Los Angeles Clippers vs Toronto Raptors. Shape of the teams

The Los Angeles Clippers host the Toronto Raptors at the Crypto.com Arena, giving the already heavy favourite Clippers a home-court advantage. The Clippers, fresh off a dominating 138-111 win against the Phoenix Suns on Monday, will likely prove to be just a little bit too much for the new-look Raptors.

Coming into the new year, the Clippers finally seem like a real contending team, with James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George all slowly finding their roles. Kawhi and George seem to be the main scoring options, while Harden facilitates much of the offence, averaging 8.4 assists per game.

Toronto has also started 2024 off on the right foot, putting up some solid wins, but it’ll still take some time for RJ Barrett to really integrate into the Raptor’s system. 

With the big three currently heating up in LA, it’s hard to see the up-and-coming Raptors take away the dub here without a crazy game from someone like Pascal Siakam.

Odds via Tonybet

Los Angeles Clippers vs Toronto Raptors  January 10, 10:30 p.m ET
Clippers odds  -455
Toronto odds  +340
Clippers spread -6.5 -189
Raptors spread +8.5 +108

However, even with a huge game from one or two players, the Clippers lineup is just plain scary.

In the new year, Harden has been averaging 10.8 assists, while Paul George has picked up his scoring with 26 a night on 53% true shooting. Kawhi’s numbers have been admittedly a little lower, but he’s still putting up 20.3 points per game on 47.6% from the field and 45% from beyond the arch.

The Raptors, on the other hand, are putting up some solid numbers, especially Siakam and Barrett, but their overall offensive output still pales in comparison. Especially in the half-court, their firepower just isn’t there compared to LA.

Don’t get it twisted; we aren’t sleeping on the Raps – they just need a little more time to gel as a team before they have a real chance at taking a game off the Clippers.

There’s a good chance the Raptors will manage to hang around for the first half before the Clippers put them away in the third.

Los Angeles Clippers vs Toronto Raptors Odds, Prediction

Without a true superstar to really lead the team, the Raptors will always struggle against contending teams like the Los Angeles Clippers. 

The triple threat of Kawhi, George, and Harden is likely going to shred the younger Raptors roster, specifically locking down their young guards on defence. 

While everyone knows Kawhi is one of the best defenders in the league, people forget how strong Paul George is on that side of the ball. George even had five steals on the seventh in the game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Siakam will likely be locked up by Kawhi while George snuffs out either RJ Barrett or Scottie Barnes. 

While that happens, both George and Kawhi will be lighting it up from three and mid-range as Harden plays the pick-and-roll with Ivica Zubac. If you watched the game against the Suns, they didn’t have an answer for that pick-and-roll, making the 18th-ranked Sun’s defence look really bad.

Adding insult to injury, the Raptors lost their best defender, OG Anunoby, in the RJ Barrett trade, making an already at-best mediocre defence even worse. And the stats back it up, as on the season they had a 116.2 defensive rating, and in the new year, it fell to 119.8.

With time, they’ll be able to fill the defensive hole left by Anunoby, but until then, they’ll be relegated to the bottom of the league in terms of defensive rating.

There’s a good chance the Clippers will come out of the gate quite strong and command a decent lead early into the game. Unfortunately for Rap’s fans, they’ll likely struggle to deal with Los Angeles’ equally potent inside and outside scoring options, making it an uphill battle from the get-go.

Los Angeles Clippers vs Toronto Raptors Player Pick and Betting Tip

Coming off an incredible 33 points on 57.1% shooting against the Suns, Paul George has been on fire recently, hitting shots from everywhere. Even with a defender in his face, the NBA vet has been knocking them down like it’s nothing.

This likely has a ton to do with how many scoring options Los Angeles has on the court at all times, as in most cases, he really only has to beat his man to get an easy bucket. If defenders sag even the slightest, Kawhi, Harden, or even Russell Westbrook could torch them.

The Clippers are playing real winning basketball right now, and Paul George is leading the charge, at least in terms of scoring. There’s also a good chance he’s going to come out the gate swinging against the young Raptors roster, continuing his momentum from the last game.

As long as George continues to shoot at a spectacular 53% from the floor, or even just above 45%, clearing 25.5 points shouldn’t be too tall of an ask. And who’s really going to stop him? 

Scottie Barnes is a decent defender, but neither Pascal Siakam nor RJ Barrett really has the ability to stay in front of George, with defensive ratings of 117.7 and 117.9, respectively.

Disclaimer: Odds are accurate at the time of posting and subject to change. Please verify the latest odds on our platform before betting.

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