Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs (-5.5, 199)
It's starting to look as though the road to the NBA Finals will go through San Antonio, and the Los Angeles Clippers will get a taste of what that entails when they travel to face the Spurs on Friday. San Antonio sits atop the Western Conference with a 1 1/2-game cushion over Oklahoma City in large part because of a 31-4 mark at home, where the Spurs have won six straight.
The Clippers have had the Spurs' number lately, winning their last three games in San Antonio and holding a 2-1 edge in the season series. They could use a win to preserve their No. 3 spot in the West, as Denver is only a 1/2 game behind Los Angeles and Memphis is 1 1/2 back. A win would also give the Clippers a franchise record, surpassing their 49 victories in 1974-75.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), Fox Sports Southwest (San Antonio)
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (49-23): Los Angeles is enjoying the best season in franchise history and its magic number to clinch its first division title is two, but the Clippers have been up and down a bit lately. They're coming off a 105-91 win at New Orleans but are just 6-5 in their last 11 after winning eight of their previous nine. "It's all about improving throughout the season," coach Vinny Del Negro told the team's website. "I expect a lot from this team, but more importantly they expect a lot from themselves. We just want to play as consistently as possible."
ABOUT THE SPURS (54-17): If San Antonio is going to clinch the top seed in the playoffs, it won't come easily. Of the Spurs' remaining 12 games, eight are against teams in position to make the playoffs. "We've got some really tough games this part of the schedule down the stretch here," veteran forward Tim Duncan told reporters. "It's going to be tough for us, so we need to win every one we can get." They've had to scratch and claw to win two of their last three with an overtime victory over Utah and a 100-99 win over Denver sandwiched around a one-point loss at Houston.
* Clippers are 0-5 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning record.
* Spurs are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Over is 4-1 in Clippers’ last five overall.
* Underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
1. Duncan is averaging 20 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in March.
2. Clippers C DeAndre Jordan is shooting 83.9 percent (47-for-56) from the field in the month of March. He has made 15 consecutive field goals.
3. Spurs PG Tony Parker, who is questionable with a sprained finger, has scored in double figures in a career-high 53 consecutive games.