The Los Angeles Clippers attempt to reach 50 victories for the fifth consecutive season and improve their chances at home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs when they host the Houston Rockets on Monday. The Clippers are tied with Utah for fourth place in the Western Conference with two games left after winning five consecutive contests.
Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul told reporters after a solid 98-87 victory over San Antonio on Saturday that his team had the right spirit and the right intensity, but it must find consistency if it is to make a run in the postseason. Houston has dominated the season series, averaging 131 points and winning a pair of meetings by a combined 43 as MVP candidate James Harden scored 28 per game. The Rockets snapped out of a 2-4 funk with a 135-128 victory at Sacramento on Sunday as Harden recorded his 21st triple-double of the season with 35 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds. Houston, which is third in the West and locked into a first-round playoff matchup with Oklahoma City, is expected to rest Lou Williams after he scored 18 points in Sunday’s victory.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
LINE HISTORY: The Clippers opened as six-point home favorites and that spread was bumped slightly to -6.5 on Monday morning. The total hit the board at 228.5 and currently sits at 229.5. Check out the complete line history here.
Rockets – SG L. Williams (Out, rest), SF S. Dekker (Early May, hand).
Clippers – PG A. Rivers (Mid April, hamstring), C D. Stone (Out Indefinitely, knee).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Rockets (-9) – Clippers (-6.7) + home court (-3) = Clippers -0.7
Futures odds provided by Sports Interaction.
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (54-26 SU, 42-38 ATS, 40-39-1 O/U): Harden is averaging 33 points in three games since sitting out one contest to rest a sore wrist and has drained 16 shots from 3-point range in that span but did commit 10 turnovers Sunday. Houston rested second-leading scorer Eric Gordon (16.3) and Trevor Ariza (11.7) against Sacramento while big man Nene (hand) is expected to miss his second straight contest Monday. Ryan Anderson scored 21 points on Sunday, making 6-of-8 shots from 3-point range in his second game back since sitting out six with an ankle injury.
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (49-31 SU, 38-41-1 ATS, 43-36-1 O/U): Los Angeles also hosts Sacramento on Wednesday while Utah takes on the top two teams in the West – Golden State and San Antonio – to end the regular season. Blake Griffin is on a roll heading into the playoffs, averaging 28.6 points over his last five games, and Paul has posted 25.2 and 10.8 assists in the same span. Center DeAndre Jordan (12.6 points, 13.8 rebounds) has recorded three straight double-doubles and needs one more to reach 40 on the season.
* Rockets are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
* Clippers are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up win.
* Under is 6-0-1 in Rockets last 7 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
* Under is 4-1-1 in Clippers last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
* Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in Los Angeles.
Check out a complete list of hot and cold trends, here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 86 percent of the spread wagers are on the road underdog Rockets while 67 percent of the totals selections are on the Over. View full consensus data here.