|-2.5 PHI (-105) @ pinnacle|
My 10* Game of the Week is on the Phi 76ers at 7:10 ET.
The Los Angeles Clippers are riding a SEVEN-game winning streak as they visit Philadelphia tonight to take on the 76ers. LA's most recent victory was a gritty 100-98 come-from-behind win on the road over the Detroit Pistons, when Reggie Jackson made the game-winning jumper with 2.3 seconds left. Even more notably, the Clippers played without Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Serge Ibaka, Patrick Beverley and Marcus Morris. The Clippers' winning streak gives them a 39-18 record, having climbed with two games of the Suns and three games of the top-seed in the West, the Jazz. The Clippers have opened a three-game margin on the Nuggets (now without Murray for the rest of the season), a 4 1/2-game margin over the Lakers (still without LBJ and A.D.) and 6 1/2-game bulge on the Blazers.
Philadelphia (38-17) took over the top of the Eastern Conference with a 123-117 victory over the Brooklyn Nets (37-18) on Wednesday, Joel Embiid finished with 39 points and 13 rebounds and over his last five games has averaged 30.2 points and 9.0 rebounds. The 76ers own a modest three-game winning streak but there is NOTHING modest about the team's 20-7 record since mid-Feb or its 21-5 home record (only the 25-3 Jazz are better).
Here's the rub. Kawhi missed the Detroit game with a sore right foot, while Ibaka continues to deal with a lingering lower-back issue. Beverley is out for the next month with a broken left hand, and the Clippers chose to give George and Morris a day of rest. Attempting to guess what lineup LA head coach Tyronn Lue will use tonight is no better than a crap shoot. What we KNOW is this. Joel Embiid did not play in the first game between the teams due to a knee injury, as the Clippers won 122-122 in Doc Rivers first game against the team he coached the previous SEVEN seasons back on March 27. Embiid will play here and he's looking every bit the part of a league MVP. The ESPN cameras will be watching and expect Rivers and Embiid to deliver a little 'payback' in this one.