Despite having three starters sitting in street clothes, the Los Angeles Clippers took care of business on Tuesday night against the Indiana Pacers and won their fifth consecutive game. Los Angeles is now 14-4 SU/13-5 ATS since the All-Star break with a league-best 119.4 offensive rating and its defense has improved tremendously.
The Clippers have allowed their opponents to score just 109.4 points every 100 possessions over this 18-game run, and last night the Pacers managed just 1.066 points per possession despite Kawhi Leonard not being on the floor. Eighteen games is not a massive sample size, but the defensive play we have seen from Los Angeles is more like the team many of us expected heading into this season.
If this turnaround is legitimate for the Clippers, their path to a Western Conference title is very realistic. The Denver Nuggets got worse with the injury to Jamal Murray, the Clippers are 2-0 SU against the Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz have no real wing defender to handle the likes of Leonard. The real roadblock for this team is a Lakers squad, which they are 4-2 against over the last two seasons.
Dare I say that the Los Angeles Clippers should be the favorite to win the Western Conference?
Updated odds for every game can be found here.
Updated injury reports for every game can be found here.
*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
The Main Event
Dallas Mavericks (-2, 227) at Memphis Grizzlies
There is only a month left in the regular season and just 1.5 games separate these two teams in the Western Conference standings, making this a massive game in the race for these franchises in the play-in spots. Dallas is 1-3 SU and ATS in its last four games and two of those losses (to Houston and San Antonio) are flat-out inexcusable if you fancy yourself a contender. The Mavericks’ offense, specifically their shooting, has fallen off during this slide. They are averaging just 1.091 points per possession while hitting just 33.6% of their 3-point attempts. Their perimeter-oriented offense should be a good matchup for Memphis, which allows opponents to take 37.4% of their attempts from beyond the arc.