Indiana Pacers at Los Angeles Clippers
Two of the hottest teams in the NBA square off Sunday when the Indiana Pacers visit the Los Angeles Clippers. The Pacers have won six straight games and boast the league’s top record with a franchise-best 15-1 start while the Clippers have won four straight games and are 8-1 at home. Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul said Saturday that he is unsure if he will be able to play as he also missed Friday’s victory over Sacramento with a hamstring injury.
The Pacers have been the league’s top team early in the season but Clippers coach Doc Rivers is not going along with the notion that Indiana has closed the gap on the Miami Heat. “There’s only one elite team in the NBA right now and that’s Miami. That’s it,” Rivers said. “Everybody else is trying to get there. Indiana is playing great, but Miami is the only elite team in the NBA.” The Pacers are beginning a five-game trip that also includes visits to Portland, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, FSN Indiana, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE PACERS (15-1): Indiana has allowed just 147 total points in its last two victories and is giving up an average of 84.5 during its six-game winning streak. The Pacers will be challenged on the road swing with four of the top teams in the Western Conference on the docket but certainly see it as an opportunity to further enhance their growing reputation. “Forgetting the string of games we have ahead, our team expects to win every time we step into a building, no matter who we’re playing or where we’re playing,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “If we have that same mindset, we have a chance to have a great trip.”
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (12-5): Center DeAndre Jordan and guard Jamal Crawford put together masterful performances on Friday with Jordan blocking a career-best nine shots to go with 10 points and 15 rebounds and Crawford doing a solid Paul impersonation with 31 points and 11 assists. Jordan’s name was floated as possible compensation while Rivers was considering leaving the Celtics to become Los Angeles coach and he made it known he wanted Jordan on the roster before he accepted the Clippers’ position. “D.J. had a Bill Russell night,” Rivers said after the Sacramento game. “He really did with nine blocks and the rebounds. It’s amazing what a defender can do for your team who just buys into it and he’s bought in 100 percent.”
* Under is 12-4-1 in the last 17 meetings.
* Favorite is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Pacers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games.
* Clippers are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 vs. NBA Central.
1. The teams split two meetings last season with the home squad prevailing in each instance.
2. Indiana leads the league in scoring defense (85.6) and field-goal percentage defense (38.7).
3. Clippers G J.J. Redick (wrist) is questionable after leaving Friday’s game against Sacramento.