The Lakers and Clippers will duke it out on Thursday night at Staples Center. There is no extensive travel required for either club in this game, as they share the home arena. Though in this case, the home team will be the Clippers, who are trying to do what they can to create separation and move away from being the #4 seed and then having to play a possible #1 in round two.
The Lakers just got LeBron back last weekend, but now he’s already back to missing games. The fact that he was ruled out three days in advance for this one and will also miss Friday’s game has got to be a bit troubling. Part of the early-season MVP narrative was tied to the fact that in his advanced age, he was playing great ball and showing the ability to play in every game. Not anymore.
The other L.A. team is fairing much better to this point in the season. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have dealt with some injuries, but they and the players around them have done a very good job to get the team to where they stand.
They have added guys like Nic Batum, Rajon Rondo, and DeMarcus Cousins, the types of veteran players they probably could have used a season ago. Serge Ibaka has been out since early March but is hopefully back for the playoffs.
The spread for Thursday night favors the Clippers -7.5. The over/under is set at 222.5 points.
Lakers Trying to Tread Water
The Mavericks will play Cleveland twice this weekend. Portland has a tough schedule for them. And the Lakers, meanwhile, won’t exactly have it easy as they continue their trek. They face a brutal schedule, and the fact that LeBron doesn’t feel physically fit enough to play in them should be very troubling. Anthony Davis had an impressive block against the much shorter Facu Campazzo the other night, but they have a lot of work to do.
The re-emergence of Marc Gasol has been a welcome sight, as he has not exactly been so good this year. LeBron being out is compounded by the fact that Dennis Schroder will be in health-and-safety protocol through the end of the regular season. Good luck tonight.
Clippers Looking for Rivalry Win
Whether or not it is truly a rivalry, Lakers-Clippers is sold as one. Though LeBron won’t play, Anthony Davis will, and there is plenty of talent to be had in this game between the clubs. Look for Andre Drummond to have a big bounce back, coming off by far his worst game of the season. 5 fouls, several turnovers, and ZERO rebounds.
They didn’t sign the Big Panda so that he could just get cardio. He was supposed to address the issues they had at center. He is highly inconsistent and will need to be a star for this team while either #23 or Anthony Davis are not playing. Good luck to the short-landed LakeShow.
Another W for the Clippers, as the nightmare of being thrown into the play-in may become a reality soon for LeBron James.
FREE PLAY: CLIPPERS -7.5
OVER/UNDER: UNDER 222.5
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