NBA Betting – Los Angeles Clippers at Miami Heat
Zack GarrisonNo comments
November has been an up-and-down month for the Miami Heat (6-5). They have posted great wins (on the road against Dallas and at home against Toronto) and head-scratching losses (at home to both Minnesota and Indiana). At 5-5 overall for the month, the good and the bad have cancelled each other out. Tonight, the Heat will face an equally inconsistent team as the Los Angeles Clippers (6-4) come to town (8:00 p.m. Eastern).
Part of Miami’s inconsistency can be attributed to the injury bug. Most Heat fans knew it was only a matter of time before Dwyane Wade came up hobbled. The aging point guard has missed Miami’s last three with a hamstring injury and is questionable to play tonight. Miami is 1-2 over that stretch.
Wade knows that the best thing for him – and the long-term interests of the team – is to play it safe.
“It’s just not smart for me to try and push it,” said Wade last Friday. “I’ll be back soon enough.”
Without Wade, the Heat lose a lot of offensive production. He leads the team in assists per game (6.4), and is second in points per game behind Chris Bosh (19.8).
Bosh is doing his best to carry the load without Wade, averaging just shy of 20 points per game and 8.7 rebounds on the year. And Mario Chalmers, who is averaging just 13.5 points per game on the season, has made a valiant effort to replace the offense that Wade took with him to the bench; in the three games that Wade has missed, Chalmers has averaged 21 points per game. Unsurprisingly, though, the Heat have not been able to score at the same rate without their point guard; they have averaged just 94 points per game over the last three, compared to 97.5 for the year.
On the other side, Clippers coach Doc Rivers is concerned about his team’s performance against physical teams. His concerns were on full display on Monday against the Bulls when the Clippers were bullied into a 105-89 loss. DeAndre Jordan has done his part to make the Clippers more physical; the 6’11” center leads the league in rebounds (12.3) and he pulled down 17 against Chicago and 11 in L.A.’s last game against Orlando (a 114-90 win). As usual, Blake Griffin (23.1 PPG) and Chris Paul (9.8 APG) are leading the charge for the Clippers on offense. But they will have to be on their game tonight against a Heat defense that surrenders the sixth fewest points in the league.
Trend-wise, the Clippers and Heat have been fairly even of late. In the last ten, the Clippers have a narrow 6-4 lead. However, that two-game difference looks a little more impressive when you recall that those wins came against the LeBron version of the Heat. If Wade can’t go – which appears the more likely scenario at this point – the Clippers should make it seven of the last eleven.