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The Los Angeles Clippers (37-17; 29-25 ATS) will wrap up their four-game road trip on Thursday night when they take on the Boston Celtics (37-16; 31-20-2 ATS) at TD Garden. They will also close down the regular-season series with the Celtics after beating them 107-104 in overtime as 7.5-point home favorites on November 20, 2019. The Clippers have won four straight games against the Celtics including their previous two encounters at TD Garden.
LA is without Patrick Beverley (groin), while Boston misses Robert Williams (hip). All other guys are ready to go.
The Celtics opened as slight 1.5-point favorites at BetOnline, with a total of 227.
What’s at Stake?
The Clippers are coming to Boston as No. 3 seed in the West, trailing one game behind the Nuggets and four games behind the Lakers, while they are 1.5 games ahead of the fourth-seeded Jazz. The Celtics are No. 3 seed in the East, two games ahead of the fourth-seeded Heat and 2.5 games behind the second-seeded Raptors.
After a horrible 142-115 defeat in Minnesota and a 133-92 victory in Cleveland, the Clippers lost at the Philadelphia 76ers 110-103 this past Tuesday. On the other side, the Celtics are coming off a 116-105 defeat at the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, putting an end to their seven-game winning streak.
This will be the clash of two quite similar teams, so it’s no strange their first duel of the season went in overtime. Both Clippers and Celtics play without a proper PF, at least in their starting lineups. However, the Clippers love to push the ball in transition, playing at the eighth-fastest pace in the league with 102.2 possessions per 48 minutes. On the other side, the Celtics prefer a slightly slower tempo, averaging 99.4 possessions per 48 minutes (17th in the league).
In their first meeting of the season, both teams played tough defense. The Clippers shot 41.9% from the field and 37.8% from beyond the arc, while the Celtics made only 39.4% of their field goals and 26.7% of their 3-pointers. We should see more of the same on Thursday, as LA and Boston each rank among the top six teams defensively.
The Clippers surrender 107.1 points per 100 possessions (6th in the NBA) on 43.7% shooting from the field (3rd), while the Celtics allow 106.2 points per 100 possessions (4th) on 44.2% shooting from the field (also 4th). On the other side of the ball, the Clippers tally 112.9 points per 100 possessions (6th) on 46.4% shooting from the field (tied-10th), while the Celtics score 113.1 points per 100 possessions (5th) on 46.3% shooting from the field (13th).
On one side, we’ll see Kawhi Leonard (27.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 5.3 APG) and Paul George (22.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG). On the other, Jayson Tatum (22.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG) and Kemba Walker (21.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG) will lead the way for the Celtics. Both teams possess great depth, so we expect to see a thrilling battle.
I just cannot separate these two foes, so consider taking any team to win by five or fewer points at +175 odds with 5Dimes. There’s no easy money in this game, and it could easily go either way. Hereof, I would rather go with a small winning margin instead of betting on one of two teams to win. You can also ignore a paltry spread and take the money line odds if you fancy one of these teams. The Clippers are 6-2 SU and ATS in their last eight meetings with the Celtics and are 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS in their previous eight visits to TD Garden.
When it comes to the totals, the over has hit in four of the last five meetings between LA and Boston. Also, the over is 4-1 in their previous five encounters at TD Garden. I don’t feel comfortable with the totals, and the reason is quite simple. LA and Boston are terrific on both sides of the ball, and a lot will depend on their shooting percentages. If they catch the rhythm, we can get a high-scoring affair, but in general, this should be a clash with plenty of contested shots.
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