If the season ended today, the NBA’s Hollywood teams would meet in the opening matchup of the play-in in the Western Conference. That’s enough to say how disappointing of a year it has been for the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.
Both teams have stars who have been hampered by injuries and aren’t living up to their expectations. The Clippers lost Kawhi Leonard early on to a season-ending knee injury, and Paul George has only played 26 games and isn’t expected back from his elbow injury until mid-March.
On the other bench, Russell Westbrook has been healthy, but his fit alongside stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, when health allows them to be in the lineup, is questionable at best.
That being said, the Clippers (30-31) have a slight lead ahead of the Lakers (27-31), who are ninth.
The line opened at Clippers -1 with an over/under of 223.5, where they stick as of this writing.
Los Angeles Lakers Betting Preview
LeBron is questionable due to his knee injury, but he played in the All-Star Game. Avery Bradley is out, as are Davis and Kendrick Nunn. Carmelo Anthony is probable with a hamstring injury.
The Lakers are 11th in the league in scoring at 110.9 points per game and seventh in efficiency at 46.6% in field goal percentage. Where they’ve really suffered is defensively, 26th overall, allowing 112.4 per game.
Westbrook particularly has struggled. He’s averaging 18.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game while shooting 43.7% from the field and 29.9% on 3-pointers. His inefficiency has hurt, but at least he’s available, which sometimes is the best ability.
This season, the Lakers are 26-32 against the spread and 32-25-1 on over/unders. They are 18-13 as the home team at Crypto.com Arena.
Los Angeles Clippers Betting Preview
The Clippers have the opposite issue of their city counterparts. They are 11th defensively, allowing 107.7 points per game, and are holding teams to 44.7% (seventh) from the field and 33.8% (sixth) on 3-pointers. But offensively, they are 23rd, scoring 106.9 points per game. However, they are the fourth-best team at hitting 3-pointers at 36.3%.
Former Pistons are leading the way in the absences of George and Leonard. Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris Sr., and Luke Kennard are each scoring in double figures. Kennard is hitting 44.8% of 3-pointers.
Terrence Mann is also averaging double figures. Second-leading scorer and new acquisition Norman Powell is out indefinitely with a foot injury.
The Clippers are 30-31 against the spread and 30-30-1 on over/unders. While they’ll be the road team, they are 18-13 when they are the home team at Crypto.com Arena.
Free Betting Prediction
As bad as the Lakers have been, they should be able to beat the Clippers with LeBron and Westbrook in the lineup. Especially factoring in how Malik Monk and Carmelo Anthony have been playing and shooting from 3-point range to help space the floor.
But the Clippers have a good core of veterans and added Robert Covington. Should Powell be active, that may sway one’s opinion.
Pick: Lakers +1
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