L.A. Clippers (29-16) at Atlanta (26-18)
When: Monday, January 23rd 2017
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: Prime Ticket, FSN Southeast
The surging Atlanta Hawks entertain the injury-plagued Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night at Philips Arena in Atlanta. The Hawks have won 11 of its past 13 contests to move a season-high eight games above .500, using the frontcourt duo of Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard to dominate the paint in Saturday’s 110-93 victory over Philadelphia. Millsap and Howard combined to record 35 points and 25 rebounds, providing plenty of power for an Atlanta offense that has scored 100 or more points five times in the past six games. Howard is enjoying his first season in Atlanta, pulling down an NBA fourth best 12.9 rebounds per game while averaging 13.6 points. Reserve forward Kris Humphries has nine rebounds in each of his past two games, after scoring 27 points in the previous two games. Millsap continues to have a solid season, averaging 17.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Millsap is also averaging 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds in the month of January. Atlanta has a 2.5 game lead over Washington in the Southeast Division and will play three of their next four at home.
The Clippers started the new year off with seven consecutive victories to move into the top four of the Western Conference, but then disaster struck. Point guard Chris Paul went down with a thumb injury and the Clippers have lost their last two games. Paul will be sidelined for the next six weeks. The Clippers dropped to 2-7 on the season when playing without their two best players: Paul and Blake Griffin, who is sidelined with a knee injury. Center DeAndre Jordan will be tasked with handling Howard and Millsap inside and leads the NBA in field-goal percentage (68.8%) while ranking second in the league in rebounding (13.9). Paul was on his way to another All-Star season, leading the league in steals while ranking fourth in assists. Center Marreese Speights led the Clippers with 18 points in Saturday’s 123-98 loss at Denver, and scored 23 points in last Monday’s victory over Oklahoma City. Griffin, who has missed the past 17 games, is expected to return sometime this week. This will be the second of a five-game road trip for Los Angeles that also takes them to Golden State on Saturday.
Griffin has been ruled out for tonight and without him and Paul, the Clippers are not very good. Atlanta is on a roll right now and I think they win easily.
Pick: Hawks -7.5