Winning cures all. Well, maybe not all but it definitely calms the locker room and keeps the media quiet.
The Los Angeles Clippers snapped a six-game losing skid and picked up their first win since acquiring mercurial guard James Harden this past Friday, giving L.A. a weekend to bathe in that winner before visiting the San Antonio Spurs tonight.
The Spurs know a thing or two about the value of a win, having last savored the sweet and salty taste of victory on November 5. San Antonio is mired in a tormenting eight-game losing funk, blowing big leads in a number of those defeats.
That skid has Los Angeles pegged as a sizable road favorite Monday night. I break down the NBA odds for this Western Conference clash and give my free NBA picks for Clippers vs. Spurs on November 20.
Clippers vs Spurs odds
Clippers vs Spurs predictions
From the second James Harden walked into a less-than-enthusiastic Los Angeles Clippers’ locker room, we knew chemistry was going to be an issue for L.A.
In a lineup already stacked with ball-dominant stars in Kawai Leonard, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook, getting Harden the required touches to keep him engaged and effective was going to be a challenge.
We saw that during the Clips’ losing skid. Los Angeles’ scoring attack sputtered despite all that firepower on the floor, averaging only 108.3 points per game on 45.2% shooting, with an assist-to-FGM rate of just 56.4%.
Harden not only fumbled to find and hit his looks but his role as a playmaker plummeted, with an average of only 4.2 assists over his first five games with Los Angeles.
However, Westbrook’s selfless decision to nominate himself as the Clippers’ sixth man and come off the bench unclogged the L.A. offense in Friday’s slump-snapping 106-100 win over the Rockets.
The Clippers, who struggled with chemistry and fluidity in the halfcourt, recorded 22 assists on 35 field goals made (62.8%) after posting an assist percentage of just 57.3% on the season (fourth lowest).
Harden finished with 24 points, including some big buckets, along with seven assists that topped his assist prop total of 6.5. With Harden handling the ball more, he saw a rise in potential assists as well as his passes made versus Houston.
Tonight’s total in that assist market is up to 7.5 O/U vs. the spiraling Spurs, who present a very advantageous matchup for Harden and the Clips.
The San Antonio Spurs' eight-game losing streak is anchored by the team’s inability to stop the bleeding. The Spurs have given up an average of 126 points against during this span, with foes collecting 29 assists per game (assist ratio of 64.6% per FGM).
Keeping opponents out of the key has been a big problem for San Antonio, which has watched rival teams dominate the painted area. The Spurs are allowing 52.5 points in the paint per outing (24th), including 54 PITP to the Clippers in their October 29 loss in L.A. before Harden arrived.
Harden will be able to snake his way into the key, collapse the Spurs' interior rim protectors, and dish to waiting hands for easy dump-offs or kick out to wide-open shooters in the corner.
NBA player projections all sit above Harden’s assist total of 7.5, with a ceiling of 10 dimes and my number coming out to 8.5 assists from “The Beard”. And given the Spurs' porous defense and the Clippers’ improved cohesion, the table is set for his playmaking to pick up.
My best bet: James Harden Over 7.5 assists (+105 at Pinnacle)
Clippers vs Spurs same-game parlay
James Harden Over 7.5 assists
Kawai Leonard Over 5.5 rebounds
Clippers team total Over 119.5
Harden is finding his way as a playmaker in this offense and has the ball in his hands a lot more with Westbrook coming off the bench.
Leonard will take the fight to the young Wembanyama tonight, with many player models calling for 7+ rebounds tonight.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles is starting to click and the Spurs can’t stop anyone, giving up a ton of easy looks.
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Clippers vs Spurs spread and Over/Under analysis
With San Antonio suffering its eighth straight loss to Memphis on Saturday, this spread opened the Spurs as 9-point home underdogs.
Early play has faded the Clippers, trimming this line to as short as L.A. -8 as of Monday morning. Covers Consensus shows 66% of early picking siding with the Spurs.
The Clippers were a laughingstock during their recent six-game slide, as many fans relished in their “I told you so” moment after the team traded for troublesome yet talented guard James Harden, who struggled to find his footing with his new team.
However, fellow guard Russell Westbrook elected to come off the bench and the Clippers swapped guard Terance Mann into the starting lineup in Friday’s win over Houston. That allowed the offense to flow easier through superstars Kawai Leonard and Paul George while keeping Harden involved.
The Spurs don’t have any issues racking up the dimes — owning the NBA’s best assists percentage — but they do have a hell of a time holding on to leads. San Antonio has won just one of the six games in which it held a double-digit lead. That includes Saturday’s 120-108 loss to Memphis, in which it blew a 19-point advantage.
The Spurs currently rank 29th in advanced defensive rating and have allowed an average of 126 points during this eight-game slump. That’s left San Antonio to cover the spread only once in this span. Adding to these woes is an injury to starting forward Devin Vassell (17.3 ppg), who’s doubtful for Monday with a groin injury.
These teams met back on October 29, before the Harden trade, with Los Angeles thumping San Antonio 123-83 inside Crypto.com Arena as a 9.5-point favorite. The Clips shot 52% from the floor thanks to 54 points in the paint.
That final score stayed Under the closing total of 229.5 points, thanks in large part to San Antonio’s ice-cold offense. It made only 38% of its field goal attempts and coughed the ball over 25 times.
Tonight’s Over/Under total opened at 230.5 points. The Clippers have gone Over in just two of their last seven games, playing the 20th-slowest pace in the league. The Spurs are 7-1 Over/Under on this losing slide, running the fourth-fastest offensive tempo but also giving up a ton of easy buckets.
Clippers vs Spurs betting trend to know
San Antonio is 11-2 Over/Under on the season, with one of those two Under results coming against the Clippers at the end of October. Find more NBA betting trends for Clippers vs. Spurs.
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Clippers vs Spurs game info
|Location:||Frost Bank Center, San Antonio, TX|
|Date:||Monday, November 20, 2023|
|Tip-off:||8:00 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Bally Sports West, Bally Sports Southwest|
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