NBA Betting – L.A. Clippers at Washington Wizards
Zack GarrisonNo comments
This evening, the Los Angeles Clippers (16-5) will be in Washington to play their second of three straight on the road against the Wizards (16-6) at the Verizon Center (7:00 p.m. Eastern).
The Wizards are one of the only teams that has played consistently good basketball all season. Washington got off to a 4-1 start to the year and have only lost two in a row once this season. The Wizards are currently riding a two-game winning streak and have taken six of their last seven. On Wednesday, they handed the Magic their 15th loss of the year (91-89 in Orlando).
Washington boasts a speedy team that moves the ball extremely well. The Wizards are second in the league team in assists, averaging 25.8 APG. Point guard John Wall leads the team with 10.4 AGP, just behind league-leader Rajon Rondo (10.8 APG).
The Wizards are also deadly from behind the arc, averaging 38% from three. But they don’t rely too heavily on the three, taking just 16.7 per game (27th in the NBA).
The one complaint coach Randy Wittman likely has is Washington’s play late in games. The Wizards have struggled to close out games this year, either giving up leads late or clinging to close victories. Despite being 11 games over .500, they are outscoring opponents by just 3.7 points per game. In comparison, the Atlanta Hawks, who are tied with Washington at the top of the Southeast Division, are outscoring teams by an average of 5.3.
On the other side of the floor, the Clippers come into the game having won nine straight. Like the Wizards, the Clippers are also lethal from behind the arc; the Clippers are the only team that shoots the three better than Washington (38.5%); they also take ten more three-point attempts per game than the Wizards. Blake Griffin (24.0 PPG) and Chris Paul (18.1 PPG, 9.9 APG, and 1.9 SPG) lead the Clippers attack.
Like the Wizards, the Clippers have played a lot of close games this year. Unlike the Wizards, L.A. has been happy with its performance late in games.
“We’ve learned how to close out games,” center DeAndre Jordan said. “And how to keep our mental focus throughout the games, even when things aren’t going our way. It’s different from last year and years before.”
Looking at the trends, the Clippers have won nine of the last ten games against the Wizards. While Washington has a great record, it has been the beneficiary of a weak schedule. The Wizards have played just five games against teams that are currently above .500, going 1-4. (The win was a 91-78 decision over Cleveland back on November 21). Look for the Clippers to continue that trend tonight and stretch their win streak to ten.