SAN ANTONIO SPURS (38-15)
at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (37-18)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -5.5, Total: 211
The Clippers try to stay hot when they open the second half of the season against the road-weary Spurs, who will be without Tony Parker.
San Antonio embarked on its annual rodeo road trip on Feb. 3, and has three more games remaining before returning home. But they could be without star PG Tony Parker who head coach Gregg Popovich said is out "for the foreseeable future" because of wear and tear on his body. So far, his team is 4-2 SU (3-3 ATS) on the road trip, improving to 20-7 SU (15-12 ATS) away from home this season. Los Angeles has won three straight games, thanks to an offense pumping in 121.0 PPG on 55.2% FG during this win streak. All three victories have been at home, where the club is now 23-4 SU, but only 14-13 ATS. These two division leaders have already met twice this season with the home team rolling to victories in both games (115-92 in L.A. on Dec. 16 and 116-92 in San Antonio on Jan. 4). While the Spurs hold a commanding 15-5 SU advantage (12-8 ATS) in the past 20 meetings in this series, the teams have an even 3-3 split (SU and ATS) since San Antonio swept Los Angeles in four games in the 2012 playoffs. But the Spurs have had little trouble winning at Staples Center recently with a 16-4 SU mark (12-8 ATS) in their past 20 road meetings with the Clippers. In addition to both teams having extremely negative betting trends -- San Antonio is 2-13 ATS this season versus good teams (3+ PPG margin) and Los Angeles is 1-9 ATS versus explosive offensive teams (103+ PPG) in the second half of the season since the start of 2012-13 -- note that the Over is 16-0 in the past two seasons when L.A. is a home favorite of six points or less. In addition to Parker being out, the Spurs continue to be missing both SF Kawhi Leonard (hand) and SG Manu Ginobili (hamstring), while C Tiago Splitter (calf) is doubtful for Tuesday. The Clippers have a couple of injuries to deal with too, as SG J.J. Redick (hip) is doubtful and SG Willie Green (hip) is questionable for Tuesday's matchup.
Which Western Conference powerhouse will prevail on Tuesday night? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The five StatFox experts have been sizzling with a 62% ATS record (16-10) since Feb. 10, making them 53% ATS (141-127-6) since Dec. 1. StatFox Zach has a stellar 60% ATS mark (31-21-3) on Best Bets since Dec. 1 and is 55% ATS (42-35-3) on Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave has a strong 59% ATS (33-23) Best Bets record since Dec. 1 and is 54% ATS (43-37) on Best Bets for the season, while StatFox Brian is catching fire, going 71% ATS (12-5-1) since Jan. 25 and 59% ATS (27-19-1) in Best Bets since Dec. 12.
The Spurs don't have a glaring weakness this season. While they are just average in rebounding (+0.1 RPG margin, 15th in NBA), they are well above average in scoring (103.8 PPG, 9th in league), shooting (49.0% FG, 2nd in NBA), three-pointers (league-high 39.3% threes) and assists (24.7 APG, 2nd in NBA). On defense, the team allows just 97.5 PPG (6th in league) on 44.6% FG (9th in NBA), but does give up 36.9% threes (8th-worst in league). With so many injuries to his teammates, PF Tim Duncan (15.6 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.1 BPG) will have to carry more of the scoring load on Tuesday. He has been having a strong road trip with 20.8 PPG (57% FG), 9.6 RPG and 2.6 BPG in the five games he's played. He has also had a big series versus the Clippers this season, scoring 18.0 PPG with 11.0 RPG and 4.5 APG in the two games. In 58 career meetings with L.A., Duncan has 19.2 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 3.2 APG and 1.9 BPG, showing he's perfectly capable of a huge night. Two other players that will continue to be looked upon for more offense in this game are SG Marco Belinelli (11.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG) and PF Boris Diaw (9.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG). Belinelli is shooting a blistering 50% FG this season, including 45% from three-point range, and has shot very well during the rodeo road trip with 15.0 PPG (55% FG, 39% threes) and 4.8 RPG. Diaw has responded nicely to his added minutes, tallying 14.3 PPG (63% FG), 3.7 RPG and 3.7 APG in 29.3 MPG. SG Danny Green (7.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG) had a couple of huge performances during this trip, dropping 22 points on the Wizards and 17 on the Nets, but in his past three games, Green has a paltry 4.0 PPG on 5-of-19 FG (26%) and 2-of-10 threes. In two games versus L.A. this season, he has a mere 5.0 PPG on 4-of-15 shooting (2-of-9 threes).
The Clippers have scored more than 100 points in all six games this month, averaging 115.3 PPG on 51.6% FG and 30.8% threes in February. For the season, the team scores 107.0 PPG (2nd in NBA) on 47.3% FG (5th in league) with 24.1 APG (3rd in NBA). For such a fast-paced offense, L.A. does a solid job on the defensive end of the court, allowing 100.6 PPG (15th in league) on 44.3% FG (7th in NBA) and a league-best 32.5% threes. The catalyst on both ends of the court is PG Chris Paul (19.2 PPG, 11.1 APG, 4.6 RPG, 2.5 SPG) who has quickly regained his form after being out 18 games with a shoulder injury. In his two games back, Paul has 27 points and 20 assists in 62 minutes of action. Without Tony Parker defending him on Tuesday, Paul should be able to put up similar numbers to his 23 points (8-of-13 FG), eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals he tallied in his lone meeting with the Spurs this season on Dec. 16. That puts him at 18.8 PPG (46% FG), 8.3 APG, 4.4 RPG and 2.0 SPG in 29 career games versus San Antonio. PF Blake Griffin (24.2 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.1 SPG) has also had a monster season and has been unstoppable in his past eight games where he's scored at least 25 points each time with averages of 32.3 PPG (58% FG), 9.8 RPG, 3.8 APG and 1.0 SPG. He also has 23.0 PPG and 8.0 RPG in two games versus San Antonio this season, and a double-double (20.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG) against them in 12 career meetings. C DeAndre Jordan (10.1 PPG) continues to lead the NBA in shooting (66% FG) and rebounding (14.0 RPG), while ranking fourth in blocks (2.3 BPG). He hasn't done much offensively in the season series with the Spurs, scoring only 5.5 PPG on 4-of-8 FG, but he does have 10.5 RPG and 2.5 BPG in the two meetings. He will be tasked with slowing down Tim Duncan, and Jordan has the size and athleticism to keep Duncan in check. SG Jamal Crawford (18.6 PPG, 36% threes) has thrived in his four games since being inserted into the starting lineup, averaging 24.5 PPG (35% threes), 4.0 APG, 3.0 RPG and 2.3 SPG in 38.7 MPG of action. In the two games versus San Antonio this season, he has averaged 20.5 PPG and 5.0 APG, but has curiously shot better from three-point range (40%) than from inside the arc (39%) during this timeframe.