The Los Angeles Clippers carry a five-game winning streak into Tuesday night's game at the Indiana Pacers to open a three-game Eastern Conference road trip, but the Clips will be without All-Star and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard as well as fellow stellar defenders Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka. This could be a higher-scoring game, then, because the Pacers will be without Defensive Player of the Year candidate and NBA blocks leader Myles Turner. The Clippers opened at -2.5 on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds. The total is set at 229.
Leonard, who won Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2015 and 2016 and is a six-time member of the All-Defensive Team, is dealing with a sore right foot – that the Clippers also play Wednesday could have something to do with Kawhi sitting, although he did also miss Sunday's game against Detroit. Leonard is averaging 26.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.7 steals (tied for second in the league).
In addition, Ibaka remains sidelined with a lower back issue, and he's another terrific defensive player – named to three All-Defensive First Teams and leading the NBA in blocks twice in his career. Beverley fractured his left hand last week and is out 3-4 weeks. He's three-time member of the NBA's All-Defensive Team.
Turner was the favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year for a while but now Jazz center Rudy Gobert is the heavy favorite to win it for a third time in his career. Turner will miss a fourth straight game with a sprained ankle and apparently isn't close because he couldn't even practice on Monday.
He's averaging 12.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. Turner has recorded at least one blocked shot in a franchise-record 64 consecutive appearances, which is the NBA's longest such streak since Atlanta's Josh Smith had at least one in 76 straight games from December 2006 to December 2007.
Indiana is 8-0 this season when it scores 125 or more points and the Pacers' bench has combined to score 58 or more points in each of their last three victories. Indiana is 4-0 this season when the bench scores at least 50.
The Clippers have won the past three in this series, including a 129-96 blowout on Jan. 17. Leonard had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Ibaka didn't play and neither did Turner. The Clippers' bench outscored the Pacers' reserves, 65-14.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it has returned almost $9,100 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up more than $1,100 on its top-rated picks this season, and dating back to last year, it enters Week 17 of the 2020-21 NBA schedule on a stunning 95-59 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread. Anybody who has followed it has seen HUGE returns.