Los Angeles Clippers vs Boston Celtics 12/29/21: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics Matchup Preview (12/29/21)
The Clippers will travel to TD Garden and face the underperforming Celtics. The Clippers are on a 2-game losing streak and have lost 5 of their last 6 games. Paul George (elbow) is out for the next few weeks, which leaves a gaping hole in their offensive and defensive strategy. George is their best wing defender, as well as their best scorer. In addition to George being out, Reggie Jackson (COVID) is expected to be out until January 3rd. George (24.7 PPG) and Jackson (17.2 PPG) are the Clippers leading scorers this season. The Clippers will struggle to not drop in the standings with the next 10 games featuring teams like the Raptors, Nets, Suns, Grizzlies, Hawks, and Nuggets. Although they are 17-17, the Clippers could soon drop to being out of the play-in with the 11th seed Kings only 3.5 games back.
The Celtics (16-18) have performed below their preseason expectations. They will be forced to recalibrate without Jayson Tatum (COVID) because he is expected to be out until January 5th. Dennis Schroder (COVID) is expected to be out until December 31st, although he has not been officially ruled out for this game. If Schroder can suit up tonight, he will provide a scoring punch the Celtics will need. The Celtics will have an easier January schedule, so there is time to gain ground in the standings. Jaylen Brown has played well the last few games and will need to continue his momentum if the Celtics want to be successful while Tatum is out. The Celtics are the favorites in this game, but they have shown no lead is safe this season. They need to keep their foot on the pedal and play all 48 minutes as if the game is tied.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics Betting Odds
With Paul George and Reggie Jackson presumably out, look for the Celtics defense to clamp down on the Clippers offense. The lost playmaking and scoring those players provide to the Clippers will leave the offense struggling to produce points. I am going with the Celtics moneyline in this one and would bet on the Celtics to cover the spread if it is -5 or less. Although the Clippers beat the Celtics recently, I do not see them repeating that performance. Brandon Boston scored 27 points on 9/13 shooting in that December 8th game, which seems unlikely to happen again this game. I do not trust the Clippers defense to hold up against a Celtics team that features playmaking big men. The Clippers do not have a suitable defensive stopper to shut down Jaylen Brown. Overall, I like the Celtics to convincingly beat the Clippers.
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Time: 7:30 PM ET
Arena: TD Garden – Boston, MA
Channel: NBA League Pass
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Los Angeles Clippers Starting Lineup
Los Angeles Clippers Analysis
In the last 2 games without Paul George, the Clippers have averaged 104 PPG and given up 113.5 PPG. Although this sample is minute, the trend should remain the same in the next few games. The Clippers will need Marcus Morris to continue his performance from last game where he had 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists against the Nets. Eric Bledsoe has been a primary ball handler for the Clippers recently. Bledsoe is averaging 4 APG on the season, but he has produced 8 APG in the last 2 games. He is getting more opportunities to handle the ball with George and Jackson out. Robert Williams and Al Horford have been superb in regards to playmaking on the Celtics, so Ivica Zubac must contain their influence on the game.
While Zubac is not the best mobile big man, he is a solid rim protector and can influence shots in the paint. If Zubac can provide the Clippers 15 points, 10 rebounds, and good interior defense, the Clippers may have a chance to keep the game close. Without Zubac performing well, the Celtics will feast in the paint and cause perimeter shooters to have good looks when the Clippers inevitably help down low. In the December 8th Clippers victory, they shot 43.8% from deep. They must get an efficient shooting night from deep by Luka Kennard, Marcus Morris, and Terance Mann. The Clippers cannot afford to miss open shots because their lack of playmaking and individual scoring will not allow them to explode offensively.
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
Boston Celtics Analysis
Although the Celtics will not have leading scorer Jayson Tatum, they should feel confident coming into this game. Jaylen Brown has carried the scoring burden and allowed the other Celtics players to perform their usual role. The combination of Horford and Williams has given the Celtics offense a playmaking dimension that they have lacked the last few years. Their team defense will have the ability to shut down the Clippers, but they must be locked in for the whole game.
The Clippers are fighters and will scrap the entire 48 minutes, which may catch the Celtics off guard. At times, the Celtics have looked as though they were going through the motions and lacked passion. These occurrences have caused the Celtics to lose games in which they held a large lead. I expect the Celtics to reverse this and play with urgency. They are coming off of a bad loss to the Timberwolves and will not want to repeat that performance. Overall, the Celtics have the edge in this game. It is just a matter of playing to their strengths and not allowing the Clippers to hang around.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics Daily Fantasy Picks
Look for Jaylen Brown to dominate this game and fill the box score. The Clippers will not have a defender that can shut Brown down. Pritchard is coming off a good game against the Timberwolves, but I do not like his matchup in this one. Bledsoe is a pesky perimeter defender that has bothered point guards throughout his career. I expect Pritchard to make an impact, but it is unlikely he will repeat his 24/8/6 stat line from the Timberwolves game.
On the Clippers side, I like Morris and Bledsoe in this one. Marcus Smart is questionable, and could be at less than 100% if he plays. Bledsoe has controlled the ball for the Clippers and will allow him to produce good fantasy stats. Morris is the go-to scorer now which makes him a viable fantasy option. Morris will be allowed to put up a large amount of shots in this game. He has been a solid shooter throughout his career and could break the 20 point mark. A 20/5/3 performance by Morris would not be unexpected in this one.