Heading into the February 13th Clippers at Celtics free pick, it would be easy to think that L.A. lollygags through this one. The Clippers are on the road for their 4th straight game East of the Mississippi with the all-star break looming. Sure both teams would like a win, but it would be easy to see Los Angeles having a ‘last day of school’ approach to this meeting.
Boston is still just a -1.5 favorite on Thursday night. Early number have about just 53% of the public liking the C’s at home in this one though. Boston had won 7 in a row before falling in Houston on Tuesday and the Celtics look like a very favorable play here – on paper.
L.A. In a Road Rut?
L.A. will be on the road for their 4th straight game heading into the February 13th Clippers at Celtics free pick. They’ve already suffered losses to Minnesota and Philadelphia this stretch while throttling Cleveland. The 115-142 defeat to the Timberwolves was especially brutal considering LAC was a -10 favorite in that game.
The Clippers had a very tough time defending the back court in the losses to the Wolves and Sixers. Jordan McLaughlin and Malik Beasley combined for 47 points for Minnesota as did Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson for Philly. Boston definitely has the back court to continue that trend.
Do the Celtics also have the defense to stop the red hot Kawhi Leonard? Boston ranks top 5 defensively vs. the small forward and 19th against the SG spot. Leonard may be transcending matchups right now though with six 30+ point games in his last 10. Paul George was held to 11 vs. the Sixers and L.A. will also likely be without Patrick Beverley for the 4th straight game.
Boston Tries to Avoid a Second Straight L
The Celtics had put together a nice little run with wins in 7 straight, and they needed to as a way to keep pace with the red hot Bucks and Raptors in the East. Boston hit a bit of a hiccup their last time out though, losing 105-116 in Houston albeit as +2.5 underdogs.
With the Clippers back court defensive struggles as of late, look for a big night from Kemba Walker and/or Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward. Walker has just one 16+ point game in his last 5 though and Smart hasn’t scored in double figures since returning from a thigh injury. Boston could also be a man down in this one if they decide to sit Jaylen Brown (ankle/calf) before the all-star break. Brown has hit for 20+ in 6 of 10 and would be a big boost.
February 13th Clippers at Celtics Free Pick
The Celtics do take a bit of a blow if Brown cannot go on Thursday. They are still a very deep team though and facing a Clippers team that has been on the road for the last week. LA is anxious for the break, Boston wants to get a win to avoid to consecutive losses heading into the all-star layout. The -1.5 point spread seems on the light side, but is also incredible value for a team that’s 22-5 at TD Garden this season.
Pick: Boston Celtics -1.5