The Toronto Raptors will be hosting one of the hottest teams in the NBA on Friday night as the Los Angeles Clippers come to town for the teams’ second and final matchup this season. The Clippers eked out a 126-120 victory when they first met, earlier this month.
The Clippers will be brimming with confidence, having won 10 of their last 12, and with Paul George set to be back from a groin injury. The Clippers appear to have turned themselves into genuine title contenders, boasting a 28-14 record, putting them fourth in the West — just two games off of first.
Toronto, however, comes into this game having won just two of their last 10, making them 16-28 and sitting in 12th place in the East. Still, the Raptors are just two games off of the 10th seed and an entry into the Play-In Tournament. A win against the Clippers could build some serious momentum as we approach the halfway point of the season.
Betting odds for the upcoming game are in favor of the Clippers, who are 23-19 ATS. They have a 19-22-1 Over/Under record. The Raptors, meanwhile, are 20-23-1 ATS and holding a 23-21 Over/Under record.
The Clippers have been in excellent form since December, winning 20 out of 24 games played. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are scoring an average of 23.7 and 23.5 points per game, respectively. James Harden is making significant contributions with 17.3 points and 8.5 assists. Their starting center, Ivica Zubac, will be missing the game due to injury. Toronto Raptors have won only 16 games this season, with R.J. Barrett being their top scorer.
The Clippers will be missing their starting center as well, being without Ivica Zubac (right calf), who has been out since January 16th. They announced Tuesday that he will be reevaluated in four weeks. Forward Moussa Diabate (right hand) will also be out.
Conversely, the Raptors have faltered in their recent games. The Raptors traded away OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa for R.J. Barrett and Immanuel Quickley at the end of December, and then traded away All-NBA performer Pascal Siakam just over a week ago. Toronto has been experimenting with different lineups and strategies.
Many betting trends are indicating in favor of the Clippers winning the game but not favoring the Over. Despite losing form, the Raptors remain optimistic about their prospects in the near future. The playoffs are not out of their reach, and a win against the Clippers could set them up for a push into postseason contention.