San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Clippers Preview and Pick

San Antonio Spurs -2 (4-5) at L.A. Clippers +2 (1-8) O/U 177 10:30 PM ET Monday November 17, 2008 on NBA TV
By Jason Green at

Tonight the Spurs travel to La La land to play the Clippers. These are 2 of the more disappointing teams so far this year, as the Clips had high hopes with the additions of Marcus Camby and Baron Davis while the Spurs have been decimated by injuries, as Tony Parker is out for around a month and Manu Ginobili is out until December. However, the Spurs have won 2 straight and the Clips, well nothing is going right for them.

Basketball bookies have the Spurs as 2-point favorites with a total around 177. The Spurs are posted +105 as away favorites and the Clippers are posted at -125 as home dogs.

The Spurs come into this game after beating the Sacramento Kings last night 90-88. The high scorer in that game was Michael Finley going for 21 points on 8/17 shooting. Tim Duncan had a solid game going for 20 points and grabbing 10 boards. For the game the Spurs shot 34/74 for a FG% of 45.9%. On defense the Spurs allowed the Kings to shoot 33/74 from the floor for a FG% of 44.6%.

The Clippers come into this game after getting beat by the Golden State Warriors 121-103 on Saturday night. The high scorer for the Clippers in that game was Baron Davis going for 25 points but only shot 7/19 from the field. For the game the Clips were laying bricks shooting 36/91 for a FG% of 39.6%. On defense the Clippers took the night off, as they allowed the Warriors to shoot 48/94 from the field for a scorching FG% of 51.1%.

Both these teams are having major offensive woes, as the Spurs rank 26th in the league in scoring (91.9 ppg) and the Clippers rank 29th (89.9 ppg). Both teams are only shooting just over 40% and they are shooting around 73% from the line, but they both are not running teams and do not pick up a lot of easy buckets.

The Spurs are a decent defensive team ranking 10th on D (94.4 ppg), but the Clippers cannot stop other teams from shooting lights out on them, as they rank 27th on D (103.8 ppg). The Clippers are allowing opposing teams to shoot almost 46% from the field this season. Neither team is hitting the glass hard and it is surprising the Clippers are not, as they brought in Marcus Camby for his rebounding and defense, not to mention they have Chris Kaman who is a beast on the boards. The Clippers have a rebounding differential of -8 rpg and the Spurs are at -3 rpg. How bad is the Clippers D? In their loss to Golden State undrafted rookie Anthony Morrow, who was making his first start of the season, torched them for 37 points.

The Spurs are 2-6 ATS this year and the Clippers are 1-8. In terms of Over/Under games the Spurs are 3-5 and the Clippers are 6-5.

On the injury front SG Manu Ginobili and PG Tony Parker are Out and the Clippers are reporting no significant injuries.

The Spurs come into this game after winning back-to-back games for the first time this season and look to get to .500 for the first time tonight.

The Clippers have begun the season losing 8 of their first 9 games and 8 of those games have been at home. This is not the start to the season that they envisioned after they brought in big free agents Camby and Davis, but, hey, it’s the Clippers here.

The reasons the Spurs have won 2 straight is that they are playing great D and they are getting scoring contributions from different players. Last night it was Finley and the bench chimed in and scored 18 points.

Even though the Clippers are 1-8 they create match up problems for the Spurs. The Spurs will have a hard time matching up with Davis and C Chris Kaman (12.8 ppg 10.2 rpg), who is a legit 7 footer, who can score down low. However, for the Clippers to win they have to shoot the rock well, which is something that they have not done this year.

Camby should match up well, at least defensively, on Duncan, but the Clippers have to step up and play some D, especially on Finley. If they can keep Finley from scoring the Spurs will have a tough time scoring points.

It’s easy to see that the Spurs are hot and the Clippers are far from. Man, the Clippers just can’t get it right and they may still be thinking, what if they could have signed Elton Brand? Well, they couldn’t and the Clips are in familiar territory, which is at the bottom of the Pacific Division.

Jason’s Pick: Despite their slow start, I like LA to win straight up.