LeBron remains out for the Lakers, who are now tied with the Kings for the #9 spot. The LA Clippers control the eighth seed as of right now. The Lakers are hoping to bounce back after their last loss in primetime against the 76ers.
The Clippers, on the other hand, are trying to bounce back after a loss to the Hawks. After another benching, Doc Rivers went back to Marcin Gortat as his starting center, a move he is likely to stick with.
Though they could not stop Joel Embiid or the 76ers on Tuesday, we saw Brandon Ingram take his play to a level we have not seen in his three years in the league. With no Kuzma, Lonzo, or LeBron, he took charge. Ingram shot 16-20 from the floor and finished with 36 pts, five rebounds, and five assists. All of his attempts came from inside the arc, and he was absolutely on fire. If he can play like that more often even with LeBron comes back, this is a team that can be very dangerous. Ingram has always been a question mark, but now he’s flashed the potential.
The Lakers play with the fourth-fastest pace in the NBA, something pretty easy to do now that Rajon Rondo is back and running point. Ivica Zubac has started to play extremely well for them and is a young big man that can definitely be trusted. This is a tough matchup for the Lakers with their personnel available, but they can win.
Tobias Harris has continued to shine for the Clippers and has a chance to be named as an All-Star reserve later today. They will likely be without Danilo Gallinari for the eighth game in a row, however, and his lack of presence is definitely being felt. This is a team that thrives as their bench does. Lou Williams is averaging 19-3-5, while Montrezl Harrell is posting 16 points and seven boards per game. It’s weird to think that two of their top four players do not even start, but that’s exactly the case here.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be taking part in the Rising Stars Game, but his production is going to have to be better in the second half of the season. Patrick Beverley has played very well while starting in place of Danilo Gallinari, and he’ll look to keep that going tonight. His ability to be a successful intimidator on defense is something that won’t be in the box score but is vital.
Clippers beat the Lakers on their “home floor”
We’re riding with the Clippers today. A huge performance from Tobias Harris is going to help lift the Clippers over the Lakers in this one. Montrezl Harrell will have his way with the Lakers centers in this game, and they’ll win.
Ingram won’t be as good as he was the other day.
Free Pick: Clippers
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