Game: Los Angeles Lakers @ Los Angeles Clippers
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Odds: Lakers +4, Clippers -4
It’s the most significant game between the NBA’s two Los Angeles-based teams since LeBron James made the move to LA. Both teams enter tonight’s game with identical 41-38 records. The winner of tonight’s game will take sole possession of the sixth seed and the chance to face the Sacramento Kings, an unproven playoff team, in the first round.
The Lakers have had the best defense since the trade deadline. Their roster shuffle has been a complete success and they currently have a 4-game winning streak following last night’s overtime victory in Utah. Despite the fact that LeBron James led LA with 48 points and the game-winning layup, three of the team’s starters played 42 minutes last night. That will make it interesting to see how they perform on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Clippers have the advantage in rest since they haven’t played in three days. Their performance has fluctuated recently, especially since Paul George suffered an injury. The pressure is on Kawhi Leonard to perform well after they lost their last two games in New Orleans and Memphis. Since the Clippers hired Ty Lue as their head coach, they are 10-0 against the Lakers.
The Clippers opened as a one-point underdog in this game. They are now a four-point favorite. The Clips have covered the spread in five of their last seven games against opponents from the Pacific Division. However, with George out and players like Marcus Morris and Eric Gordon both questionable, the rosters are evenly matched tonight. There is also the Russell Westbrook retaliation factor. Remember, Westbrook came over to the Clippers from the Lakers at the trade deadline.
The Clippers are the undisputed favorites in this matchup with a 10-game winning streak against the Lakers. With the Lakers having played last night, it will make it even more difficult to overcome their nemesis.
The first two games this season were dominated by the defenses with 215 and 200 points scored. The most recent game played in January featured 248 points. A lot has changed since then, specifically the defense of the Lakers. Interestingly, the Clippers’ play has declined since the addition of Westbrook.
Tonight’s matchup has a sort of playoff vibe to it and, as a result, expect both teams to clamp down defensively. Historically, that is what happens when these two teams meet. Over the past ten meetings, the teams have averaged only 219.5 points per game.
The Clippers have seen the total go Over in five of their last six games overall. Four of the Clippers’ last six home games have gone Over as well. The Over has hit in each of the Lakers’ last five straight games. The Over has also cashed in six of the Lakers’ last seven road games. The Lakers have won four straight and have scored 121 or more points in all four games. The Clippers have given up more than their season average (112.9 ppg) in four of their past five games.
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