The Los Angeles Clippers and the Chicago Bulls will square off on Saturday evening at Staples Center.
The Clippers (25-25, 14-12 home) have just traded Blake Griffin to Detroit a few days ago, but the team is still committed to reaching the playoffs according to coach Doc Rivers. The Clips, who are currently 2 games behind the last playoff spot, got good value back for Griffin, so they should be fine for the rest of the year. The team last played on Tuesday night, when they lost at home to Portland, but it was their first loss in the last three games.
Chicago (18-33, 7-19 away) also made a trade this week, sending away Nikola Mirotic for a first round draft pick, so they didn`t get any relevant players in return. Chicago is in tanking mode right now and the team is not in good form, losing 5 games in a row and not looking good at all in the last few matches. The Bulls will be heavily shorthanded coming into this match, so this will be another problem for them to deal with.Bet on Clippers vs Bulls and claim your 100% (100 Eur) welcome bonus at Ohmbet!
Team news: The Clippers have their usual long term injuries (Beverley, Evans, Rivers), but this game is actually the healthiest they have been since October. Newcomer Bradley is slightly doubtful, but should play. The Bulls have much more serious issues to deal with, as they will miss Dunn and Payne, while Markkanen and Allen are highly doubtful.
Chicago’s injuries might not seem that bad in terms of numbers, but they will badly affect their starting lineup and their gameplan. They will most probably miss two of their 3 best forwards (Markkanen and the recently traded Mirotic), and their starting point guard (Dunn). All these players had a big impact on winning this season, and you could also make a case that Markannen has been Chicago`s best player so far. He`s not 100% ruled out yet, but all reports suggest he will not play.
The injury situation will be a serious problem for an already bad team, which is also in poor form.
The Clippers on the other hand are used to playing without Beverley or Rivers, who are long term absentees. They will welcome Harris, Bradley and Marjanovic, the players they got for Blake Griffin, so they should be good pieces to fit into the team, and make up for most (if not all) of Blake’s production.
It`s also worth noting that the Clips will be rested, having not played since Tuesday night, and that they are healthier than they`ve ever been in the last three – months.
Since December, the Clippers have been very solid against inferior opposition, and rarely lost as favorites, covering the spread more often than not. They are desperate for a win to maintain good chances for the playoffs, and they should be able to get it against a bad Bulls team, which is out of form and shorthanded.
The bookmakers have set a respectable 8 point handicap here, but the line is not really that scary – and I expect it to go up a bit if (when) Markkanen is ruled out for Chicago, as everybody expects. I believe Los Angeles should win this in double digits, so my tip will be Clippers to cover the -8 (asian) handicap. Prediction: LA Clippers – CHI Bulls 117 – 102.