Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Clippers – NBA, February 5, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| February 5, 2021 7:05 am PDT

These teams find themselves outside of the playoff spots in the Western Conference and fourth in their respected divisions.

Third, in the West, take on fourth in the East in this cross-conference matchup, and both will be desperate to win for very different reasons. The Celtics are beginning to fall behind the top three in the Eastern Conference, and they cannot afford to fall further behind, so a win is crucial here. However, a victory for the Clippers could see them jump straight to the top of the West, so they have their own added incentive.

Although the Clippers have won four of the last five meetings between these two, things have been very tight between them recently as they have tied at the end of regular time in their previous two games. They both went on to win one of those games each, and it was then Celtics that won the most recent matchup. With that said, they may struggle to replicate that result tonight, given the fact that they have only won once on their last eight visits to the Staples Center.

Over the last ten games between them, the Celtics have averaged 114 points, despite a field goal percentage of just 42%. This suggests to me that they have seen the lions share of possession during those games.

Here are the game odds, my team analysis, and betting prediction.

Celtics vs. Clippers Odds

Celtics (+5.5) -110
Clippers (-5.5) -110
Celtics To Win +205
Clippers To Win -200
Over 221 Points -110
Under 221 Points -110

The spread seems to be based on the fact that over the last ten meetings between these two, the Clippers have averaged six more points than the Celtics. However, the total points have not as their combined average over those ten games is 234, way more than what’s set for this game.

Celtics Preview

The Celtics have lacked consistency of late, winning three and losing three of their previous six games, so it’s probably not the best time for them to face the Clippers.

They have a split record of 6-6 from their 12 games on the road this season. They have alternated defeats with wins in their previous five road trips, which again highlights their inconsistencies.

Here are the latest betting trends for Boston:

Bet Type Trend
ATS They have won four of their last six games.
Total Four of their previous five games have gone under the betting total.
SU The Celtics have only won three of their last nine games.
ATS They have lost six of the previous nine matches against the Clippers.
ATS On the road, they have only won two of their last six games.
Total The total has gone under in eight of their previous 11 games against teams from the Western Conference.
ATS Boston is 6-1 in their last seven games against opponents in the Pacific Division.

The trends above show that the Celtics have played out some low scoring games as of late. It also shows that they face an uphill task against the Clippers.

Although the Celtics have been involved in low scoring games, their offense isn’t too bad. They have shot reasonably well this season, and their rebounding has been decent at times.

What they haven’t done well is hold on to the ball and use it more effectively. This has been the one area that they have previously dominated against the Clippers, so it seems worrying for them not to have that in their arsenal this time.

They play a very physical, high pressing game in defense, which has undoubtedly been effective this season. This has resulted in an increased number of steals this season, but that isn’t helpful if you aren’t using the ball well.

Marcus Smart has been smart by name and smart by nature in this department, adding many steals to his team’s total. However, he will be missing in this game, and the Celtics haven’t fared too well without him so far.

The Celtics have other injuries piling up also as Langford has been ruled out with a wrist injury, and Brown and Pritchard are questionable to play. The excellent news is Walker is likely to return following his knee injury.

Clippers Preview

The Clippers are on a roll after winning four of their previous five games. Their only small hiccup came in a four-point loss (124-120) to the Nets. Although when you look at the teams they have played against, the Nets were the only real test they had.

In LA, the Clippers have been formidable, winning eight of their ten games this season. This includes winning the last six in a row.

Here are the latest betting trends for Los Angeles:

Bet Type Trend
ATS The Clippers have won four of their last five games.
SU LA is 11-2 in their previous 13 games.
Total Five of their last six games against Boston has gone over the betting total.
Total Their last five matches against teams in the Atlantic Division have all gone over the points total.
Total The total has gone over in six of their last nine games played at home on a Friday.

This shows what a dominant force the Clippers are right now. It also shows that they have been involved in many high scoring games.

The Clippers have been brilliant in attack this season, and they can hurt you from all over the court. If they improved upon their relatively average offensive rebounding figures, they would be unstoppable.

They have a field goal percentage of 48% and are shooting at 42% from three-point range, frightening figures to face. You can’t try and rough them up either, as they have an 84% strike rate from the free-throw line and will punish you.

Paul George has been deadly from range this season, just as he was last time out against the Cavs.

George and Kahwi Leonard combined for 60 points in that win against Cleveland, showing what a frightening proposition they are together. I like Leonard because, despite all the talent and flair he has, he also works extremely hard and is a real team player.

Unlike the Celtics, they hold onto the ball and use it much more efficiently, which is why they make so few turnovers each game.

They also have an excellent defense that concedes, on average, 107 points. Their best defensive weapon is their offense. Yes, that’s right, their offense. They spend so much time with the ball down the other end of the court that their opponents don’t get a sniff in around the other end.

The Clippers only have one absentee tonight, and that is Beverley, who is out for a while.

Celtics vs. Clippers Betting Pick

So how do the Celtics stop the Clippers from cutting them down? My honest answer is they can’t. Not how the Clippers are playing, added to the mix the Celtic’s injury woes currently. Therefore, I see no alternative but to take the Clippers minus the handicap.

Pick
  • Clippers (-5.5)
    -110

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