The Los Angeles Clippers traded top scorer Tobias Harris, along with Mike Scott and Boban Marjanovic to the Philadelphia 76ers in return for Mike Muscala, Wilson Chandler and Landry Shamet along with future draft picks. They head into Boston, whose core remained intact and are on a hot streak. Do the Clippers have a shot on the road with Harris no longer in the picture?
Boston is 35-20 for the season, 8-2 over their last ten and 22-7 at home. Los Angeles is 30-26 for the season, 15-14 on the road and eighth in the Western Conference. Examining the teams statistically, the Clippers are seventh in scoring and 24th in points allowed. However these numbers will be affected following the trade. They are middle of the pack in rebounding and near the bottom third in turnovers. Meanwhile, the Celtics are much better defensively and taking care of the ball, ranked fifth in scoring defense and sixth in fewest turnovers. They are near the middle of the pack in both scoring offense and rebounding.
Who will pick up the slack for the loss of Harris? Look for Lou Williams (19.3 points and 5.2 rebounds) to be the main candidate. Dnailo Gallinari is another strong option, hitting 45 percent from beyond the arc and dropping 18.8 points per game. Monrezl Harrell is a great complimentary piece to the puzzle, adding 15.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Newly acquired Wilson Chandler and Landry Shamet should be solid role players, while veteran guard Patrick Beverley adds to the long range threat, hitting 39 percent.
The Celtics are lead by Kyrie Irving, who is averaging a team high 23.8 points, seven rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. Jayson Tatum completes a dynamic one-two punch, averaging 16.4 points per game. But Boston has several players that can hurt a team. Marcus Morris, Jaylen Brown, veteran All Horford and Gordon Hayward average a combined 50 points per game. Boston is a deep unit and overall more talented then the Clippers.
This game could remain close for some time, but Boston is much better at home than the Clippers are on the road and the hotter team. Combine that with the fact that the Clippers have no real go-to guy now that Harris has been traded and the Celtics should win. Pick the Celtics in a game decided perhaps by double-digits.