For their final regular season meeting of the season, the Los Angeles Clippers travel to Bankers Life Fieldhouse tonight where they will meet the NBA’s best team, the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers not only have the league’s best record but also sport a 20-1 record at home including their current nine-game win streak.
Beating the Pacers at home has become nearly impossible this year for visiting teams, especially lately. Since losing their only home game to the Detroit Pistons on Dec. 16, 2013, the closest an opposing team has been was the Toronto Raptors who lost by seven points early this month. If that doesn’t strike fear in their opponents then maybe the Pacers’ last three victories by 27, 24 and 28 will.
Despite their enormous success at home this season, the Pacers can’t overlook the Clippers. Losing Chris Paul should have put a damper on their season, but they’ve gone 5-1 without him and have won five in a row. Blake Griffin has started to prove that he could be a team leader if needed as he’s averaged 25.3 points per game in Paul’s absence. It also helped that the Clippers got J.J. Redick back from injury and Darren Collison has slid into the starting lineup without a hiccup.
This game will pit the league’s best defense and the league’s third-highest scoring offense against each other. Indiana gives up 88.1 points per game while Los Angeles has the tendency to score 106 per game. It will be a tough challenge for the Pacers’ defense as the Clippers have yet to score under 90 points this month.
David West will have the task of keeping Griffin in check like he did the last time these two squads met. Their previous meeting ended with West going off for the first time this season after Griffin decided to talk a little trash. West scored 24 and held Griffin to 16. Out of all the matchups tonight, this will be the one to watch.
Los Angeles is on the back-end of a back-to-back, so that will give Indiana a slight advantage — as if they needed anymore at home. This Clippers squad is dangerous if they catch fire, but the Pacers are the best at keeping that fire from spreading; they should walk away with their 10th straight home victory tonight.