LA Clippers at Washington Wizards
Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 6:00 PM (Capital One Center)
Clippers -8; Total 242 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
One of the best teams in the NBA will face one of the worst when the LA Clippers (16-7) travel to Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. to face the Washington Wizards (7-14). However, these two teams might not be much different on Sunday because the Clippers are playing on the road instead of at home.
It has become abundantly clear that the Clippers simply aren’t the same team on the road that they are at home. While being one of the best teams in the league at Staples Center, the Clippers are just 3-6 on the road and one of those road wins was a narrow 121-119 victory at Memphis. What might be most interesting is that fact that the Wizards have a better record at home than the Clippers do on the road, which might not be expected from teams with the records that LA and Washington have.
The Clippers’ most recent game against Milwaukee showed their struggles on the road. Not only did they lose 119-91, they trailed 30-15 after the first quarter and were behind by as many as 41 in the game. The game was so bad, head coach Doc Rivers pulled his main players off the floor with more than nine minutes left in the game. Kawhi Leonard led the team in scoring with 17 points, well below his average of 24.5 points per game, while Ivica Zubac had a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Paul George added 13 points with seven rebounds, Montrezl Harrell scored 11 points with seven rebounds, and Lou Williams scored 11 points.
In addition to Leonard’s 24.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, George averages 22.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Williams and Harrell come off the bench to score 20.7 and 18.7 points respectively with Williams dishing out 6.2 assists per game and Harrell grabbing 8.0 rebounds per game. Landry Shamet, who remains out with his ankle sprain, scores 9.1 points per game.
Washington owns the league’s worst defense, but that defense has been better as of late. Of course, it was just one week ago that Clippers scored 150 points against Washington at Staples Center, and the Wizards followed by allowing the offensively-challenged Orlando Magic to score 127. But Washington allowed just 113 points to Philadelphia, defeating the 76ers 119-113 on Thursday, and followed by allowing just 112 to Miami in a 112-103 loss on Friday. Saying just 113 and 112 might sound strange, but when the Wizards allow 121.9 points per game on average, 113 and 112 points allowed is a great feat, especially against such quality teams.
In the loss to Miami, Bradley Beal led his team in scoring for the 16th time this season with 23 points with eight assists, while Moritz Wagner added 19 points and nine rebounds. Davis Bertrans came off the bench for a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, Ish Smith scored 15 points with eight rebounds, and Rui Hachimura scored 14 points with six rebounds. But offense is never the problem for Washington, which ranks third in the NBA averaging 118.1 points per game. The Wizards’ league-worst defense, in a better than average performance, allowed three different players to score 22 or more points, were out-rebounded 50-39, and Jimmy Butler had a triple-double with 28 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists to make the difference in the game.
Beal ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring with 28.3 points per game and he also has 7.0 assists per game. Bertrans adds 14.4 points per game, while Hachimura scores 14.1 points, and Wagner scores 12.0 points per game. However, the Wizards will be without Isaiah Thomas due to a calf injury and Thomas Bryant with a stress reaction in his right foot. Isaiah Thomas averages 12.6 points per game while Bryant averages 13.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.
The Clippers' big loss to Milwaukee makes this game a bit tougher to pick than it would have been otherwise. In games after losses this season, LA is 6-1 and is winning those games by an average of 16.8 points per game. It makes sense that the Clippers would respond well after the loss. However, LA has also only played one road game after a loss, and unsurprisingly, that game was a 132-127 loss at New Orleans, which accounts for the Clippers lone losing streak of the season.
On top of that, Washington is 12-8-1 against the spread on the season and the Clippers are just 2-7 against the spread on the road. The Clippers may well win this game, but the spread is too big. Take the Wizards plus the eight points and watch them cover the spread for the third game in a row.