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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Toronto Raptors
NBA: Wednesday, December 10, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, 7:00 PM ET
The Los Angeles Clippers continue their six-game road trip, and the next stop is in Toronto. After a tough loss in Milwaukee and a couple of easy wins in Washington and Indiana, the Clippers will take on the Toronto Raptors for the second and final time this regular season. Back on November 11, the Clippers outlasted the Raptors 98-88 as 9.5 points favorites. It was their third win over Toronto in the last five head-to-head duels.
The Raptors are coming off a 93-92 victory at the Chicago Bulls this past Monday to snap a three-game slide. They will open a three-game homestand against the Clippers, and it will be interesting to see how the Raptors’ fans will welcome Kawhi Leonard.
The Clippers dominated the Pacers on the back of Paul George’s tremendous performanceKawhi Leonard missed the clash with the Indiana Pacers on Monday night due to load management, but Paul George was ready to destroy his former team. George, who started his career with the Pacers and became an All-Star in Indianapolis, accounted for 36 points, nine rebounds, and five assists while shooting 7-for-16 from beyond the 3-point line. Montrezl Harrell added 26 points and eight rebounds off the bench, and the Clippers easily defeated the Pacers 110-99 as 3-point road dogs.
"Given the circumstances, I always want to win here," Paul George said. "And I always enjoy playing here. You put those two together and I'm going to compete on every possession to try to get a win."
The Clippers have been playing very well lately, winning 11 of their last 13 games overall. Those two losses have come on the road against the Bucks 119-91 and the Spurs 107-97. The Clippers score 111.2 points per 100 possessions (7th in the league) on 45.6% shooting from the field (12th), allowing 104.6 points in a return (8th) on 42.8% shooting from the field (3rd). Kawhi Leonard (25.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 5.2 APG) and Paul George (23.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG) lead the way for the Clippers, while Lou Williams (20.0 PPG, 6.2 APG) and Montrezl Harrell (19.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG) are doing a great job coming off the bench. The Clippers will miss Landry Shamet (ankle) and JaMychal Green (tailbone) against the Raptors.
The Raptors rallied in the fourth quarter to barely outlast the BullsThe Raptors entered Monday night’s clash with the Bulls on a three-game losing streak. It looked like the Raptors’ slide will continue in Chicago, as they trailed by eight points with eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter. However, the Raptors made a 9-0 run in the next four minutes to upheave things and were focused down the stretch to avoid an upset. Kyle Lowry scored a go-ahead basket with 50.9 seconds left on the clock, and the Raptors’ stout defense did a great job until the end of the game. Toronto shot only 37.8% from the field and 24.1% from beyond the arc, but the Raptors posted nine rebounds more than the Bulls (54-45). Now, the reigning champions will welcome their hero on Wednesday.
"I would imagine that our fans are going to give Kawhi an amazing ovation," coach Nick Nurse said. "If they give him one-fifteenth of what they gave us on opening night, it's still going to be something. It was really amazing the night we got ours."
The Raptors play surprisingly well after Kawhi Leonard’s departure. They score 109.7 points per 100 possessions (11th in the league) on 45.3% shooting from the field (15th), surrendering 103.4 points in a return (6th) on 41.4% shooting from the field (2nd). Pascal Siakam is Toronto’s best player this season. He’s averaging 24.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while making 45.8% of his field goals. Kyle Lowry is tallying 20.2 points and 6.9 assists per contest, while Fred VanVleet is adding 18.0 points and 7.0 dimes a night. The Raptors missed VanVleet (knee) against the Bulls, and he’s questionable for the clash against the Clippers.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Oddsshark.com, are: LA Clippers:
- 4-1 ATS in the last five games overall
- 6-2 ATS in the last eight games against the Eastern Conference
- 0-4 ATS in the last four games overall
- 4-8 ATS in the last 12 home games against the Western Conference
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Clippers are arguably in a better form than the Raptors at the moment. Toronto showed some offensive flaws in its previous four games, and it could be a big problem against the Clippers’ defense. Paul George dominated his former team on Monday, so I expect the same thing by Kawhi Leonard in this one. Kawhi will get his championship ring at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday and will be fired up to show his class in Canada once more. This clash will be a joy to watch, as both teams play tough defense, and I think the Clippers have more offensive firepower than the Raptors. Hereof, give me the visitors and points.
Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers -1.5 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
The Clippers and Raptors are among the best defensive teams in the league. While the Raptors are 2nd in the league in opponent field-goal percentage, the Clippers are right behind them. Nick Nurse will certainly have a special plan for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George who are both elite defensive stoppers. And, the Clippers can count on a few more players who can be defensive beasts. I expect the Raptors to slow down the tempo, as the Clippers love to push the ball in transition, especially when Lou Williams is on the floor. Therefore, I’m backing the under in this one. Four of the last five meetings between the Clippers and Raptors went in the under.
Prediction: Under 219.5 points (-110)