The red-hot LA Clippers won seven games in a row and are about to embark on a six-game road trip, but they won’t have Kawhi Leonard (25.9 ppg) or Paul George (23.9 ppg) with them for at least a week until both star players clear COVID-19 safety protocols.
Neither player traveled with the team on Monday to Atlanta for a game against the Hawks on Tuesday. The Clips will also be without their starting point guard, Patrick Beverly, who will miss the next few games with a sore knee.
A fine-tuned Kawhi scored 31-plus in three-straight games, and this setback comes at a terrible time at the start of a road trip. He could potentially return in time for the game against the Brooklyn Nets next Tuesday, or the Cleveland Cavs next Wednesday.
In the meantime, expect Mr. Sixth Man Lou Williams to join the starting lineup. Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson will also see a huge increase in playing time.
The Clippers and LA Lakers are tied for the best record in the NBA at 13-4. The Lakers were the fastest team to reach 10 wins this season, but the Clippers’ winning streak thrust them to the top of the Western Conference standings. The Clippers relied on hard-nosed defense during this run. They’re now ranked fourth-best, allowing only 107.2 points per game.
The Lakers are +150 odds to win back-to-back titles, according to the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. The Clippers are tied for the second-highest title odds on the futures board at +600 to win the NBA title.
On Deck: Hawks, Heat, Magic, Knicks, Nets, Cavs
The Clippers start an arduous road trip with six games in the next eight days. The road trip starts with Trae Young and the Hawks. Later in the week, the Clippers head to Florida for back-to-back games against the Heat and Magic.
The Clips head to the Big Apple to play the NY Knicks at MSG on Sunday, and then meet the Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Durant and James Harden on Tuesday.
The Clips end their road trip next Wednesday in Cleveland before finally returning home to Los Angeles.
“Nobody’s really even talking about the winning streak,” forward Marcus Morris told the LA Times. “The season just started. We haven’t really played the tougher teams yet, so this is nothing to be excited about.”
Betting wise, the Clippers are in the top five in the NBA against the spread with a 10-7 ATS clip, though they’re only 4-3 ATS during their seven-game winning streak. The over is 5-2 in the last seven games for the Clippers.