Two of the best teams in basketball will square off Sunday as the Brooklyn Nets (19-12) square off with the Los Angeles Clippers (22-9). Both of these teams are in second place in their respective divisions, and both have some momentum going into Sunday’s contest. The Clippers will host this one from the Staples Center, and tipoff is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET.
The Brooklyn Nets seem to be clicking on all cylinders as they have won five games in a row. The most impressive part is that they have done it shorthanded as Kevin Durant has been out with a hamstring injury. Durant will miss Sunday’s game, but James Harden and Kyrie Irving will look to stay hot against the Clippers.
Speaking of the Clippers, they have won five of their last six games. At 22-9, they trail the Utah Jazz by just 2.5 games for the top spot in the West. The Clippers will look to continue their solid play at the Staples Center, where they are 13-6 at this point in the season.
The Clippers are the favorites playing at home. They are -230 to win while the Nets’ moneyline sits at +190. The spread features Brooklyn +6 while the over/under for total points is 239.5.
By The Numbers
Offensively, these are two of the best teams in the NBA. In terms of scoring, Brooklyn holds the top spot averaging 121.3 points per game. The Clippers rank 6th averaging 115.5 points per game.
Defensively, it is all the Clippers. They rank 5th in the league in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 108.7 points per game (114.7 over their last three). The Nets fall to 28th, allowing 117.3 points per game.
Nets Trying To Win Back-To-Back Games At Staples Center
This will be the second game in a row at the Staples Center for the Nets. On Thursday, they beat the Lakers 109-98. In the win, James Harden had 23 points and 11 assists while Joe Harris added 21 points. They will play for their second win in as many games there on Sunday.
With Kevin Durant out, the Nets will continue to lean on James Harden and Kyrie Irving. On the season, Harden has been a double-double machine as he is averaging 24.4 points and 11.3 assists. He is also adding 7.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
For Irving, he has averaged 27.7 points on 52.9% shooting. He is also posting 4.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and a steal per night.
Very quietly, Joe Harris has also been a big factor for the Nets this season. Despite the scoring prowess of Durant, Harden, and Irving, Harris is posting 15.1 points per game on 53.4% shooting.
Clippers Look To Stay Hot In West
With just five games separating the top spot and the fifth spot in the West, the conference is proving to be quite loaded. Despite still being early in the season, the Clippers know every win matters and would love to take down the Nets in what could potentially be a Finals preview.
Leading the way for the Clippers are forwards Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. For Leonard, he is averaging 26.8 points per game on 50.8% shooting. He is also averaging 5.8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.7 steals.
Not to be outdone, George is averaging 23.9 points on 50.4% shooting. He is also posting 6.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.
One of the Clippers’ greatest assets is their depth. Aside from these two, other contributors include Marcus Morris Sr. (13.4 points, 4 rebounds), Lou Williams (12.6 points, 3.9 assists), and Serge Ibaka (11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds). On top of these three, the Clippers have five others averaging 8 points or more.
Taking The Nets And The Points
Straight up, this seems like a tough one to call. Both teams have elite talent, and both have been playing really good basketball as of late. With either team having a legitimate shot, the easy play seems to be in the spread.
I am somewhat shocked that the Nets are +6 with how well they are playing. For my money, I for sure am taking the Nets and the points and will even consider them straight up at +190.