Chris Paul may be back to his old self - and that's bad news for opponents of the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul and the Clippers conclude their marathon eight-game road trip Monday evening with a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Paul struggled in his first game back from a knee injury but flashed his All-Star form two days later, scoring 25 points and adding seven assists in a victory over New York. The 76ers have won four of five and are coming off an 87-76 victory over Charlotte on Friday
Los Angeles finally has a full complement of players after missing Paul, Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford and Chauncey Billups for most or all of their grueling trek. The Clippers are 3-4 going into the road finale, and will be in tough against a Philadelphia team wrapping up an eight-game homestand during which it has gone 5-2. The 76ers' defense has been among the league's best of late, surrendering an average of 77.8 points over its last five games. It's the first meeting of the season between the teams.
Los Angeles Clippers at Philadelphia 76ers When: 7:00 PM ET, Monday, February 11, 2013 Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania TV: 7 p.m. ET, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
Opening NBA Odds: Los Angeles -4½ Current NBA Odds: Los Angeles -5½ NBA Basketball Betting Odds from: Sportsbook.com
Los Angeles Clippers (36-17): While Paul and Griffin get most of the attention - and rightfully so - for leading the ship, the performance of the Los Angeles reserves deserves plenty of credit as well. The Clippers entered Sunday with the second-most bench points per game (40.3), and their reserves thoroughly outplayed the Knicks' second unit in the 102-88 victory. Led by Crawford's 27-point effort, Los Angeles finished with a 48-15 advantage in bench scoring. And it wasn't simply the offensive performance that stood out - veteran reserve Grant Hill did a solid job containing New York's Carmelo Anthony, who scored 42 points but struggled against Hill.
Philadelphia 76ers (22-27): Philadelphia's season has been marked by uncertainty. An offseason deal to acquire franchise center Andrew Bynum has yet to bear fruit with the injured big man having yet to play a game in a 76ers uniform. Star swingman Thaddeus Young may miss up to a month with a strained hamstring, and Jason Richardson's knee injury will sideline him for the rest of the season. Head coach Doug Collins admits the season has been a challenge. "It's been one of the tougher jobs I've had, with all the new faces, trying to piece it all together," he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "But that's my job as a coach."