The Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets meet in a star-studded matchup at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night. This is the matchup of the week in the NBA, as the talented Clippers continue their road trip in Brooklyn in this elite contest. The Clippers have been on the road since a 108-99 loss against the Atlanta Hawks on January 26.
Note that it must be stated the Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in that game because of Covid-19 contact tracing. The Clippers were short-handed, with both of their star players sitting out in the loss. It likely would have been a much different final score with Leonard and George on the floor.
Both have since returned, and played a leading role in the Clippers win over the New York Knicks on Sunday. Leonard scored 28 points, while George poured in 17 points and led the team in rebounding with 8 boards. The Knicks have been playing well defensively this season. They’ve been taking strides forward, but the Clippers made it look easy in that one against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
The Clippers advanced to 16-5 on the season with the win. I still have the Lakers as the best in the league, but at the moment, the Clippers are playing better basketball. After dropping a 108-99 decision against the Hawks, the Clippers won three straight games. The offense was at their best against the Knicks in their most recent victory.
If the Clippers play like that, and the Nets’ defense just stands there like they did against the Washington Wizards, then the Clippers could easily clear 150 points in this game. Considering the Wizards scored 149 points, the Clippers likely hit 150 points if both teams put forth similar efforts. The Nets can’t be that bad again, can they? I’ve thought that several times this season, and Steven Nash and his team continue to look clueless defensively, so it’s possible.
The Nets blew a five-point lead in the final seconds of that contest. Take care of the ball and the Nets win that game and cover with ease. Protecting the ball and playing defense has to be at the top of the game plan against the Clippers tonight. It’s going to be another long night if not. Head below for our free Clippers vs. Nets pick on February 2, 2021.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Brooklyn Nets NBA Betting Odds:
Clippers vs. Nets Prediction:
Sure, the Brooklyn Nets can score at will, and are likely going to finish atop the league in scoring. However, the Nets are going to have to play defense at some point if they’re going to reach the NBA Finals. There are no excuses for scoring 146 points and still losing. That’s what you expect to find in an All-Star Game, and their totals are reaching levels we used to see in All-Star Games years ago. The Nets have conceded a whopping total of 117.7 points per game.
That’s 28th in the NBA, so I don’t know how we can seriously have championship discussions regarding this Nets team in their current defensive form. A deal at the deadline to help their defense out seems like the best move. It’s hard to see one player that won’t be elite, unless they part ways with Kyrie Irving, helping the Nets’ defense out a great deal. The onus is going to fall on Steve Nash getting the defense going in the right direction.
I’m not too optimistic that Nash can pull it off, though they can’t be much worse than they’ve been. The offense is capable of scoring on any defense in the league, though. The Big 3 are far too good to contain. When all three are locked in, the Nets can score as much as they want. They didn’t need James Harden to score 146 points on Sunday. Harden sat the game out with a thigh injury, but is expected to play against the Clippers tonight.
The Nets lead the league with an average of 122.2 points scored per game. The Clippers can play defense with the best of them, they’re fourth in the league with 106.7 points against per game. However, against an offense like the Nets, with so many weapons, the Clippers are going to have to lean on their offensive prowess.
They certainly have the talent to do just that. The Clippers have netted 114.5 points a game, and against the Nets should be able to clear that comfortably. This has generally been a high-scoring series anyway, and that’s without the Nets’ elite offense that they have now. The OVER has cashed in four straight games, with an average of 255.7 points scored per game. I am looking at a 127-120 final at the Barclays Center, so I’m not going to overthink this play on the total.