The LA Clippers earned an impressive win on Sunday night when they took down the Cleveland Cavaliers without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but they'll have to fight even harder if they want to keep their winning streak alive against the Miami Heat.
The Clippers have already defeated Miami once this season without Leonard and George (and Patrick Beverley, for what it's worth), but the Heat were equally banged up for that contest. They'll have Jimmy Butler back in the rotation this time, who has made all the difference for Miami this year.
When Butler has played this season, the Heat have gone 8-6. Without him, Miami is just 3-9. Of course, there are other factors that play into Miami's record, but there's no denying the individual impact that Butler has on this team. For that reason alone, the Clippers will need to be at their best tonight.
The key for LA is defense. Miami has one of the least efficient offenses in the NBA, but the Clippers sacrifice quite a bit on that end with both Leonard and George out of the rotation. The Clippers will need to make things difficult for the Heat by limiting easy looks in the paint and stepping it up on the perimeter, where Miami has done a good bit of damage this season.
One way to make sure the Clippers set the tone on that end early would be to start Terance Mann at the 3. Ty Lue has favored him over other guards for his defensive ability, and he played well in LA's last outing with Miami. In this scenario, Reggie Jackson would be sent back to the bench and Lou Williams would slide over to the 2.
On offense, look for Williams to continue to run the show. The veteran guard went for 30 points and 10 assists in his first start of the season on Sunday, and the Clippers will need another big game from him if they're going to win tonight. Keep a close eye on Marcus Morris Sr. as well, who's averaging 14.1 points and shooting close to 50% from three-point range over his last 10 contests.
How to Watch
Matchup: LA Clippers (20-8) vs. Miami Heat (11-15)
Date: Monday, Feb. 15
Time: 7:00 p.m. PT
Venue: Staples Center
Broadcast Information: NBA TV
Spread: Clippers -3
Moneyline: Heat +130, Clippers -154
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook