The daily NBA preview takes it to the rim with tips for a duel between the Boston Celtics and LA Clippers, who are both on a bounce-back mission.
12:00 (AEDT), Fri 14th Feb @ TD Garden, Boston
History: Played 143: Celtics 96 V Clippers 47
Last meeting: November 20, 2019: Clippers 107 d Celtics 104 (OT) at Staples Center
Final Thoughts: The Boston Celtics and LA Clippers are third in the respective conferences. But both heavyweights are coming off a loss.
The 37-16 Celtics’ seven-game winning streak came to an end in Houston two days ago. A strong showing from Gordon Hayward (20 pts, 8 reb, 6 ast) wasn’t enough to prevent a 115-106 loss.
But Boston are still on a six-game winning run at TD Garden, going 22-5 at home on the season. The Clippers are 15-12 on the road, losing three of their last five.
The 37-17 Clippers have struggled to go on a decent run since November. After kicking off February with three straight home wins, their last three games on the road saw a win over the struggling Cavaliers bookended by a horrific 27-point loss to the Timberwolves and a seven-point defeat in Philadelphia.
Kawhi Leonard – averaging 27.1 points 7.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.8 steals – has been in fine form when not being rested. But he has missed three of the Clippers’ last 10 games, affecting their continuity.
The teams played out an overtime thriller at Staples Center a month into the season. The Clippers came from six down at three-quarter time before prevailing 107-104 in OT.
Paul George (25 pts, 5 reb, 8 ast) and Patrick Beverley (14 pts, 16 reb, 7 ast, 3 stl) spearheaded the victory as Kawhi Leonard played a secondary role. Jayson Tatum (30 pts, 6 reb) starred for the Celtics with Kemba Walker kept quiet.
It was the Clippers’ 10th win in their last 13 against the Celtics and fourth straight.
As only narrow favourites at home, a more consistent Boston side look like the way to go.
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