Two preseason NBA Finals favorites face off in what should be an explosive matchup as the Brooklyn Nets fly cross-country to Los Angeles to go toe-to-toe with the Clippers. In this preview, I will detail my analysis and prediction, the current odds, updated injury report, and projected starting lineups of both teams!
Brooklyn Nets Vs. Los Angeles Clippers Betting Odds
The Brooklyn Nets are two-point road dogs against the Kawhi Leonard-less Los Angeles Clippers. Leonard will be the only player listed as unavailable for the Clips, while Brooklyn will be without Kyrie Irving, Yuta Watanabe, and T.J. Warren.
Brooklyn Nets Vs. Los Angeles Clippers Prediction
Brooklyn’s defense has improved immensely since the first few games that it played in the 2022-23 season. At one time, the Nets were in the bottom two of the NBA in defensive rating, but now are hovering around 14th.
They also had their early-season struggles on offense, outside of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but are knocking on the top ten in offensive rating. Rebounding is still an issue for this team, as they rank dead-last in total rebounding percentage, but they have found a way to plug that massive hole in their past few games.
The Nets have won three of their past four games and finally seem to have hit their stride. Ironically, that has come with Kyrie Irving being suspended by the organization due to an insensitive post on Twitter. During that stretch, Brooklyn has been outscoring opponents by 18 points while boasting a team shooting split of roughly 47/39/83. On the defensive end, the Nets have forced over 16 turnovers per game to opponents while merely allowing them to shoot 37% from the field and 31% from three.
This could spell trouble for a Clippers team that ranks second-to-last in the NBA in offensive efficiency. Los Angeles has struggled this season, and the only thing that has saved it at times has been its defense, which we knew would be top-tier heading into this season. The absence of Kawhi Leonard has hurt the Clips, but even more than that, they have no offensive rhythm.
I’m going to hammer the Brooklyn Nets against the spread in this one. Even though Los Angeles has an elite defense, I have serious concerns about it eclipsing 100 points with the way Brooklyn has played since Kyrie has been suspended. I will keep riding the momentum for now.
- Brooklyn is 3-2 ATS on the road in 2022-23
- Los Angeles is 2-4 ATS at home in 2022-23
- The combined over record of these two teams is 6-18 in 2022-23
The key matchup in this non-conference battle should be obvious: Kevin Durant versus Paul George. Durant and George are two of the best forwards in the NBA and have been for quite some time. Despite being in their 30s, they look almost as good as ever. See my analysis for this matchup below, and which player has the advantage!
Kevin Durant vs. Paul George
Kevin Durant and Paul George have faced off a total of 16 times throughout their decorated NBA careers. Durant has averaged 30 points, eight rebounds, and three assists in those matchups on 52.3% shooting from the field, while PG13 hasn’t had quite as much success, hovering around 21 points per game.
George is an elite defender, one of the best in the NBA, but there is simply no human who can cover Durant. The Clippers have a great defense that ranks fourth in defensive efficiency and opponent eFG% (effective field goal percentage), so Brooklyn as a whole is going to struggle; however, it won’t be Durant that has a tough time. Advantage: Durant.
Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineup
Los Angeles Clippers Starting Lineups
Brooklyn Nets Injuries: T.J. Warren (Out), Kyrie Irving, Yuta Watanabe (Q)
Los Angeles Clippers Injuries: Kawhi Leonard (Out)