The Clippers in first place? Is this the new norm in the Pacific Division?
The sons of goofball owner Donald Sterling are suddenly the crown jewels of Los Angeles basketball, and in addition to being in first place in the division heading into this afternoon’s game at home against Toronto (Clippers -11.5, 200.5), Chris Paul and the boys are on a scoring tear. Over their last five games (all victories), they have averaged better than 110 points a game. Clipper games have gone over seven straight times.
But there’s a catch. In fact, there are a couple of catches, as there always seems to be when it comes to the Clippers.
First off, Los Angeles hasn’t been exactly been fending off the elite teams of the Association. Consecutive wins over Minnesota, Sacramento, Utah, Dallas and Phoenix are better than the alternative, but not what a championship team would put high on its resume. The last time the Clippers played a game in which they didn’t have the two best players (Paul and Blake Griffin) on the court was Nov. 21 (at OKC). Still, you can only play where the schedule sends you, and there’s much to be said about showing up and taking care of business.
Second, the Clips still have to show that they can get it done on the road. Los Angeles has benefitted from a home-centric schedule, going over the total nine times in 12 games at the Staples Center. (They are still going over on the road – 4-3).
We asked Covers Experts Sean Murphy and Art Aronson to weigh in on the Clippers.
“That streak has a lot to do with the level of competition they've faced,” said Murphy. “A tough matchup in Chicago awaits on Tuesday, but after that, we could see the over run pick up again with stops in Charlotte, Milwaukee, and Detroit. With all of that being said, I don't see a lot of value playing over numbers north of 200 with the Clips right now. Their totals are being priced just about right.”
Aronson likes the way the Clippers are playing hard on a nightly basis:
“I’m not surprised that they are covering spreads against good teams and bad teams because they compete really hard every night. I think Vegas still might be giving them the respect they deserve against good teams. I would play them any chance I could as an underdog or as small favorites.”