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L.A. CLIPPERS AT MIAMI HEAT

QUICK HITTER

The Heat have won four of their last five, including back-to-back overtime games, as they welcome the Clippers to town for a battle of two postseason contenders. Los Angeles blew a 21-point lead on Wednesday in a 102-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, snapping a four-game winning streak.

The Clippers will likely be without key starters Patrick Beverly (groin) and Paul George (hamstring) who continue to be sidelined with injuries.

Miami almost blew a 21-point lead against the Wizards but rallied to win 134-129 in overtime, improving to 8-0 in extra sessions this season. The Heat enter one game ahead of the Raptors with 31 victories and have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference behind the Milwaukee Bucks.

Both teams have been great at covering the first-quarter number this season. The Heat are 13-8 ATS at home while the Clippers are 14-7 on the road. With Miami and Los Angeles so adept at getting off to fast starts, the Over is the pick here as both teams will look to eclipse the 30-point mark in the opening frame.

Prediction: Over 56.5 First Quarter

 

FIRST HALF

The Heat outscored the Wizards 69-50 in the first half of Wednesday's overtime victory as Tyler Herro scored 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Miami is one of the highest-scoring first-half teams in the NBA with the Over going 26-18 overall and 14-7 at home this season.

The Heat and Clippers are averaging a combined 116.9 points per game in the opening half.

Los Angeles plays at the league’s eighth-fastest pace and is coming off one of their lowest-scoring games of the season but were limited on offense with Beverly, George and Kawhi Leonard all sidelined. With Beverly and George sitting out again on Friday, the Clippers will rely on players like Landry Shamet, who has scored at least 10 points in five straight games, the longest streak of his career.

Prediction: Over 113.5 First Half

 

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

With George, Beverly and Leonard all sidelined against the Hawks, Montrezl Harrell shined with 30 points and was just four points shy of his career-high. Harrell is averaging 22.4 points and is shooting 58.4% from the floor over his last 10 games.

Beverly and George will likely not play again on Friday night, which will give Harrell another game in the spotlight. The Clippers will continue to feed the hot hand and Harrell will eclipse his relatively low point-total once again.

Prediction: Montrezl Harrell Over 19.5 Points +100

 

TOTAL BET

The Over is 27-16-1 in Miami games this season, tied with the Spurs for the best Over percentage in the NBA. The Heat have scorers everywhere on the floor, especially on the outside. Duncan Robinson is burying 42.9% of his 3-point attempts, the highest percentage for a player with at least 125 makes this season. Kendrick Nunn leads all rookies with 16.2 points per game and is the first undrafted player to win the Rookie of the Month Award multiple times in a season.

Los Angeles has only dropped back-to-back games once this season, and followed it up with a 150-point outburst against the Hawks back in November, scoring the second-most points in franchise history. The Clippers are coming off a very poor shooting performance from the 3-point line making just 4-of-21 from deep in the loss to the Hawks. With Leonard back in the lineup, the offense will bounce back once again, as they have all season.

Prediction: Over 221.5

 

SPREAD BET

The Heat have been money in Miami this season, going 20-1 at American Airlines Center with nine straight victories. They also carry a plus-10.7 ppg scoring margin at home, the second-highest in the NBA.

With no Beverly and George in the backcourt, the rotation has been a bit thin for head coach Doc Rivers. Terance Mann and Lou Williams will likely get a bulk of the minutes. Williams has been solid this season averaging 18.8 points off the bench, second-most in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard has scored at least 30 points in six straight games and was named a starter for the NBA All-Star Game on Thursday.

Speaking of All-Stars, Jimmy Butler was not named to the starting lineup, which will give him added motivation on Friday night. Butler is one of the fiercest defenders in the NBA and is ranked sixth with 70 steals this season despite playing in the fewest amount of games of anyone in the Top 6. Miami will add to their impressive 15-5-1 ATS record at home.

Prediction: Heat +3.5

 

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