mavericks’ offense has struggled away from American Airlines Center recently by scoring 99 points or less in five of the last seven road games.
The Wolves are back at home after cruising past the Nuggets in Denver before the break, 112-99 as 6 ½-point underdogs. Minnesota compiled a 2-4 SU/ATS record on its six-game homestand prior to the Denver victory, which included three losses as a favorite. Minnesota and Dallas split two meetings in January with the home team winning each time, while the UNDER cashed each game.
— Washington looks to stay atop the Southeast division as the Wizards travel to Philadelphia. The 76ers have covered 10 consecutive home contests, while knocking off the Wizards as home ‘dogs in November. However, Washington has won seven of the last eight meetings with Philadelphia.
— Phoenix has won consecutive games only three times this season as the Suns go for back-to-back wins tonight in Chicago. The last time these teams faced off in Phoenix two weeks ago, the Suns routed the Bulls, 115-97 as 3 ½-point underdogs.
— Utah goes for the season sweep of Milwaukee after the Jazz routed the Bucks in Salt Lake City on February 1 by a 104-88 count. The Jazz have won each of the last five matchups with the Bucks, while Milwaukee has scored 88 points or less in the past four losses to Utah.
— The Thunder look for their 10th win in the past 11 meetings with the Lakers as the teams meet up in Oklahoma City. The Lakers knocked off the Thunder in their last matchup at Staples Center in November, while trying to snap a 12-game skid at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
— Save the best (or worst) for last as the Nets bring their 2-23 road record to Denver. Brooklyn has dropped 14 consecutive games, but the Nets beat the Nuggets at home in December for their sixth straight win over Denver since February 2014.