The LA Clippers will look to halt their losing streak at three games as they square off against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night, with playoff implications becoming more and more glaring as regular season games diminish.
For LA, their star core of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George is active, but Patrick Beverley (fractured hand), Serge Ibaka (lower back tightness) and Amir Coffey (health and safety protocols) will remain out against Toronto. There have been some encouraging signs that Beverley could make his return from a 12-game absence “in the next couple games” according to Head Coach Tyronn Lue, but that game will not be Tuesday’s.
Beverley’s delayed return cannot be an excuse for the Clippers. The Raptors currently sit at 27-38, the no. 11 seed in the Eastern Conference. Though they just gave an impressive performance on Sunday, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers behind Pascal Siakam’s 39 points and Kyle Lowry’s 37, the Clippers have no room for error remaining. They need to beat all the inferior teams on their remaining schedule if they hope to avoid those very Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. While the brackets are still very much in flux, the best course of action for the Clippers should probably be to win as many of their last seven games as possible.
For Toronto, OG Anunoby (calf) and Gary Trent Jr. (lower leg) have both been listed as doubtful to play. Fred VanVleet sat out Sunday’s game against the Lakers to rest after playing the night before, so it is possible that he’ll be good to go against the Clippers.
The Raptors’ record is a bit deceiving—despite being 11 games under .500, they hold a positive point differential (+0.5 points per 100 possessions), meaning they’ve been underperforming in close games (they’re being outscored by 12.4 points per 100 possessions in the last five minutes of games within five points or fewer). LA cannot afford to take this Raptors squad, which still has much of its 2018-19 championship core on their roster, lightly.
How to Watch
Matchup: LA Clippers (43-22) vs. Toronto Raptors (27-38)
Date: Tuesday, May 4
Time: 7:00 p.m. PST
Venue: Staples Center
Spread: Clippers -9
Moneyline: Raptors +370, Clippers -480
Point Total: O/U 219.5
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook