Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Clippers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 29th 2024

Two of the hottest teams in the NBA will go head-to-head when the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

Cleveland has won nine of its past 10 games, while the Clippers have captured five in a row and 13 of 15 since Christmas.

The Cavaliers are coming off a win against one of the few teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings, pulling off a 112-100 victory against the host Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

The win came two nights after Cleveland lost to the Bucks 126-116 on the same floor, ending its eight-game winning streak.

Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff said games like those against the Bucks and the upcoming matchup with the Clippers provide a glimpse of playoff-type basketball.

“We still have young guys who haven’t played a ton of playoff basketball,” Bickerstaff said. “We want to give them that experience.”

Veteran Donovan Mitchell continues to lead the way offensively for the Cavaliers, averaging 27.7 points after scoring 32 against the Bucks on Friday.

Jarrett Allen has recorded 14 straight double-doubles, most recently posting 24 points and 14 rebounds against the Bucks.

Allen has helped pick up the slack for 6-foot-11 power forward Evan Mobley, who has been out since Dec. 6 after undergoing arthroscopic left knee surgery but could return this week. Mobley averaged 16 points and 10.5 rebounds in his first 21 games.

“That’s what our team is about. It’s never one-on-one, it’s always one-on-five, and we’re protecting one another,” Bickerstaff said. “Cleveland Cavaliers basketball is about being together, being selfless and trusting one another.”

The Clippers opened their seven-game road trip with a 127-107 win against the Toronto Raptors on Friday and then were in complete control against the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics 115-96 a night later, handing the Celtics their most lopsided home loss of the season.

“It really doesn’t mean anything until you get to the playoffs and you’re doing the things we did (against Boston), executing, making shots and playing good defense,” Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard said. “We’ve got to just keep getting better as the year goes on, so once that time comes, we’re moving very efficiently.”

Leonard and James Harden have taken turns leading Los Angeles in scoring the past four games, while Paul George has averaged 24.2 points a game this month.

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue was tempted to rest George against the Celtics in the second game of a back-to-back, but George wanted to play through a sore hip and he contributed 17 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.

“He wanted to play to see where we’re at,” Lue said. “Just a measuring stick against a great team. We just wanted to kind of see where we’re at. We had that on our mind.”

The Clippers have continued to succeed despite being without their best post player the past five games.

Ivica Zubac has been out since Jan. 12 because of a calf injury, and he won’t be re-evaluated for another three weeks.

Mason Plumlee has slid into the starting lineup in place of Zubac and is averaging 8.2 points and 6.8 rebounds as a starter, but that pales in comparison to Zubac’s averages of 12.4 points and 9.7 rebounds.

–Field Level Media

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