After an expressive loss at Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz, the Clippers host the undefeated San Antonio Spurs in a Western Conference showdown.
Kawhi Leonard missed yesterday’s game due to load management. The forward has a chronic problem in his quad, which makes him sit determined number of games through the regular season. However, he’s ready to take on the court tonight against the team that gave him his first NBA championship. Due to Paul George’s absence from the team in the first ten games, Leonard is a key piece in Doc Rivers system, as they lose an All NBA 1st Defensive Team, as well as their primary scorer, when load managing. They will face a Spurs squad that didn’t lose yet this regular season, but all the teams they’ve faced so far are struggling to get results. If they impose their defensive game plan, a win is the most likely thing to occur at the Staples Center tonight.
Gregg Popovich’s team is still yet to lose a game. Much is said throughout the offseason, but the truth is that the coach will get his team playing the right way along a winning record. The Spurs don’t miss the playoffs in 22 years, an incredible feat from Popovich, showing a different level of consistency regarding the coaching staff and the organization. Don’t ever count the Spurs out. DeMar DeRozan after a rough start in his first two games, came to life in the win against Portland. He scored 27 points to go with 7 rebounds, an indicator that doesn’t bode well for the opposing teams. Dejounte Murray is another player who came back from an injury riddled year, and he’s showing promising signs. Although in limited minutes, the 6-4 guard is an excellent defender and could create several mismatches for Patrick Beverley and Landry Shamet.
Even though the Spurs remain unbeatable this season, the Clippers have a good chance of breaking that streak. Playing at home and with Leonard back, I consider them as favorites to cover the handicap.
Los Angeles Clippers -4.5 @1.83
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