The Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Clippers are scheduled to clash at the Staples Center on Sunday night. The Cavaliers are on their fourth game of this five-game road trip out west. They will wrap things up against the Golden State Warriors tomorrow night, and then head home to welcome the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday. This is a brutal part of the season for the Spurs, as they’re on a back-to-back, and then have to fly home and a quick turnaround to face the Spurs.
The Cavaliers don’t catch many breaks during their most difficult stretch of the regular season, but they are trying to stop the bleeding somehow. They are losers in six straight games, and haven’t covered since beating the Detroit Pistons on January 27, 122-107. Cleveland has failed to cover in nine straight games following that win over the Pistons. This was a team that was showing signs of life to open the season.
They were playing pretty well despite the deck being stacked against them. However, reality has finally sunk in, and the Cavaliers look like the squad that went 19-46 a season ago. After beating the Minnesota Timberwolves on February 1, 100-98, the Cavaliers were only nine games away from matching their win total from last season. Two weeks later and the Cavaliers are still stuck at ten wins, and not any closer to 19 wins this year.
The Clippers are falling back in the Western Conference as they watch the Utah Jazz continue to win and not stop. They are three games behind the Jazz, while the Lakers are a game behind for top honors in the West. The Clippers just have to worry about themselves and not concern themselves with the Jazz. Yes, I think the Jazz are for real, but winning in the regular season and playoffs is a totally different beast. They have to win when it matters most.
The Clippers are coming off a 125-106 win over the Chicago Bulls on Friday. It’s the first game that the Clippers have looked complete since a 121-99 win over the Cavaliers in Cleveland on February 3. That being said, the Clippers aren’t going to look complete until Paul George is back in the lineup. It is not happening tonight, as George has been ruled out of the contest. Head below for our free Cavaliers vs. Clippers pick on February 14, 2021.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. LA Clippers NBA Betting Odds:
Cavaliers vs. Clippers Prediction:
The Cavaliers have to hope that the Clippers take it easy on them tonight, and allow them to go to San Francisco relatively unscathed. If they bring the same effort to tonight as they have on this road trip, then it’s going to be yet another ugly result for the Cavaliers. Even before the Cavaliers headed on the road, they were in a lot of trouble at home. Prior to the road trip, the Cavaliers lost against the Clippers, 121-99, and Bucks in back-to-back games, 123-105 and 124-99.
Those were not easy matchups, but their frustrations carried over to the road, where they’ve lost by an average of 21 points. It has largely been the offense holding them back in 2020-21. The Cavaliers have scored an average of 103.9 points per game. This has been a concern all season for the Cavaliers. They go into the Staples Center 29th in the NBA on offense.
It was the defense that was holding up well for the Cavs early on this season. That was helping them win games, but the defense has been regressing hard, while the offense continues to struggle. If you’re wondering why the Cavaliers have been getting smacked so hard recently, that’s it in a nutshell. The Cavaliers are 15th in the NBA with 111.9 points against per game.
In their previous five outings, they’ve allowed 125.6 points per game. When their defense collapses, the Cavaliers do not have the firepower to keep pace with the vast majority of offenses in the league. Unless Collin Sexton goes wild for 40 points, the Cavaliers are not staying around against the Clippers tonight. On the road, the Cavaliers are scoring less than 100 points per game. In the modern NBA that is pretty ugly.
The Clippers woke up in the second-half against the Timberwolves on Wednesday. They were down at the break, and came out looking like a different team. The solid effort in the second-half of that game, where they out scored by 13 points, carried over to the beatdown of the Bulls, 125-106. Note that the Clippers are fifth in the NBA with 107.9 points against per game.
The third-best offense in the league likely doesn’t have to be perfect to pull away from their opponent tonight. If the Clippers’ defense shows up, they are going to limit one of the worst shooting teams in the nation. The Cavs can’t depend on the three ball, because they’re hitting at a 34.2% clip from beyond the arc. That is 28th in the league.
It’s highly unlikely if the Cavs get behind, they can start spraying threes and erasing a big lead. They tried that against the Trail Blazers and failed miserably. Also note that the Cavaliers don’t want to trade downtown attempts with the Clippers. The Clippers lead the NBA with a success rate of 42.2% from three. Cleveland has gone 0-4 ATS in their past four meetings against the Clippers, and it’s likely it goes to 0-5 ATS on Sunday.