NBA: Battle for Los Angeles—L.A. Clippers at L.A. Lakers
Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
The battle for Los Angeles has never been more lopsided. Okay, actually it has, but not in this direction. The L.A. Clippers sit at 42-20 and are situated 4th in the Western Conference and will take on the Lakers in a game NBA oddsmakers are predicting to be particularly close. NBA odds at Bovada listed the Clippers as 11-point favorites heading into Thursday night’s game.
The Lakers have the worst record in the West and have lost seven of its past 10 games. Much of the Lakers’ struggles can be attributed to injuries, and not just the headliner injury of Kobe Bryant. The team is also without Steve Nash for the remainder of the season most likely according to Mike D’Antoni. Jordan Hill and Nick Young are also both questionable. The Lakers have gone to battle with as few as six healthy players this season, but taking down a team as deep as the Clippers will be difficult short-handed.
The Lakers have been absolutely horrendous defensively this season, which should be absolutely no surprise considering that the Lakers were bad last year with a three-time DPOY manning the middle. Mike D’Antoni’s continued ineptitude has rendered the Lakers a pitiful team, and even his supposed calling card isn’t proving to be worth much—the team can’t score that well, either, ranking 13th in the NBA despite being so porous defensively and playing at such a fast pace.
The Lakers lost 132-125 to New Orleans on Tuesday night despite 29 points and 12 rebounds from center Pau Gasol. Gasol has had a good season even with the turbulence, but will be a free agent at season’s end, and it’s difficult to imagine the Lakers re-signing him given the lack of cap room the team has.
The Clippers have been a study in what a good coach can do, but the real test of that proposition will come during the postseason. The Clips are 2nd in the NBA in scoring and have improved the defense to respectable levels, rendering the team with a +6.5 point differential. DeAndre Jordan has to receive equally as much credit as coach Doc Rivers. Jordan leads the NBA in rebounding and has been fierce swatting away shots, too, averaging 2.45 blocks per game to go with his 14 boards.
The defensive impact of Jordan has eased Blake Griffin’s workload and Griffin has expanded his offensive repertoire this season, showing an improved jumper and better ball handling skills. He’s averaging 24.2 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 blocks per game.
The Clips best attribute is its depth, though, with a deep nine or ten man rotation replete with offensive weapons. The acquisition of J.J. Redick compliments Jamal Crawford well, as Rivers can always be sure to flank the wing with a shooter or two, to benefit from Chris Paul’s offensive wizardry. However, Crawford and Redick are both out for this game, and Redick is not due back for another three to five weeks (herniated disc in back).
LAC Trends: 4-0 ATS in last 4 following SU win; 4-0 ATS in last 4 after scoring 100 points or more in previous game; 4-0 ATS in last 4 following ATS win.
LAL Trends: OVER 9-1 in last 10 vs teams with winning SU records; OVER 6-1 in last 7 Thursday games; UNDER 6-1 in last 7 games after allowing more than 125 points in previous game.
Head-to-head: OVER 7-0 in last 7 meetings in Los Angeles; OVER 10-1 in last 11 meetings; Clippers 5-1 ATS in last 6 meetings.