The Boston Celtics continue their road trip on the west coast at the Staples Center on Friday night. They have four more games on the road before heading home to host the Raptors on February 11. The Celtics will be in the desert on Sunday afternoon for a meeting with the Phoenix Suns following their stop in Los Angeles.
So far into this road trip, the Celtics have split against the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings. They took a 111-107 win over the Warriors on Tuesday, and then looked tired the next night in Sacramento. It was a tight game through three quarters, and the Kings had the extra juice in the final quarter to out-score the Kings, 35-29, for a 116-111 win.
The Celtics put forth a lot of energy to beat the Warriors the night before and were just out finished at the wire in Sacramento. Overall in the 2020-21 campaign, the Celtics own a record of 11-9 following the loss against the Kings. Everyone is still bunched up in the standings, but we’ll likely to see the good teams pull ahead and others fade soon, though.
That’s what happens when the schedule gets deeper and there’s more of a sample size. The Celtics are currently 3.5 games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the lead in the East. Brooklyn is currently the team to beat, but if improvements aren’t made to their defense, I can’t say it’s going to be a surprise if the Nets don’t get out of the Eastern Conference alive.
The Clippers head into Friday with a mark of 17-6 to put them a half game behind the Utah Jazz and a tie with the Lakers. The Jazz might be ahead right now, but let’s be honest, the West is between the Lakers and Clippers. There is too much talent on the Lakers and Clippers for the Jazz or somebody else to threaten. The Nuggets had a 12-point lead at halftime, though that evaporated thanks to a 37-17 run by the Lakers in the third.
Both the Clippers and Lakers can turn it on whenever they want. Handicapping their games is more of a question of whether they want to play. Especially the Lakers who pick and choose teams to beat up on, and others they go through the motions against and pull out a close win. The Clippers are coming off a 121-99 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, a day after losing a tight one against the Nets, 124-120. Head below for our free Celtics vs. Clippers pick on February 5, 2021.
Boston Celtics vs. LA Clippers NBA Betting Odds:
Celtics vs. Clippers Prediction:
If the Celtics are going to show up on Friday night with the same effort they did in Sacramento, then don’t even show up because the Clippers will be able to turn this into a blowout. That was on a back-to-back after a hard-fought battle against the Warriors, so we’ll give them a break in that sense. However, the Celtics didn’t get a chance to go home and rest after that one. They stay on the west coast in California, all the while having to go through Covid-19 protocols without much time to relax. The Clippers will be their biggest test of the season since losing Marcus Smart.
He’s one of the craftiest defenders in the NBA, and his presence would have been welcome against an elite opponent like the Clippers tonight. I think it’s going to be fairly noticeable without Smart on the floor in this one. It wasn’t as much against the Kings and Warriors, but I can see it being an issue against a team like the Clippers that have multiple options offensively. The Clippers are sixth in the NBA with 115 points per game, and they haven’t reached their full potential yet.
In their last five games, though, we’ve seen the offense hit their stride. The Clippers enter having netted 119 points per game through their previous five outings. It goes without saying that the defense has been in strong form. They’ve allowed an average of 107.1 points per game for 4th in the NBA. Giving up 120 points to the Nets is understandable, so we’ll provide them with a break in that outing.
Along with Smart officially out on Friday night, the Celtics are dealing with injuries to Jaylen Brown and Payton Pritchard are listed as questionable on the injury report. Brown was an unexpected addition to the injury report for tonight. He is dealing with left knee soreness, but didn’t leave the game against the Kings. Although, there was a sequence in the third when he went in for a breakaway lay-up following a steal where he was a bit gimpy after.
If Brown is unavailable that’d hurt their offense significantly. And if he does play, Brown is going to be dealing with a banged up knee. The Celtics need all of the help they can get on the road against the powerhouse Clippers. Note that the Celtics are 16th in the NBA with 111.6 points scored per game. They have been mediocre overall on the road this season, with a record of 6-6 as opposed to 8-2 for the Clippers at the Staples Center. I thought the spread would be 7 or 7.5 here, so not opposed to a play on the Clippers to cover.