Originally written December 30, 2012 on Metta Chronicles:
The Los Angeles Clippers look to get their 17th straight victory tonight as they host the Utah Jazz. This is the second time in three days the two teams have met, with Utah losing a close one at home 116-114. The Jazz had a 19-point third quarter lead, but saw it slip away as Chris Paul took over down the stretch. Can Utah get back to .500 tonight? AccuScore doesn’t seem to think so. The simulations have the Clippers as heavy favorites, with a 86.5 percent chance of winning the game. The average score after 10,000 simulations is 104-92. The Clippers have an impressive 60.2 percent chance at covering the -9.5 spread. Keep in mind though, the Clippers won the first meeting between the two teams by just one point, and the last game by just two points. These two squads battle hard, and I’d probably take Utah and the 9.5 points if betting. The Clips definitely on the money line. The over/under is too even to call, with there just being a 50.8 percent chance of the total going over 197. If you really want to bet on the over/under, know this: the total has gone over in seven of Utah’s last eight games against LAC, and has also gone over in 4 of Utah’s last five games against LAC on the road. Looking at the data, I’m a bit surprised that Utah is projected to score just 91-92 points. The Clippers have been holding their opponents to an average of 89.1 ppg during their run, but the Jazz have averaged 109 ppg in their two previous meetings against LAC. The other alarming figure from the data is the projection that LAC shoots 50 percent from the field compared to 43 percent for Utah. There’s no way Utah can even keep this game close if the Clippers are shooting 50 percent from the field at home. In Friday’s game, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter, all off the bench, were extremely effective and energetic. Between those 3, the Jazz are projected to get a combined 26 points. The Clips bench-squad, which will go five-deep with Eric Bledsoe, Matt  Barnes, Jamal Crawford, Ronny Turiaf and Lamar Odom, is projected to get 43+ points combined. I know it’s easier said than done, but the Jazz have got to find a way to either match the Clippers’ bench production or somehow limit their production to fewer than 35 points. The last time the Clippers lost, 105-98 on Nov. 26 to New Orleans, their bench scored just 28 points. Taking our focus back to Utah, they need more production from the point guards tonight. I didn’t get a chance to watch the entire game Friday, but from what I saw, Tinsley and Watson did an above-average job on defense. Offensively though, they scored just five points combined and had more turnovers than assists. In two games against the Clippers this year, Randy Foye is averaging 23.5 ppg (62.5 fg%, 50.0 3pt%), 3.5 rpg, and 1.5 apg. He is projected to get 10 points on 38 percent shooting. Game prediction: Clippers by 7 (because Paul will have his way whenever he chooses to) All data provided by AccuScore
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