The Clippers will be hoping they finally turned a corner with their late show against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night, claiming a victory which ended an awful run of form.
However, the quality of opposition takes a huge leap on Tuesday night, as the Philadelphia 76ers roll into town. The visitors have pulled themselves into fourth in the Eastern Conference and they’re looking to build on that.
While both sides are in the middle of the Play-off pack, they also have ambitions of claiming a place in the NBA Finals. Injuries have hit the pair already this term, but in Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid, the pair each have an MVP-calibre star who can swing things their way this week.
|What||PHI 76ers @ LA Clippers|
|Where||Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California|
|When||22.00 ET, Tuesday, January 17th 2023|
|How to watch||TNT|
|Odds||PHI 76ers -115, LA Clippers -105|
After a run which saw the Clippers lose seven of their last eight games, meeting the Rockets at home at the weekend was the perfect chance for them to turn things around. There were signs of their recent struggles through the first three quarters, which they finished just a point ahead against the worst side in the West.
However, the Clippers rallied and recorded a 30-10 fourth quarter to claim a blowout victory. That success was inspired by a 30-point haul from Leonard, while Terance Mann top-scored with 31 and Norm Powell chipped in 18 off the bench.
The Clippers have so much depth that they can keep their scoring high even in the absence of Paul George and John Wall. A fully-fit Clippers side are probably the team to fear in the Western Conference Play-offs, but can their injury-hit side overpower Embiid and co?
The Sixers make this trip in full health, which should allow them to put a run together. They’ve had little fanfare, but Doc Rivers’ team have won seven of their last nine games. That run has seen each of Embiid, James Harden and Tyreese Maxey top-score for the team, with Harden in particular putting up some great numbers.
Almost a year on from his arrival in Philly, Harden looks to have settled in as the creator for Embiid. The former Rocket has made double-digit assists in his last six games, including 13 in a victory over the Lakers on Sunday night.
The success of Harden and Embiid’s team-up was always going to come down to how the former MVP could adapt to a lesser role on the Sixers. His time in Brooklyn reportedly fell apart due to his failure to adapt to the team’s style, but he’s accepted being the second option on the team, even dropping down to third at times after the rise of Maxey.
Harden has always been a talented playmaker but it’s never been demanded of him as it has in Philly. As the Sixers’ creative hub, Harden is good value to record over 10.5 assists at -105.
Both of these teams will be hopeful of deep runs in the Play-offs, especially after assembling good teams which have underwhelmed in the postseason. Ahead of this clash, the Clippers are +1000 to win the NBA championship, while the Sixers can be backed at +700 to make it out of a competitive Eastern Conference.
It’s little surprise that this clash is expected to be close, with the Sixers -115 against the -105 Clippers. The hosts’ poor recent form should see them at a disadvantage in this clash, especially as they have a less-than-convincing 13-10 home record so far this term.
The Sixers have a winning record on their travels and they’ve got a 14-8 record against teams who are above .500. The hosts face the first game in a tough back-to-back with the Utah Jazz up next and there’s every chance they don’t risk Kawhi in this clash, given that the two-time Finals MVP isn’t able to play on consecutive nights given his long-running injury issues.
The Sixers have a ton of depth and in Joel Embiid they have a player who has scored at least 30 points in nine of his last 10 games. The big man is -110 to score over 32.5 in LA after a 35-point haul at the Lakers two nights ago and it’s worth backing him for another big night in a Sixers victory.