San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Clippers (+2, 202)
The Los Angeles Clippers play at home on Monday for the first time in 15 days - but the sight of the San Antonio Spurs isn’t exactly the best welcome-home gift. San Antonio swept the Clippers out of last season’s playoffs in the second round and has won four consecutive games as it enters this season’s first meeting between the clubs. Los Angeles went 4-3 on a seven-game road trip and has won eight of 10 at home.
The Spurs have been one of the best teams in the NBA over the first quarter of the season and the Clippers are anxious to see where they rank. “It’s a test, a good test,” forward Blake Griffin said after the final game of the road trip. “To be away for a long period of time and come home and play a top-notch team – a team that always executes and plays the right way – so that’s why I think it will be a good test for us.” Future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan has been sensational for San Antonio, which is 10-2 on the road.
LINE: Los Angeles opened +2 and has moved as high as +2.5. The total opened at 201 and has moved to 202.5 at some markets.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, KENS (San Antonio), Prime Ticket (Los Angeles)
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Spurs (-13.5) - Clippers (-12.0) + Home Court (-3.0) = Clippers -1.5
ABOUT THE SPURS (19-4, 12-11 ATS): Duncan has recorded three consecutive double-doubles and four in a six-game span after starting the season slowly. He is averaging 17 points and 12.7 rebounds during the stretch, which began with an epic 23-point, 21-rebound outing against Atlanta on Dec. 2. “The first 20 games, it’s not really that hard to do much better,” Duncan said after producing 22 points and 12 boards in Saturday’s victory over the Utah Jazz. “I’m still not shooting the ball well but I’m trying to play hard and find ways to contribute.”
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (16-9, 14-11 ATS): Point guard Chris Paul is coming off a 38-point, 12-assist explosion in Saturday’s victory over the Washington Wizards and will attempt to carry over the success against the Spurs. Paul struggled against San Antonio last season, averaging just 11.8 points on 43.2 percent shooting. Los Angeles is also hoping Griffin - who averaged 18.3 points and 9.3 rebounds against the Spurs last season - can shake a funk that has seen him reach 20 points just once over the last six games.
* Under is 20-5-1 in the last 26 meetings in Los Angeles.
* Spurs are 11-4 ATS in the last 15 meetings in Los Angeles.
* Spurs are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Underdog is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
1. The teams split four regular-season meetings last season before the Spurs swept the playoff series.
2. Clippers G Jamal Crawford had 17 points against Washington in his first start since the 2011-12 season.
3. San Antonio C Tiago Splitter (calf) may return after a four-game absence.