LA Lakers at LA Clippers Odds & NBA Pick
I would say that Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Lakers and Clippers in the Staples Center that they share is a battle for bragging rights in Los Angeles, but that title has been held by the Clippers for a few years and it’s not close this season. The Clips will be solid “home” NBA betting favorites here.
LA Lakers at LA Clippers NBA Lines, Expert Pick & TV Info
Why Bet on the Lakers?
Will the Lakers have rookie Brandon Ingram, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, for this one? It’s not looking good. Luke Walton confirmed on Tuesday that he has no intention of shutting down Ingram (right knee tendinitis) for the rest of the season, but Ingram sat out again Thursday. Walton wants Ingram to get through a practice before he returns to the court.
Ingram had elevated his play in March, averaging 13.5 points (51.7%), 4.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.0 steals in 11 games (all starts). He’s scored 10+ in a season-best 10-straight games played. Prior to the month of March, Ingram tallied 8.2 points (37.1%), 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 61 games played. One bright spot of Tuesday’s loss to Washington was D’Angelo Russell. He notched 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds, the first time in his career with at least 28-9- 6. Russell was the first Laker to go for at least 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds since Kobe Bryant (11/30/14). He was also the first Laker to reach those marks at the age of 21 since Bryant (2/7/00).
Afterwards, Walton called Russell’s play “great” and “brilliant” before praising his aggressiveness, passing, how he pushed the pace and his defense.
“D’Angelo’s play picks up when he hits his first couple of shots,” Walton said. “He seems to be in a much better rhythm for the rest of the night. When we’re getting after it defensively as a team and getting stops, we can get into more of an up-tempo type of game. That energizes him.”
Russell is still an enigma, though. Russell’s per-36 numbers are solid, averaging 20.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists. He’s also knocking down 36 percent of his threes while taking 7.7 attempts. But while possessing the size to defend point guards, he struggles to keep the best of the best in front of him, while falling asleep when defending off the ball. Per 82games.com, the Lakers are 4.0 points better — 116.8 on court/112.9 off the court — with Russell off the floor.
Why Bet on the Clippers?
While the Lakers are tanking and trying to lose, the Clippers are trying to get the fourth seed in the West and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. L.A. could finish fourth, fifth or sixth. Fourth or fifth will mean a first-round matchup with Utah (currently fourth). Sixth would mean Houston and dealing with James Harden. L.A. is one of four teams with an active streak of five or more postseason appearances.
While the Clippers have won tough playoff series against San Antonio two years ago, Golden State in 2014 and Memphis in 2012, they also blew a 3-1 series lead in 2015 against Houston and lost as a No. 4 seed in the first round last year. It’s a history that has the Clippers eager to return to the postseason.
“You still feel like you can build off of it,” Jamal Crawford said. “Obviously with this season, the more time you’re together the more impatient you become and you feel like time’s kind of passing by. But for us we have to continue to build off the good things we’re doing and look at that. The world’s not falling.”
The Clippers had been scuffling but looked great Wednesday in a 133-124 win over a very good Washington team. Chris Paul scored 27 points with 13 assists. The Clippers matched a season-high in points. Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Paul and J.J. Redick reached the 20-point mark in the same game for the first time ever. Jordan scored 23 points with 18 rebounds. He has scored 20-plus points in consecutive games for the first time this season and the fourth time in his career. Jordan is shooting a league-high 70.8% from the field this season. In NBA history, only Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain have shot above 70% from the field for a full season.
The Clippers have averaged 10.2 made three-pointers per game this season, on pace for the highest single-season mark in franchise history. L.A. is on pace to make 840 three pointers in 2016-17, which would edge their franchise record of 827, set in 2014-15.
The Clippers had an 11-game winning streak snapped vs. the Lakers on Christmas Day but won the next two easily.
LA Lakers at LA Clippers Expert Pick: Los Angeles Clippers
Probably no Ingram and no motivation for the Lakers equals an easy Clippers win.