Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George (13) goes to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Washington.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George (13) goes to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Washington.|Nick Wass | Associated Press

NBA Monday: Greg Frank picks Kawhi-less Clippers vs Pacers and Raptors vs Bulls

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

0-1 Sunday, 39-41-1 overall.

Clippers (+1.5) @ Pacers (217)

Pick: Pacers -1.5

No Kawhi Leonard tonight for the Clippers as it’s another rest day for the star wing. It’s no secret that any team Leonard plays on is playing the long game in any given season. Playoff seeding and regular season awards take a back seat to Leonard’s overall well-being and having him at 100% come the spring. That presents us with good opportunities to fade the Clippers in the regular season though and tonight certainly looks like one of those. Especially without Victor Oladipo, and to a lesser degree with him, the Pacers aren’t a team built around star power. Therefore, they’re the kind of team we can count on most nights to at least try hard and take the game seriously. While it’s still way too early to start thinking about playoff seeding anyway, if you’re of the mindset that there are six quality teams in the East, then there are going to be a couple teams that have to start the postseason on the road. Milwaukee and Philadelphia look to be meeting expectations for the most part. Boston and Toronto have likely exceeding expectations at the quarter turn as has Indiana sans Oladipo. We’ve also seen enough from Miami now to take the Heat seriously. The point is there aren’t going to be many spots where the Pacers can take nights off, and the Clippers are willing to do just that in resting Leonard regularly. Paul George has been out of Indiana long enough for us to not really consider a revenge factor in either direction in this game. We’re just expecting the Pacers to play harder.

Raptors (-5.5) @ Bulls (215)

Pick: Under 215

Both teams on a back-to-back? One went to overtime and the other was playing catch up all game against a rival? Those factors are certainly enough to like this game under the total in the windy city on Monday. The Heat needed an extra session to put away the Bulls on Sunday and the Raptors never quit on Sunday against the Sixers despite losing a game they were trailing pretty much the whole way. The concern here would be that the Raptors take their foot off the gas and don’t defend as hard but given that Toronto lost the game yesterday in Philly, they probably won’t overlook this one. It’s still a little steep for us to lay as far as the side goes, but under 215 feels pretty safe.


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