Monday features a battle of East versus West when the Boston Celtics (41-26) travel to the Staples Center to take on the Los Angeles Clippers (38-29). As these two sit right now, both would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Currently, Boston sits in 5th place in the East while the Clippers sit at 7th in the West.
For the Celtics, they come into this one having won 4 of their last 5. Their lone loss was a 115-104 loss against Houston a week ago, but have since beat Golden State, Sacramento, and the Lakers. For the Clippers, they have also won 4 of their last 5, winning 4 straight entering Monday’s contest. In their last game, they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 118-110, at home. The two will square off Monday with tipoff set for 10:30 pm ET.
In this contest, the Boston Celtics come in as 1.5-point favorites despite playing on the road. The over/under for this game is set at 226 points.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, it is the Los Angeles Clippers who come in as the stronger team. They currently rank 7th in total offense, averaging 114.2 points per game versus the Celtics, who rank 13th, averaging 112.3 points per game. While the Clippers have outscored the Celtics, Boston does a nice job distributing the ball, averaging 26.4 assists per game (good for 6th in the league).
On the defensive side, it is all Boston. They currently rank 4th in scoring defense allowing just 106.6 points per game to opponents. They rank 3rd in opponents’ field goal percentage and 2nd in opponents’ 3-point field goal percentage, although they are just 20thin rebounds at 44.8 per game. For the Clippers, they rank 21st in scoring defense as they are allowing 113.4 points per game.
Boston Trying To Pick Up Big Road Win
At 41-26, coach Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics have put together a pretty solid season thus far. Still, at 17-16 on the road, they are certainly much better at home than on the road. Only a game and a half out of third place, though, they know that every win is an important one as the season starts to wind down.
Leading the way this season for the Celtics has been guard Kyrie Irving. Even though Kyrie has shown some frustrations at times, he has still been playing at a superstar level. On the season, he is averaging 23.5 points on 49.8% shooting and 42.2% shooting from behind the arc. He is also averaging 4.9 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game and 1.5 steals per game.
Aside from Irving, Al Horford (13.1 points, 6.8 rebounds), Gordon Hayward (11.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists), Jaylen Brown (12.7 points, 4.4 rebounds), Marcu Morris (14.2 points, 6 rebounds) and Jayson Tatum (16.1 points, 6.2 rebounds) have all had nice seasons.
Clippers Looking To Make It 5 In A Row
At 19-12 at home, the Clippers certainly feel comfortable at home, and they are hoping that their comfort can help them continue to climb in the West. 3 games is all that separates the Clippers from the 7th spot and the 3rd spot in the West; thus, a nice little push could ultimately put them in a much more advantageous position. They need to watch out, though, because 4 games is all that sits between them and being out of the playoffs (Sacramento sits 4 games back).
Leading the way for the Clippers this season has been guard Lou Williams. He is currently averaging 20.2 points on 42.4% shooting. He is also averaging 3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. Danilo Gallinari sits right behind him averaging 19.2 points, 6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Outside of Williams and Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (10 points, 2.9 rebounds) and Montrezi Harrell (16.1 points, 6.6 rebounds) have had really nice seasons. Similar to Boston, the Clippers are deep, with 5 other players averaging 7 points or more per game (Ivica Zubac, Garrett Temple, Landry Shamet, JaMychal Green, and Patrick Beverley.
Toss Up Goes Boston’s Way
To me, this one is a flip of a coin in terms of who wins. Both of these teams are relatively evenly matched with the Clippers getting a small advantage because of playing at home. Still, with a matchup this close in the NBA, I often lean towards star power and for me that goes to the Celtics. With Kyrie Irving leading the way, and a strong supporting cast in Tatum, Holford, Hayward, and Morris, the Celtics are a tough matchup for a lot of teams. It might be close, but for my money when betting on the NBA, I like the Celtics despite laying the 1.5 points.