The Los Angeles Clippers (5-4) continued their slide down the standings with a 104-101 defeat to the Miami Heat. That’s the Clippers’ fourth loss in their last five games, all of which have been at Staples Center. Blake Griffin came to play against the Heat with 23 points, while Lou Williams added 22 points off the bench. However, they didn’t get much help, especially not from the struggling Danilo Gallinari, who lasted just 13 minutes before suffering a hip injury and did not return.
As for the San Antonio Spurs (6-4), they are getting back to winning ways after a four-game skid. They made short work of the Phoenix Suns last time out as they cruised to a 112-95 home win, their second in a row. LaMarcus Aldridge led seven Spurs in double-figures with 21 points and 9 rebounds. Four of those seven Spurs with ten or more points came off the bench as San Antonio’s reserves delivered 51 points.
Three keys to the game
San Antonio’s depth – The Spurs are once again doing their thing of using their depth to grind out wins even with the continued absence of Kawhi Leonard. Even the likes of Bryn Forbes are now starting to contribute. With all the Spurs’ weapons at their disposal, they will be difficult to stop.
Help for Blake – The Clippers are in a completely different boat compared to the Spurs. Griffin is basically carrying this team, and he’s not getting the help he needs offensively. Gallinari has been a major disappointment thus far and his absence in this game could exacerbate the team’s already concerning issues.
Home-court advantage – The Spurs have historically been hard to beat at home, and that’s proving to be the case once again this season. They are 4-1 at the AT&T Center with their only loss coming against the Golden State Warriors.
Matchup to watch
Blake Griffin vs LaMarcus Aldridge – The two All-Star big men are obviously the main men for their respective teams. They’re basically automatic 20-point scorers every time they step onto the court. It’ll be quite a treat to see them going up against one another even though their teammates will ultimately decide the outcome of this game.
Clippers projected starting lineup
PG – Patrick Beverley | SG – Austin Rivers | SF – Wes Johnson | PF – Blake Griffin | C – DeAndre Jordan
Spurs projected starting lineup
PG – Patty Mills | SG – Danny Green | SF – Kyle Anderson | PF – LaMarcus Aldridge | C – Pau Gasol
A return to the starting lineup has re-energized Patty Mills. The Aussie point guard has put up 17 points, 4 assists, and at least 3 3-pointers in each of his last two games after taking over from Dejounte Murray against Golden State. Mills will have the potential to post another impressive line against a Clippers team that’s been badly burned by opposing point guards recently.
It’s hard not to pick against the Spurs. They’re clearly the in-form team and they’ll be at home, so they should be a good bet to cover the 3.5-point spread as favorites.
The Spurs make it three wins in a row with a 101-95 home win over the Clippers.
This game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest and Fox Sports Prime Ticket. Tip-off at AT&T Center will be at 8:30 pm Eastern.
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