By Skip Charles in Vegas
The Sixers play the Los Angeles Clippers tonight for the first time this season, with Philly on top of the Eastern Conference having won nine of their last 10 while the Clippers sit third in the West and head into the game on a four-game winning streak.
The game opened with the Clippers as favorites at -3, while the total opened at 224.5 points but the UNDER has been bet down to the new total of 223.5.
And this morning the Sixers have moved to a 4-point underdog.
The Sixers addressed a glaring need at the trade deadline, picking up point guard George Hill from the Oklahoma City Thunder at Thursday’s deadline in a three-team deal also involving the New York Knicks. In Hill, the Sixers add a veteran two-way guard who can shoot and defend at a high level.
While the acquisition of Hill may not move the needle as much as a deal for Toronto guard Kyle Lowry would have, Philly is in a good position to make a run to the NBA Finals with the team they have in place. The team already ranks ninth in the league in field goal percentage, third in rebounding, second in steals and first in blocks per game. Adding Hill will only help those numbers.
Hill is also a career 38.4 percent from three-point range, which is an area that the Sixers (13th in the league) can improve.
It is no secret that the Clippers have been looking for a playmaker in the backcourt to play alongside Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. So, it should be no surprise that the Clippers made a deal at the deadline for a point guard. The surprising part is the guard they acquired. The Clippers brought in veteran guard Rajon Rondo from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Lou Williams and a couple of draft picks.
The 35-year-old Rondo played well for the Lakers in their championship run last season but has only played in 27 games this year and has not made much of an impact in those games, averaging 3.9 points and 3.5 assists this season. Rondo also won’t help the Clippers much on the defensive end.
But the strategy for the Clips may be to just outscore their problems. They already rank seventh in the league in field goal percentage and first in the league in three-point percentage. And now they have added a guy who can at least add some creativity in short spurts.
Betting Pick: 76ers +4
The UNDER is 5-1 in Philly’s last 6 games.
Philly is 9-0 ATS in its last 9 games vs. the Clippers.
The UNDER is 4-2 in the Clippers’s last 6 games.