Los Angeles Clippers vs Los Angeles Lakers – NBA Free Pick
The Battle of Los Angeles continues with the Lakers as the “home” team. They’ll have their hands full trying to handle the 37-17 Clippers, first in their division and 3rd in the Western Conference. The Clippers have won two straight games by double digits, defeating New York by 14 on Sunday and then heading into Philadelphia for a 17 point demolition on Monday. The Lakers, coming off a 6-point win against Phoenix on Tuesday, will look to outwork the Clippers, who will be playing the second game of a back-to-back, though the other game (against Houston) is in Los Angeles. With the Lakers 7-3 in their last 10 and the Clippers 5-5, both teams have a chance to alter their current course with a win against their neighbor.
The oddsmakers have made the Cliipers a 3.5 point favorite tonight.
The Clippers dominated against Philadelphia on Tuesday, with Blake Griffin going 9-14 from the field for 20 points and 9 rebounds. Chris Paul was even better, shooting 9-11 en route to 21 points and 11 rebounds. Jamal Crawford was great off the bench, shooting 8-10 and dropping 20 himself. It’s no coincidence: Griffin leads the team in PPG and RPG, Paul leads in APG and is 3rd in points, and Crawford is second on the team in PPG. The Clippers will be looking to continue their winning streak in what is essentially a home game. In this one, look for Chris Paul to be the key for the Clippers. In their first two wins against the Lakers this season, Paul had a double-double, going for 18 points and 15 assists the first time and 30 points and 13 assists the second. While Griffin was good in his own right in both games, he could again play a supporting role in this third matchup.
With Kobe Bryant coming off a poor performance against the Suns (1-8, 4 points, -2), the Lakers could let Dwight Howard and Steve Nash run the offense. In their first two losses against the Clippers this season, Kobe went for 40 and 38 points. Steve Nash missed the first game with an injury, and scored 12 points (and was +12) in the second game. Howard has gotten better with time: in the first game he went 5-7 for a modest 13 points and 8 rebounds, but in the second loss he scored 21 points and pulled down 15 boards. With the Clippers,4th in opponents’ PPG (93.5) and 10th in PPG (99.9), the Lakers will look to get their offense rolling (6th in the NBA with 101.6 PPG) and their defense stopping (23rd, 100.5).
Expect this one to look more like the second matchup these teams had than the first, but still be something different. In that first game the Clippers (30-24 against the spread) won by 10 and pulled away from the Lakers (21-31-1 against the spread) in the third quarter; in the second, the Clippers won by 5 after the Lakers made a mad dash in the fourth, outscoring them by 11. With both teams at largely full strength (the Lakers minus Pau Gasol, the Clippers possibly missing Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler) this should be a battle. How Blake Griffin defends Dwight Howard and whether or not the Lakers can stop Chris Paul will be the keys for either side.
Lakers 101 Clippers 98