It’s an inter-conference matchup of teams heading in different directions on the shores of Lake Erie. The LA Clippers provide the opposition for the defending Eastern Conference champs, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday night. LA lost its sixth straight with a 109-105 home loss to the 76ers Monday night. Cleveland won for the fourth time in five games as they defeated the Hornets 115-107 on the road Wednesday night. The Cavaliers have a 73-51 lead in the all-time regular season series but the Clippers swept both meetings last season.
LA Clippers Hoping to Stop Skid
LA lost their sixth in a row and their eighth in the last nine games as they couldn’t make the key plays late and fell to Philadelphia. The Clippers have bottomed out from their 4-0 start as they come into this one 5-8. LA trailed by eight after the opening quarter but rallied to take a two point lead entering the fourth only to be outscored 32-26 in the fourth to fall short. The Clippers shot 43.9 percent from the field and knocked down 12 of 32 free throw attempts. LA killed itself on the boards, losing the rebounding battle 51-34, and at the free throw line, where they converted just 21 of 32 attempts. Blake Griffin had 29 points to lead the Clippers in the loss.
The Clippers are currently 12th in the league in scoring offense with 107.2 points per game. LA is 10th in the league in rebounding with 45 boards per game and stand 28th in assists with 19 per contest. The Clippers are solid defensively, ranking 17th in scoring defense by allowing 106 points per game. Blake Griffin leads the team with 23.1 points plus 8.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. DeAndre Jordan puts up 9.5 points and 13.4 rebounds per night. Lou Williams (17.5 points, 3.4 assists), Patrick Beverley (12.5 points, 1.9 steals) and Danilo Gallinari (12.8 points, 4.6 rebounds) are solid offensive weapons for Doc Rivers. Willie Reed, Austin Rivers, Sam Dekker, Wesley Johnson and Milos Teodosic are good rotation players for the Clippers. LA is tied for 18th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.9 percent from the floor. The Clippers are tied for 13th in three pointers a game with 10.7 and 12th in three point shooting as they hit 36.4 percent of their long range attempts.
Cleveland Cavaliers Seek Fifth Win in Six Games
Cleveland has won four of five as they took down Charlotte on the road. The Cavaliers climbed over the .500 mark with the win and look to take another step up from the break-even mark here. Cleveland led by six after the opening quarter but trailed by six at the half. In the second half, the Cavaliers outscored the Hornets 54-40 to pick up the victory. Cleveland overcame shooting 43.3 percent from the field, including 13 of 38 from three point range, in part by controlling the glass by a 51-42 margin. LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 31 points, six rebounds and eight assists in the win.
The Cavaliers are 5th in the league in scoring this season with 110.1 points per game. Cleveland is 19th in rebounding with 42.7 caroms a night while the team stands 17th with 21.7 assists per contest. The Cavaliers are below average defensively, ranking 28th in scoring defense by allowing 112.1 points per game. LeBron James averages a team high 28.3 points while collecting 7.3 boards and dishing 8.7 assists per game while Kevin Love is good for 17.9 points plus 10.4 boards per contest while Derrick Rose is chipping in 14.3 points a night. Jeff Green averages 10.7 points per contest. J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver (10.9 points), Iman Shumpert, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder and Tristan Thompson are some of the rotation guys that can step up and have a big game. Cleveland is 8th in the league by shooting 46.8 percent from the field. The Cavaliers are tied for 11th in the league in made threes with 10.8 triples a night while ranking 20th in three point shooting by shooting 35.3 percent from downtown.
- Clippers are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games overall
- Clippers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
- Clippers are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
- Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Western Conference
- Cavaliers are 20-6 ATS in their last 26 Friday games
It’s hard to figure out how things have unraveled so quickly for Doc Rivers and his team. Sure, injuries to Teodosic, Beverley and Gallinari have hurt but none of those guys were on the team last season. Of course, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick were here but the fact remains that teams have to deal with adversity. The Clippers have wilted like lettuce under a hot lamp. Cleveland is starting to find its rhythm with four wins in five games. Playing at home, they should be able to take care of business against a slumping LA team.
Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers -6.5
The Clippers have had a real problem stopping opposing teams from putting points on the board of late. In their last nine games, of which they’ve dropped eight, the opposition has broken the century mark in seven of them and the Mavericks hung 98. The only team to fall less than a bucket short of 100 points was the Pistons, who finished with 95 in an eight point win. Cleveland has had their defensive woes as well, which is why they are third worst in the league in scoring defense at this point in time. The Cavaliers are winning games though, so people tend to overlook deficiencies when that happens.
The over is 5-1 in the Clippers’ last 6 games playing on 3 or more days rest and 5-2 in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a losing home record. Cleveland has seen the over go 8-0 in their last 8 home games following a road trip of 7 or more days, 4-0 in their last four against Pacific Division foes, 6-1 in their last seven against Western Conference opponents and 11-2 in their last 13 at home against teams with a losing road record. Given both teams’ issues with preventing the opposition from scoring, this one likely goes over the total.