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Boston Celtics vs LA Clippers Game Preview
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Boston Celtics vs LA Clippers Game Preview

by USA WagerFebruary 5, 2021

On Friday, the Boston Celtics will play the third of a five game west coast road trip, as they’ll travel to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers.

The C’s have teetered out the gate — boasting a modest 11-9 record. 

While the Clippers, only percentage points behind the 1st place Jazz,  currently sit at 2nd in the west at 17-6. They are coming off a narrow four-point loss to the new-look Brooklyn Nets, 124-120, but bounced back in a big way on Wednesday, knocking off the lowly Cavaliers 121-99. 

These are two franchises surely with championship aspirations in 2021, as both fell short of their ultimate goal  this past season in the bubble. Neither team was able to make the Finals, as the Celtics lost in the conference finals to the Miami Heat, and the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead in the second round to the Denver Nuggets.

Vegas has yet to come out with a betting line for this Friday’s game, but many can expect the 17 win Clippers to open as pretty sturdy favorites for tomorrow’s contest. 

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Boston’s Struggles Continue

Now losers of three of their last four, head coach Brad Stevens will be the first to tell you that his team hasn’t played nearly to the level they’re capable of. 

A main reason for this has been Kemba Walker’s struggles offensively, as he’s shooting a meager 36.6% from the field, and only 30.0% from three. With career lows in both scoring and assisting (15.0 ppg, 4.3 apg), Boston’s offense has struggled in turn.

Walker missed the first 13 games of the season with a left knee injury, and seems to still be working his way back into game shape.

Moreover, the departure of former all-star Gordon Hayward has loomed larger than expected, as the forward has rediscovered his game in Charlotte after signing a lucrative 4 year $128 million contract in the fall.

Hayward was never able to live up to expectations in Boston, and a fresh start has rejuvenated the 30 year old. He’s averaging a career high 22.9 points per game through his first 21 games, and appears to be returning to his former self.

While forwards Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have blossomed into elite two way players, the C’s haven’t been able to find much production behind them.

To add insult to injury, guard Marcus Smart is slated to miss multiple games with a calf injury, which even further thins Boston’s depth in the backcourt.

While it’s still far too early to hit the panic button for Brad Stevens and company, this slow start will surely catch aggressive general manager Danny Ainge’s attention.

Don’t be surprised if the C’s are once again active at the trade deadline.

Boston Celtics vs LA Clippers Game Preview

Leonard, George out to Prove Doubters Wrong

After an incredibly disappointing 2020 campaign that resulted in another early playoff exit, battery mates Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were the subjects of plenty of criticism this offseason.  Especially George, who has a track record for coming up small in the postseason.

George has yet to reach the Finals in his 11-year career, as his legacy will have an indefinite asterisk until then.

Head coach Ty Lue has done an admirable job in his first year with the Clippers, replacing Doc Rivers who was fired this past offseason.

Moreover, the offseason additions of veterans Nic Batum and Serge Ibaka have been stellar acquisitions for owner Steve Balmer, as both have provided stability and leadership for a roster that struggled with leadership and chemistry issues last season.

At the end of the day, this Clipper team will be judged come playoff time, so let’s pump the brakes on any serious praise until then, but it’s still important to note the team has seemed to address its shortcomings from a year ago.

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USA Wager