Washington Wizards vs. Los Angeles Clippers – NBA, February 23, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| February 23, 2021 9:40 am PDT

The Wizards are sitting at the foot of the Southeast Division, but they do have two to three games in hand over their rivals. If they were to win them, they would undoubtedly be in the mix going into the later part of the season. The Clippers are hanging on to the Jazz’s coattails in the Western Conference, and they know that they can’t afford a slip-up tonight, making this a crucial match for both teams.

The Clippers have won the last four in a row against the Wizards, and they have won the previous 13 games played in Los Angeles. You have to go back to 2008 to find the last time that the Wizards won on the road against the Clippers, so the odds are stacked against them here.

LA is averaging eight more points per game than the Wizards over their previous ten meetings. This has predominantly been down to the Clippers starting these games much better as they have had an average lead of nine points at the halftime break. If the Wizards are going to stand any chance of breaking this long-running losing streak, they will have to defend much better as they are allowing the Clippers to make 51% of their field goal attempts.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Wizards vs. Clippers betting prediction.

Wizards vs. Clippers Odds

Wizards +9.5-110
Clippers -9.5-110
Wizards To Win+400
Clippers To Win-450
Over 235.5-110
Under 235.5-110

You would have to say that the bookmakers have done an excellent job pricing this matchup as the spread and the points total both look spot on. However, I like a challenge, and if picking winners were easy, everyone would be doing it.

Wizards Analysis

The Wizards are on their best run of form of the season, having won their previous five games in a row. What’s even more impressive about that run is they have been some quality opposition. The run started by beating the Celtics, then the Rockets, the Nuggets, the Trail Blazers, and they beat the Clipper’s close rivals, the Lakers, last time out. The Wizards fought back from being 14 points down at halftime to claim a three-point win in overtime.

On the road, they have a slightly negative record of 6-8 from their 14 away fixtures this season. However, they have won their last three games in a row, which they haven’t managed to do all season.

Here are the latest betting trends for Washington:

  • They have won their last five games in a row against the spread.
  • Washington is 1-6 in their previous seven matches against the Clippers.
  • The Wizards have a poor record against the Clippers and have only won five of their last 20 games against them.
  • Five of their previous six games on the road have gone under the betting total.
  • Their last seven visits to the Staples Center have seen the points total go over.
  • They have won four of their previous five games against the spread when taking on teams from the Western Conference.
  • Washington is 3-6 in their last nine matches against teams based in the Pacific Division.

The above data highlights what fantastic form the Wizards are in and what a poor record against the Clippers they have.

The Wizards have a good offense that has rebounded well at times this season. They do this by setting their plays up and position their players around the basket, giving them the best chance to make plenty of rebounds. However, this does mean that they don’t tend to make many three-pointers.

Their attack hasn’t performed well on the road, though, and is averaging six fewer points per game.

They have a terrible defense that is conceding 119 points per game on average. This makes them the second-worst defense in the NBA right now. This has made them take a slightly cautious approach on the road, which has benefited their defense by conceding four fewer points per game. However, this hasn’t worked for them, as scoring six fewer points means they are minus two points per game by taking this approach.

They need to show better discipline in defense and start getting closer to their opponents and make more blocks. They need to do this in a way that doesn’t overstep the mark either, as they have given away the most personal fouls in the league this season.

Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook have led the way for the Wizards this season, and they put in a mesmerizing display against the Lakers last time out that even Merlin would have struggled to produce!

The Wizards will be without Smith and Bryant for tonight’s matchup.

Clippers Analysis

The Clippers have stuttered slightly recently by losing two of their previous three games. However, the losses did come against the Jazz and the Nets, who are playing some great basketball right now. It does add some pressure on tonight’s game for them as they know they cannot fall any further behind the Jazz if they are to catch them.

They have a good record at home, having won 11 and lost six of their 17 home games this season. Their form has dipped at home, though, as they have lost four of their last seven games, so this is a concern for them.

Here are the latest betting trends for Los Angeles:

  • The Clippers have won four and lost two of their previous six games against the spread.
  • Eight of their last nine games against the Wizards have gone over the betting total.
  • LA has a record of 14-6 in their previous 20 matches.
  • The total has gone over in four of their last five games against teams from the East Coast.
  • They have only lost one of their previous seven games against the spread when playing against teams in the Southeast Division.

The Clippers matches have tended to be high-scoring, entertaining encounters this season. The trends above also tell how well they have played throughout the season.

The Clippers have a fantastic offense that is very accurate at shooting, especially from deep, where they have the NBA’s best success rate this season. Paul George has been excellent in this department this season, as he is every season. His recent return to the team is a welcome one, given their slight decline in form, but he is still being restricted to a certain number of minutes each game, so he isn’t entirely out of the woods yet.

George missed several games with a bone injury in his foot but is slowly working his way back to full fitness.

If there were a slight criticism to be made, it would be that they would make more offensive rebounds, but if they continue to shoot as they are, that won’t become a problem.

They control the pace of the match very well, and their game management is superb. Kawhi Leonard has been instrumental in helping with this, and he has also only just returned from injury.

Their defense is reliable, but again they could improve on their rebounding stats. This has become more of an issue against the top teams and needs resolving as we head into the playoffs. Their rebounding game is by no means terrible, but it isn’t great either.

The Clippers have no reported absentees for tonight.

Wizards vs. Clippers Pick

Pick
  • Wizards +9.5
    -110

The Clippers haven’t quite hit the ground running since George and Leonard’s return, and they still appear to be finding their way as they return from their respected injuries. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t matter too much against the Wizards as they seem to have a spell on them recently, especially in LA. However, Washington is playing the best basketball of their season right now, and they have been imposing against some quality opposition recently. I will therefore take them with the handicap to win this one.

For you daredevils out there, I also believe it could be worth having a small tipple on them to win this one outright.

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